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Program/Concentration: Jack Welch MBA
WHY WERE YOU LOOKING TO GET AN MBA?:
I realized that if I was going to grow professionally, I needed to grow personally. There’s an old expression when your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. That can happen when you only allow experience to be your guide, which isn’t a knock towards the importance of experience but a highlight of its limits. There is a wealth of business concepts and tools that you don’t run across in your everyday life but add value to achieving your goals. Pursuing an MBA narrows that gap.
DID YOU FIND THE CURRICULUM WAS IMMEDIATELY APPLICABLE? PLEASE EXPLAIN.:
Yes, it’s hard not to. I found many of the Lean Six Sigma and Kaizen practices immediately applicable. I particularly liked 5S because of its simplicity. The overt benefit was a cleaner, more organized workplace, but a tighter team was one of the unintended benefits. As we took responsibility for our workplace, we grew closer as a group. I also applied the idea of “opportunity costs” to our department. ‘Know what you’re not doing and why you’re not doing it,’ is how I like to paraphrase it. It’s easy to forget when you’re talking to a customer, and you hear yourself saying “yes” to things you know will turn your operation into a pretzel.
HOW DID YOU NAVIGATE YOUR JOB, FAMILY, AND WORK? WHAT STRATEGIES DID YOU IMPLEMENT TO GET IT DONE?:
Once a student, you quickly realize there’s a lot of reading and writing. And the weeks move fast. Discussion questions are due on Wednesday, and assignments are due on Sunday, and then you’re into a new week with a new topic, and you’re running to Wednesday and Sunday all over again. I’m more of a night owl than an early bird, so I set aside two hours each night from 10 pm to midnight to get my work done. Some nights I skipped, and some weekend days, I spent 3 to 6 hours catching up or completing an assignment.
Nevertheless, having a structure helps. Setting aside 2 hours each day for school work carried me through the JWMI program steadily. My wife was great throughout my JWMI journey and helped support and push me towards my goals. Some weeks priorities collided, but you find a way to make it work, and the JWMI team and faculty are there to support you if you ask for help.
WHAT’S BEEN YOUR MOST REWARDING EXPERIENCE IN THE PROGRAM?:
There are a lot of rewarding moments throughout the program. Each new challenge becomes a memorable moment. And by far, the most rewarding moment is completing this journey. On the surface of it, there’s the end of this three-year journey and the feeling of accomplishment that naturally comes with it. Beneath the surface, however, there are these fresh eyes you’ve acquired. Things you couldn’t have imagined when you first contemplated an MBA program now stand out like opportunities dotting the landscape.
PLEASE SHARE ANY ADVICE FOR NEW STUDENTS EMBARKING ON THE MBA JOURNEY.:
My advice for incoming students is to practice writing. Schoolwork at JWMI is all about writing, and the more you begin to focus on your communication skills, the better your JWMI experience will be. What do I mean by practice writing? Aim to provide great content and force yourself to know your material better. As a result, questions will arise, and you’ll look outside the course material for answers, driving your intellectual curiosity. It will also force you to take a stand, have an opinion, and be able to support it. Don’t worry about style. Your style will evolve naturally the more your write. My writing advice is simple. Know what you want to say (research and refine your point of view), outline it (organize your material), and then communicate it (speak the words on paper).
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