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.
Chief Customer Officer
Program/Concentration: Jack Welch MBA
TELL US ABOUT YOUR JOB RESPONSIBILITIES AT Media Locate LLC
As Chief Customer Officer, I am an executive leader responsible for delivering customer-driven growth through exceptional customer experience by building the engine and engaging employees and leadership, thus enabling a one company customer growth behavior and culture throughout the organization.
- Responsible for global sales strategy, revenue growth, and total customer experience focus.
- Redefined our sales process to match the customer at each stage of the buying journey.
- Refocused our entire organization to focus on the customer experience as a measure of success in everything we do
- Ensure our operations and technology offerings are fully aligned with our total customer focus ensuring reliability and innovation in everything we do
- Work to ensure one company leadership vision of accountability, culture, and continuous review of current state of client programs and customer satisfaction levels.
\Why were you looking to get an MBA?
I have successfully founded, grown, and sold three companies and have worked at the executive level in the C suite for many years; however, I felt that I had much more room to grow and learn as a leader. I decided on doing an MBA to give me a more formal and structured approach and researched many programs before choosing JWMI.
I chose JWMI because I wanted an MBA that was real, which would help me grow and would not be just an academic achievement to add to my resume or LinkedIn profile. The “learn today, apply tomorrow” principle of Jack and the program resonated with me. I graduated in December 2020, and I can tell you that this principle is 100% authentic and genuine in the Jack Welch MBA program.
HOW HAS THE JWMI CURRICULUM HELPED YOU IN YOUR CAREER
The curriculum has helped me in my career immensely. In particular, the Finance and Operations Management classes strengthened my overall management skills and rounded me as a leader (these were areas that I was less experienced in). Thus, I merged newly acquired skills with my already existing strengths and skills.
My role and title changed while in my MBA from VP of Strategy to Chief Customer Officer. While many of the responsibilities remained unchanged, the extension of my role means that I have reach into every aspect of the business to improve it. This focus and role empower me to identify and improve areas within the business that will drive our Customer Experience to newer and higher levels.
DID YOU FIND THE CURRICULUM WAS IMMEDIATELY APPLICABLE? PLEASE EXPLAIN.:
Absolutely! “Learn today. Apply tomorrow.” is a cornerstone of the whole program and value throughout every class. Whether I was discussing my company’s financial performance with our CEO or looking at process inefficiencies with our customers, how I acted in meetings, or just spoke with my team, my learning in JWMI was immediate, and I was literally applying it in my professional life the very next day. And the even better part of it was that it really works; what I had learned and applied had a positive influence and successful outcomes.
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.?
Yes, it met my expectations; the curriculum and content are well planned, thorough, and plentiful. There is always room for improvement, and JWMI takes student feedback seriously. So candidly, I would say the program lacked nothing to help you to be successful; however, the technology could be improved further, and I would like to see more team projects.
I would also say that the more you put in, the more you will get out of the program. The online environment lends itself to making acquaintances with more of your classmates quickly and easily; you just have to make an effort. DQ boards are awesome; embrace them!
HOW DID YOU NAVIGATE JOB, FAMILY, AND WORK? WHAT STRATEGIES DID YOU IMPLEMENT TO GET IT DONE?
No doubt it is a big commitment and a lot of work, and it does take a constant commitment to get the job done every week. My wife and family were incredibly supportive, for which I am eternally grateful, with many late nights and weekends spent on classwork and homework instead of family life.
My main strategy was one of consistency; I would try to do a little bit of work every day and knock off the completed pieces systematically until I would reach the end of the week and hopefully have everything completed. There were some weeks when I had some extra time on my hands, and I would use that time to get ahead, jump in next weeks’ reading, or start my DQ response thoughts. But overall, it was just about sticking to the plan and getting through it all piece by piece.
WAS THERE A PARTICULAR PROFESSOR OR MEMBER OF THE STAFF THAT YOU FELT HELPED YOU TO EXCEL? PLEASE ELABORATE.
Jim was my Strategy class lecturer, and he was amazing. So knowledgeable and an incredible thinker, he pushed me and challenged me, made me go the extra mile to really think through my thoughts and points, to come up with the answers that I did not know were in there. He encouraged and asked questions that would send me and my thought process in an expansive way or in a new direction that I had not previously considered. I learned so much, and Jim never left anything on the table; he gives his students 100% all the time.
Jeffrey was my Capstone lecturer, and I loved his sense of calmness which showed me another side of leadership, so knowledgeable and supportive but brought a whole sense of “we have this under control” when he is talking. I had not worked with a leader like that professionally before, so it was a real pleasure to do so. In fact, I learned so much and have tried to copy some of his leadership traits, his calm, collected approach, which is definitely not something that comes naturally to me in my leadership style.
WHAT WAS YOUR MOST REWARDING EXPERIENCE IN THE PROGRAM?
There have been so many, but a definite highlight was being on some of the calls with Jack himself and hearing his wisdom. I am honored that I got to sit in on a couple of those before he passed.
Also, being exposed to areas that I was not strong in, i.e., operations management and financial accounting, and learning and growing in confidence in each of these fields, has been hugely rewarding.
I also met so many great people along the way, my classmates and the JWMI faculty, who were always there to offer support and encouragement, challenge you to go further, and challenge your thinking. Learning and growing with these great people is a definite highlight.
And finally, for me, I feel so honored and proud to call myself JWMI alumni, but I guess that is the final reward of a truly great program.
Please share any advice for new students embarking on the MBA journey.
The first piece of advice I would give to incoming students is not to be scared and enjoy every minute of it because it is an amazing journey. The more you put into it, the more you will get out of it. That sounds like a cliché, but it is not, honestly. It really is “Learn today. Apply tomorrow.” but you don’t have to believe me, just try it, you will be amazed by the results and reactions you get.
I would also say make the most of the people around you; they are here to help you. JWMI faculty are always there to help, always there to support, and always there to ensure you succeed. So, take advantage of the great people who are there to help you get to the finish line.
Finally, embrace your classmates; they are on this journey too, they are amazing people just like you, and you can all succeed together. Use the DQs every week as an opportunity to get to know your classmates, to really listen to what they are saying, and not be afraid to challenge or question their posts or logic. That sort of feedback is invaluable, gives other insights, and helps us all grow and learn together. You have a lot to offer; share that with your classmates, and hopefully, they will do the same with you.
Connect with Paul Barlow on Linkedin
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