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.
Erin M. Loew
Director, NA Supply Chain
What do you do? What is your current position? Please share what company you work for and what your job responsibilities are.
I am transitioning from Plant Manager into a new role as Global Director of Third Party Manufacturing at Solenis. I will be overseeing all contracts and relationships with third-party vendors to include safety and quality performance, pricing, capacity and volumes, and contract renewal terms.
How has the JWMI curriculum helped you in your career? (Have you had any recent promotions?)
JWMI has helped me tremendously in understanding business and leadership principles and how those principles apply to my current role. JWMI gave me the leverage and confidence to apply for a more expansive role. When I started the program, I was a Plant Manager. In just two years, I received two promotions, going from Plant Manager I to Plant Manager III and currently preparing for my new role as a Global Director.
Why were you looking to get an MBA?
I love to learn. My background is in Chemical Engineering so much of my business knowledge prior to this program came from previous work experience. Since I am involved in coaching and mentoring others, this program was the perfect leadership extension to my more technical skills.
Did you find the curriculum was immediately applicable, please explain?
Absolutely! I learned the importance of thought leadership, emotional intelligence (EI), giving candid feedback, and building a successful team based on trust. While emotional intelligence is something that comes somewhat naturally to me, being able to describe it and teach it to my team has been valuable. Candor, however, did not come as naturally to me and I avoided it before JWMI. Later, I found that the rest of my team felt the same way, and because of that, we lacked trust. So, I have held several team building events, where we practice giving candid feedback, and now, it is part of our culture. I feel like I am a more confident leader, teacher, and mentor to others.
I was also able to apply the business and accounting side of the curriculum to understand how my organization was using cost accounting and how what I did every day affected different aspects of our financials. Personally, I was able to use the curriculum to help me build my own investment portfolio.
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, Jack calls, Faculty, etc.?
I had never taken any online courses prior to this program and assumed it would be very impersonal, but that is quite the contrary. I felt the professors cared about our success, the feedback was timely and helpful, and the camaraderie amongst the cohort was invaluable. We challenged and learned from each other, and the variety of methods we learned from kept me engaged. I am so excited to meet my cohorts and professors at graduation!
What’s been your most rewarding experience in the program?
I don’t know that I can say that there was one experience, it was the entire experience. Aside from learning, understanding, and applying the curriculum, I gained confidence. I have confidence in myself and the resilience to take on things I otherwise may not have, in my ability to give the feedback to others (whether good or bad), in my ability to question information on financial statements and to apply for roles I may not have applied to before. I feel like I am a stronger, more confident, better informed, leader not just for my current and future roles, but for my family. That is what I find most rewarding
How did you navigate job, family, and work? What strategies did you implement to get it done?
I am married with triplet girls who just turned 4 (so they were only two when I started the program), and I have a team of eight direct reports. So to be successful, I needed to have an understanding of expectations from my boss, team, family, and myself.
My husband and I agreed that I would have to sacrifice at least one day every weekend along with several nights during the week. I blocked out Monday’s on my calendar at work so I could prepare for the week’s DQ and any assignments. I used Audible, digital audiobooks I downloaded, for the lectures and texts and listened to them on my commute to and from work, and while I expected myself to obtain an Honors on every assignment, I had to be kind to myself when I didn’t.
Please share any advice you have for new students embarking on the MBA journey.
This is only two years of what feels like a sacrifice but will end up being one of the best experiences of your life. Give 100% of yourself, challenge yourself, reflect often, dig deep, be resilient, and be kind to yourself. Set a schedule that works for you and stick to it as much as you can. Explain to your family and your colleagues what you are doing and why, make sure expectations of everyone who will be affected are shared, including your own, and lastly open yourself up to a new/improved you!
This program WILL change you!
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