Winning Voices: Jerry Meza, Retired E-7 Sergeant First Class Non-Commissioned Officer, Retired Army

Winning Voices: Jerry Meza, Retired E-7 Sergeant First Class Non-Commissioned Officer, Retired Army

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.

Jerry Meza
Retired E-7 Sergeant First Class Non-Commissioned Officer
Retired Army
Program/Concentration: Jack Welch MBA


During my 28 years of military service, I enjoyed various roles and responsibilities, climbed the enlisted ranks, experienced lateral positions such as an Army Instructor and cybersecurity roles, and attended Army leadership courses conducive to my development as an Army Senior Non-Commissioned Officer.

It took me over ten years to start my MBA journey. It would have been challenging to balance my MBA studies during Army active duty due to service commitments with overseas deployments, training with troops, never-ending meetings and reports that were due, and squeezing in family time, which was few in between. Therefore, waiting until military retirement was more conducive to commencing my Jack Welch MBA endeavor. I am glad I waited.


I was looking for enrichment and adding leadership enhancement since I was already an Army leader. With an MBA from JWMI, I gained three symbolic elements below:

  1. Confidence in leading people and teams in business; when I retired from active duty in 2017, I felt a little hesitant to work in the business world, not because of my managing abilities but because I was not used to being around regular civilians. JWMI courses have raised my confidence level to new heights, and I feel more ready to manage people and take proactive roles in projects.
  2. Communicating my message to people has increased dramatically. Presenting in front of military troops or high-ranking military officers has its challenges, but I developed and refined my communication presence over time. Upon retiring, I was unsure how to approach a business audience. The concepts and best practices I learned from JWMI gave meaning to presenting a compelling communication message to an audience. The constant zoom presentations in the JWMI courses impacted me, so I can further sharpen my presence and deliver a poignant and relevant message to my audience.
  3. My financial acumen has increased dramatically. I now can look at an income statement and make effective and impactful decisions for strategies. I can also ask the right questions as I can relate numbers on a report towards quantifying KPIs and what is essential to the company. Defending the castle, capital budgeting, and M&A are now part of my leadership toolbox. I can assert my stance in meetings with solid numbers and quantify synergies for impacting company growth. I am not a financial whiz nor an expert accountant. However, I am more confident in working with numbers and talking with a CFO.


All of my professors were exceptional and shared their business experiences with students. Three professors who were genuinely notable are:

Dr. Michael Laverty, JWI 550 Operational Excellence – Dr. Laverty explained business Operations in a simplified manner which was impactful in learning the Six Sigma and Lean methods. Value Stream Mapping was the most enjoyable as it closely tied with what I learned in the military regarding operational concepts/terminology. Dr. Laverty demonstrated an unparalleled passion for teaching and leading discussions.

Dr. Christina Anastasia, JWI 575 New Business Ventures & Entrepreneurship – Dr. A. helped me excel in the class by sharing her business venture and making understanding concepts more accessible. Her entrepreneurial venture was a shining example of what it takes to be your own boss. She also shared pictures of her hobbies, making the class more personable and enjoyable.

Dr. Bruce Smith, JWI 599 Business Analytics and Capstone – Dr. Smith’s capstone class was valuable in tying all of my courses together to produce an effective business strategy. Adding value to my chosen company during class was very critical; therefore, Dr. Smith’s exceptional ability to frame the problem and assist in developing an enticing strategic plan was conducive to my development of business aspects.


Peer responses to my weekly DQs (discussion questions) were very relevant to me. Learning and applying methods and hints from peers who are professionals within their respective companies significantly impacted me. Most provided valuable insight into my DQs that strengthened my perception of a business.

Professors sharing their business experiences was highly relevant to me. Many professors shared business insights, personal experiences, and best practices that shaped my leadership development.

The content in every course met my expectations needed to learn business concepts—professors ready to assist and enforce business standards. To shape and enhance my developing business skills further energized every class.

Lastly, graduating from a Top 10 Online MBA program was rewarding too!


Prospective JWMI students must make the most of their education and take full advantage of school resources such as professors, advisors, zoom presentations, networking with JWMI Alumni, Wall Street Journal subscription, and networking with peers. Future JWMI students should be prepared for a hectic course schedule and envision late nights working on assignments. Jack Welch stated, “good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.”

I can produce a book sharing advice for prospective JWMI students as I am passionate about teaching and sharing my own experiences. The below guidelines are a condensed version:

  • Time Management is highly critical; use your time wisely between family/work commitments.
  • Take full advantage of insights, experiences, and best practices from JWMI Professors.
  • Take copious notes on business methods, concepts, and leadership quotes for later use; a method I used was creating a word document filled with notes and methodologies, websites, and books; therefore, I titled my document – My Leadership Toolbox.
  • If you are struggling during class, utilize the numbers coach or other academic coaches as an alternative for obtaining a second look at assignments or reports.
  • Fully utilize the Wall Street Journal subscription as it opens up educational learning and broadens the mind to other aspects of the business world.
  • Listen and write down all of Jack’s quotes and perspectives; place the info in your leadership toolbox as you never know, it might come in handy in the future.
  • Have thick skin when peers are commenting on your DQ; they are only trying to help you, and receiving feedback from a different perspective is always helpful to your comprehension of business concepts.

Lastly, for prospective students, I say take the chance on an MBA from JWMI as it is filled with trials and tribulations but is well worth the time, money, and effort. The difference between JWMI and other online schools is the quality of education you can only obtain with proven business tactics from Jack Welch. In my viewpoint, that is the game-changer, and I have unequivocally never looked back.

Connect with Jerry Meza on Linkedin

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