JWMI profiles students and alumni weekly 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.
Senior Director, Business Development
Program/Concentration: Jack Welch MBA
PLEASE SHARE MORE ABOUT YOUR PROFESSIONAL ROLE AND RESPONSIBLITIES.:
I’m part of our Asia Pacific commercial team at Rokt, an eCommerce technology company driving value through personalized and relevant online experiences. In my role, I partner with people and businesses to understand and address their challenges to deliver ambitious outcomes through eCommerce monetization, customer acquisition, and optimization.
WHY WERE YOU LOOKING TO GET AN MBA?:
As someone always up for a challenge, I sought opportunities to learn, meet a diverse range of people, and broaden my horizons and skill set to further my career. At the time, I had also made a failed attempt at entrepreneurship. I wanted to better understand the gaps in myself and the business to learn from the experience and build a better foundation for future success.
HOW HAS THE JWMI CURRICULUM HELPED YOU IN YOUR CAREER?
Since my JWMI journey began, I’ve changed several careers (and locations), from working with Adidas in Southeast Asia, being a Commercial Business Advisor with the New Zealand Government’s international trade development agency, and now with US tech unicorn Rokt in Australia.
JWMI has been vital in confidently jumping across industries and landing more prominent roles. The curriculum helped me discover new areas of business that fostered my curiosity and interest, grow in confidence with topics like finance that I had previously shied away from, and nurtured my desire to continue learning.
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 initially needed more face-to-face interaction with the online program. However, the availability of the JWMI faculty, the engaging conversations on the discussion boards, and the opportunities to present via video calls helped to ease this concern and keep the program engaging throughout quickly.
Additionally, having moved several times throughout the MBA and working across different time zones, I valued the online program’s flexibility.
HOW DID YOU NAVIGATE JOB, FAMILY, AND WORK? WHAT STRATEGIES DID YOU IMPLEMENT TO GET IT DONE?:
The balancing act has its challenges, no doubt about that! Several strategies that helped me were reading the course guide to understand the course deliverables and scheduling and planning around these upfront. In my calendar, I would dedicate time blocks to each week’s deliverables (Readings, DQs, Assignments, etc.). Where I could, I would also try to get ahead of the coursework in case anything unexpected came up. Lastly, setting up a comfortable study environment helped me ease into a flow state quicker.
WAS THERE A PARTICULAR PROFESSOR OR MEMBER OF THE STAFF THAT YOU FELT HELPED YOU TO EXCEL? PLEASE ELABORATE.:
I enjoyed learning from all the professors that I worked with. I particularly enjoyed working with the Prof. Brenda Geer-Frazier of JWI 575 (New Business Ventures & Entrepreneurship). The professor’s interactions were fun, and there was a lot to learn from her class, as this was one of the main reasons I started the MBA journey. Also, I enjoyed the JWI 599 (Business Analytics and Capstone) as it was the melting pot of all the courses. Prof. Steve Griffith was very patient in explaining the concepts.
I particularly enjoyed the weekly podcast sessions and executive briefings in the JWI 599 class. These were exciting avenues to learn about real-life experiences and how to apply our classroom ideas to the real world.
WHAT’S BEEN YOUR MOST REWARDING EXPERIENCE IN THE PROGRAM?:
To my surprise, what’s been rewarding is an improved ability to lead through better soft skills. The program gave me a new appreciation and perspective of my coworkers. The rewarding part has been more concise and candid communication, greater empathy for others, understanding the value of nurturing and investing time into people, and my confidence to lead.
IN JUST A FEW WORDS, DESCRIBE WHAT “LEADERSHIP” MEANS TO YOU.:
In New Zealand, we have a saying, ““Māku e ki atua, he tangata, he tangata, he tangata””. What is the essential thing in the world? It is people; it is people, it is people.
Leadership is growing the people around you, instilling their belief in themselves, and ultimately helping them unlock their potential – do this, and the rest will fall into place.
PLEASE SHARE ANY ADVICE FOR NEW STUDENTS EMBARKING ON THE MBA JOURNEY.:
My advice comes from one of my favorite books called the Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, and it’s a quote that says when someone makes a decision, they are diving into a strong current that will carry them to places they had never dreamed of when they first made the decision. Leap; it will be challenging but enjoy the process. Growth happens outside your comfort zone.
Connect with John Nichol on LinkedIn
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