Each week, JWMI profiles students and alumni in its new featured series “Winning Voices.” Learn about our diverse community and what sets our program apart from those who have experienced it. For more great “Winning Voices” content, click here.
Keystone Advertising Specialties
Program/Concentration: Jack Welch MBA
TELL US ABOUT YOUR JOB RESPONSIBILITIES AT Keystone Advertising Specialties.
I started at Keystonead.com 12 years ago as a salesperson. In 2014, I bought into the company and took the role of managing partner and sales manager. Keystone grew 1,400% during that time. I act as the sales manager, manage acquisitions, and find new revenue streams for the company.
Why were you looking to get an MBA?
I was looking for an MBA because I came to the ownership level via the sales tract. My skill sets always aligned with sales, and I never had any formal training on how to run a business. I wanted to understand what the bookkeepers, accountants, operations managers were doing and why. I also needed guidance on how to get more out of my staff because I also never had any people management training. I put the concepts into practice during each class, and I found myself growing as a leader with each course.
HOW HAS THE JWMI CURRICULUM HELPED YOU IN YOUR CAREER?
Many of the actual projects we did in class were based on real-life scenarios that my company and I were going through at the time. The program helped me take a deeper dive into my company’s financials and gave me the skills to suggest new ways to improve and change course. I learned that I needed to take a step back and rethink some of the strategies and then sought outside guidance to help make the deals make sense. The peer feedback from my discussion questions brought up new ideas and challenged my way of thinking. Had I not been in this program, I can 100% attest that my company’s outcomes would not have been as robust. It’s a great thing!
Had I not been in this program, I can 100% attest that my company’s outcomes would not have been as robust. It’s a great thing!
DID YOU FIND THE CURRICULUM WAS IMMEDIATELY APPLICABLE? PLEASE EXPLAIN.:
In my case, I was doing the course work in the curriculum alongside real-world examples. I produced actual proforma for the banks when we were learning how to do a proforma in class. I took the sections of reading financial documents, doing the analysis in my reports for class right out of the ones I was building for work. I am not sure that I could have gotten all of them done without these Jack Welch MBA curriculum.
LOOKING BACK AT WHAT YOU THOUGHT ABOUT AN ONLINE PROGRAM WHEN YOU FIRST EMBARKED, WHAT WAS YOUR OVERALL IMPRESSION NOW? DID IT MEET YOUR EXPECTATIONS VIA DQ BOARDS, EOP VIDEOS, FACULTY ETC?:
I have the job that most of the classes are training you to be able to do someday. I had lots of success in the previous six years, so I was under the impression that I was already going to know most of the material. Boy, was I wrong! It was way more rewarding than I anticipated because it challenged my beliefs and made me think outside my comfort zone. The courses forced me to prove my theories with numbers instead of my gut. The professors are all top-notch executives, not just “teachers” I love that they were teaching from experience and not just a book. To say that the courses exceeded my expectations is an understatement.
How did you navigate school, family, and work? What strategies did you implement to get it done?
I was lucky to use my work projects for this course, which helped a lot. When I started, I figured I could do all the work in a few hours since “I already knew everything.” Because I was wrong, it took a lot more time than I had anticipated. I have two small children at home, so the work/school/life balance was hard, but my entire support system helped me. They took little trips to grandma’s house when I had large assignments due, and my wife put the kids to bed when I had to finish discussion questions. It was a team effort, and I could not have done it without them.
WHAT’S BEEN YOUR MOST REWARDING EXPERIENCE IN THE PROGRAM?:
I had many rewarding moments, but one that stands out the most was the personality and communication assessment we did. I have a staff member with whom I had a lot of trouble communicating. It had gotten to the point where I avoided this person because interactions frustrated me so much. After the assessment, I used the recommendations of how people with my personality-type should communicate with personality styles like his, and it changed our entire working relationship. That person is now one of my best employees!
WAS THERE A PARTICULAR PROFESSOR OR MEMBER OF THE STAFF THAT YOU FELT HELPED YOU TO EXCEL? PLEASE ELABORATE.:
I had many great out-of-class discussions with my professors, but I have used one professor’s teachings every day. Professor Kautenberger’s story about the evolution of 007 cologne is a story (I will not ruin it for future students) I will never forget. Since hearing that story, I have used that to help get my mind outside the box for more marketing strategies.
Please share any advice for new students embarking on the MBA journey.
One piece of advice is, don’t take shortcuts and do the readings. The stuff you are learning, unlike your previous schooling, will apply. If you want to succeed in your future careers, apply yourself to the classes, it will pay huge rewards later. Good luck and have fun with the courses!
P.S. Asks your peers questions early in the week, and you will be surprised with the help you get!
Connect with Dennis Hosey on Linkedin
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