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.
Director Network and Technology Planning
Program/Concentration: Jack Welch MBA
TELL US ABOUT YOUR JOB RESPONSIBILITIES AT Verizon.
In my current role, I am a director of network and technology planning at Verizon. I lead a team of senior engineers responsible for continually evolving the technology we deploy in our network and our customers’ services, including 4G, 5G, and IoT solutions. Verizon is the largest wireless operator in the hyper-competitive U.S. market, and preserving our technology leadership is critical. It is a challenging and exciting role that involves constant interaction with diverse stakeholders both internally and externally. We are responsible for translating business requirements into technical solutions; we manage a large yearly budget and relationships with vendor partners, customers, and like-minded global operators.
Why were you looking to get an MBA?
I graduated with my first Master’s (Electrical Engineering) in 2000. During my career, first in Motorola and then in Verizon, I held roles with an increasing level of responsibility; I took on extra opportunities to live in other countries and learn about different cultures. During the last ten years, I thought about getting an MBA often for multiple reasons:
- To improve my business acumen
- To become a better people
- To acquire new tools to help me with executive presence, communications skill, etc.
I also wanted to prove to myself that I could be disciplined and complete a second master’s. Finally, I wanted to show my kids that learning is a lifelong journey and that it takes sacrifice and commitment to fulfill one’s dreams.
HOW HAS THE JWMI CURRICULUM HELPED YOU IN YOUR CAREER?
The JWMI curriculum has helped me tremendously. When I started in 2017, I was in the second year of my first director role in Verizon (Engineering and Operations). I firmly believe that being an MBA candidate and applying some of the lessons learned during the first few classes helped me land my current role. While it was a lateral move, the move to Network Planning represented an opportunity to hold one of the most strategic and influential roles in Verizon.
DID YOU FIND THE CURRICULUM WAS IMMEDIATELY APPLICABLE? PLEASE EXPLAIN.:
The JWMI motto is “learn today, apply tomorrow,” and it shows. The faculty is top-notch, not just because of their domain knowledge, but because all of them have successful professional careers, and they are extremely generous in sharing valuable lessons learned. Throughout the entire program, I have applied what I was learning during the classes: being an energetic and energizing leader, providing candid feedback, being more diligent and deliberate about using data analytics in my everyday decision making, etc.
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 was a bit uncertain about an online program before registering for the MBA. I talked to friends who had completed the program, and their feedback was super positive, and I decided that this was the best possible option for me, considering my hectic work and personal schedule. I was pleasantly surprised from day one, the level of engagement achieved through the discussion questions, learning journals, emails, and video calls with classmates was spectacular. The faculty is always present, reachable, and happy to help. Overall, the level of engagement that JWMI achieves is impressive, and it shows in the very active alumni network on the JWMI Connect platform.
How did you navigate school, family, and work? What strategies did you implement to get it done?
For me, it boiled down to being disciplined. I tried not to negatively impact my family, and I managed to continue coaching kids’ sports and other family obligations. I tried to complete all my readings early in the week and submit the DQs well ahead of time. When possible, I tried to stay a week ahead for assignments to account for unpredictable events. I did most of my writing at night after putting the kids to bed. I also tried to use my business travels (during the flights, during idle time at the hotel, etc.) to get ahead without other distractions.
Please share any advice for new students embarking on the MBA journey.
It may sound cliché, but you do get out of the program as much as you put into it. It goes beyond the classes and the curriculum. You have a unique opportunity to learn about other industries, different cultures, diverse business challenges, etc. It can be overwhelming at times; to overlay school obligations on top of family, work, business travel, friends, social events, etc. Yet, remember, your ultimate goal is to learn skills that will help you progress in your career, and you will meet a ton of great people along the way. Enjoy the journey; it is worth it!
Connect with Miguel Carames on Linkedin
For more information on the Jack Welch Management Institute, visit us.