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Director of IT Infrastructure Engineering
Program/Concentration: Jack Welch MBA
Why were you looking to get an MBA?
When I first embarked on my MBA journey, I was an unknown leader who worked for an ousted executive, and because of this, lacked the trust of my team. I felt that having an MBA credential and the knowledge that goes along with it, which most of my peers did not have, would help provide the credibility I needed to execute successfully. It was important to me to earn that credential from a credible university.
How has the JWMI curriculum helped you in your career?
I used what I was learning to expand my daily work activities and saw immediate improvement. My boss did as well, and I could see his confidence grow in my business decisions. As a result, I became more respected in my organization as my suggestions created value for the department.
Now, at the end of the program, I am involved in meetings and conversations never previously possible. My leaders’ trust in me grew immensely, as shown by the continuous expansion of my responsibilities. To JWMI and the professors I have encountered in my journey, you helped me earn credibility in three years that I would not have received otherwise.
Did you find the curriculum immediately applicable?
At the onset of the program, my objective was to use everything I learned, as I learned it. I found that each week I could take away actionable information that helped me analyze how I approached various situations at work. To maximize my learning, I read the current week’s material and the following week’s material at the beginning of each week. This meant that I did the readings at least twice for each lesson. While time-consuming, this was one of the best investments I could make as it substantially boosted my retention of the material.
I also purchased each book and read it in the weeks leading up to the first week of class. I found the selection of books to be outstanding as they consistently provided immediate value.
How did you navigate school, family, and work? What strategies did you implement to get it done?
Pursing an MBA is not a small investment in time. Unless you are gifted with a broad range of experience, and an eidetic memory, the time you invest in your education will be the single most significant factor determining your GPA. I discussed the time commitment with my wife, and because she graduated at the top of her class, she understood how critical the time investment was.
I thought I was good at time management before pursuing an MBA. By the end of my journey, I ran a much tighter schedule. With practice, you will amaze yourself at how much “strategic thinking” you can get done in only three minutes when you have a few minutes between meetings and a significant class assignment due that weekend.
What have been your most significant areas of growth?
I learned the importance of candor and how critical it is to those you lead. Now, I give candid, transparent, and timely feedback to my team whenever possible instead of waiting for mid-year or year-end reviews. As a result of my real-time, on-the-spot feedback, I have seen tremendous differences in my team’s performance. The team appreciates this feedback and is growing and performing because of it. Finally, we are quick to celebrate our successes.
Please share any advice for new students embarking on the MBA journey.
I spent just over three years in this program while maintaining family time, a job that averaged 50-hours per week without travel, helping with a side business my wife runs, and of course, trying to maintain my sanity while earning my Jack Welch MBA. Here is a shortlist of the most important takeaways I gleaned from this program.
- ALWAYS deliver on-time:
My father passed away while I was in the program. In addition to the above commitments, I had to fix up two houses and sell them and purchase one larger home so my wife could care for her aging parents. Internet connectivity issues got in the way, and work challenges came out of nowhere. Through the stress and chaos, I had to focus some portion of my efforts on delivering my coursework on time. I learned that being on time sets the tone for how others perceive you. It is the foundation of that “first impression.”
- Active Learning:
With every learning opportunity, take time to digest the material, and as quickly as opportunities allow, put what you are learning to use. Practice makes perfect, and I put the material I was learning to use during the course and beyond. This continual practice created a sustainable active learning routine.
- Integrate Your Knowledge:
As I moved from course to course, I looked for opportunities to integrate what I learned in previous classes into the current class coursework. In this way, I learned how to combine the use of tools and skills and not just how to use each independently. The whole (body of knowledge) becomes greater than the sum of the (independent coursework) parts and expands our capabilities as consummate professionals.
- Continuous Feedback:
From our first course, we learned from Jack’s book, “Winning” about providing candid feedback. Through each courses, I read every piece of feedback every professor was willing to contribute to act on it and grow from it. Feedback is free continuous education, both when you offer it to others and welcome it about yourself.
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