Initially posted by Poets & Quants, on June 08, 2020
Poets & Quants’ 3rd annual Best & Brightest Online MBA feature celebrates 50 MBA graduates from 2020.
The list highlights military commanders, entrepreneurs, engineers, and even doctors pursuing their MBA degrees via online programs. The variety of backgrounds and industries of the Online MBA students featured is vast and includes JWMI alumnus Joseph Peter Park Florendo.
Joseph Peter Park Florendo
JPMorgan Chase, Vice President – Cybersecurity and Technology Controls
Undergraduate School and Degree: Carnegie Mellon University, Bachelor of Science in Information Systems
Hometown: Seoul, Korea, and Manila, Philippines
What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career?
Although I am usually risk-averse, I surprised myself early in my professional career by making a switch to cyber-forensics in 2009. The learning curve was steep, and I felt I had wasted some years by switching gears, but the move paid off in spades. I feel lucky to be able to look back and not regret that bold, early decision. Throughout my career, I helped to set up cyber-forensics functions in several organizations; I attribute those valuable opportunities to my decision to specialize early on. Although I am not able to get into any details, I have helped avert and solve crises small and large, which continue to serve as proud achievements in a fulfilling career.
Why did you choose this school’s online MBA program?
With a fulfilling full-time job and two young sons, flexibility and cost were key. The online program best suited my schedule, and the program offered a merit-based International Leadership Scholarship, which helped defray the cost. Ultimately it was Jack Welch’s reputation, his level of involvement in the curriculum, and his engagement with the students that drove me to choose the Jack Welch Management Institute.
What was your favorite part of being in an online MBA program?
My favorite part of the online MBA program was that the assignments and projects that made up the practical portion of the modules apply to real-world situations. Much of the time, I applied the module’s lessons to my professional role looking at business processes, people and team management, budgeting, etc. However, I found myself applying other modules such as business strategy and entrepreneurship to projects outside of work, such as a family-owned business venture. I found that the application of the modules to issues that matter to me makes them more engaging and enjoyable.
I found myself applying other modules such as business strategy and entrepreneurship to projects outside of work such as a family-owned business venture.
What was the most surprising thing about an online learning environment?
I was initially worried about being one of the few non-U.S.-based students in my classes. I also wondered if the time zone difference of 12 or 13 hours (depending on daylight savings) would make it difficult for me to participate or be able to ask questions. However, I was pleasantly surprised that meetings took place with consideration for international students and that the professors really meant it when they said that we could give them a call anytime (within reason, of course) or send an email and get a response rather quickly. I was of the impression that this was as much a part-time role for them as it was for me. However, they proved to be as readily available and responsive as a full-time professor could be.
How did your online experience compare with your in-the-classroom experience as an undergraduate student?
I feel that the in-the-classroom format during my undergraduate years allowed for more guidance and structured learning. The online experience, however, catered well to my natural curiosity and propensity to research tangential topics for a broader understanding. I found myself thinking a lot more before being able to put pen on paper, or my fingers on the keyboard.
What would you change about an online MBA Program?
I think the 2020 pandemic has shown us that videoconferencing technology can be a substitute for face-to-face interaction. I would like to see those capabilities embraced for more interactive lectures, team discussions, or even informal coffee breaks or happy hours (depending on the time zone) between faculty and students. Also, as an international student, I am naturally biased in wanting to change U.S.-centric terms and measurements to a global standard.
How has your online education helped you in your current job?
The program expanded my knowledge base and broadened my perspective, both of which have allowed me to analyze situations holistically in terms of the broader business mission and communicate better solutions with confidence.
What is your ultimate long-term professional goal?
One of my goals would be to step out of a purely technical role and be in a position to mentor up-and-coming talent. Great managers and leaders mentored me throughout my career, and I benefited immensely from those interactions. I feel that Jack Welch’s take on the MBA, in particular, prepared me for this goal.