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, End User Services
Cetera Financial Group
TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR ROLE AT CETERA FINANCIAL GROUP.
I am a global enterprise IT End User Services & Infrastructure leader with a passion for emerging technologies, including Cloud Computing, IT, and Artificial Intelligence. I lead the End User Services group comprised of six different workstreams and 50 professionals who address end-user operational needs of computing, digital workplace transformations, service requests, incidents, desktop support, including virtual desktops and accounts provisioning.
I strive to find unique uses for technology that resolve complex issues in today’s world. I believe in simplifying processes for our end users as well as our IT teams. That is possible only through innovative thinking, collaboration with the end-users, “bringing every brain to the game” like Jack Welch always said, generating as many ideas as possible, and executing those ideas with purpose.
HOW HAS THE JWMI CURRICULUM HELPED YOU IN YOUR CAREER?
The JWMI MBA program helped me to grow both professionally and personally. The structure of the program allowed me to apply the learnings to my career and validate the results right away. The Experts of Practice videos shared perspectives from some of today’s top leaders and complimented that week’s learning objective and topic. The Harvard Review case studies helped me to practically relate the subject of the week to the course material and my assignments.
I gained confidence from learning to apply the curriculum and teachings in my career. I was immediately introduced to industry terminologies and concepts, which could have taken many years to learn just through job experience.
- The two biggest takeaways for me from the program are:
The importance of getting “all brains in the game,” as Jack frequently states. Being able to learn from others and brainstorm as a group can create a wealth of new opportunities.
- The key to any team is its people. Using differentiation, you can build a great team, “by identifying the top 70%, middle 20%, and bottom 10% of employees”. Frequent performance evaluations and clear goal-setting will ensure that you coach the bottom group and continue to reward those that perform well.
During my tenure at JWMI, I received two pay rises and one promotion from Senior Manager to a Director of IT End User Services.
I credit my recent success in my career to the Jack Welch MBA program because the program helped me gain self-confidence by learning concepts that are relevant to any industry.
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?
I always wanted to earn an MBA to equip myself with the management and leadership skills required to grow in my career. I did a significant amount of research on MBA programs. I evaluated which would fit my learning requirements, schedule, and of course, the budget. I was skeptical about a 100% online program in the beginning and still decided to go with JWMI because of Jack’s legacy, the practicality of the curriculum, and cost-effectiveness.
I made the right choice! The online program was much more engaging than my previous experiences with classroom-based education. The discussion questions (DQs) were engaging and allowed me to interact with fellow students and the professor. The Expert of Practice (EOP) videos allowed us to hear about the topic we were learning about from some of the most celebrated executives in the world.
But the best element within the program was the professor’s commitment to my success. Within each class, I found the faculty friendly and engaging. They offered weekly classroom sessions and even called me personally to check on my experience and confidence level with a particular concept or an assignment. They are genuinely vested in seeing their students grow as leaders and want to help you get there.
HOW DID YOU NAVIGATE JOB, FAMILY, AND WORK? WHAT STRATEGIES DID YOU IMPLEMENT TO GET IT DONE?
Navigating the MBA with a full-time job and family with two young children is extremely challenging.
I credit my wife for my success in earning a Jack Welch MBA. She sacrificed a great deal because she wanted me to achieve my MBA dream. Because of her encouragement and the extra family commitments she took on, I was able to not only earn my MBA but earn it with Honors.
I used the following strategies to navigate through the program:
- I created a structured plan and organized myself so that I spent a minimum of two hours every day after my work reading, writing DQs, or working on assignments. I rarely missed this first step.
- I downloaded the course guide well in advance of the start of class and reviewed it thoroughly. I noted down the books required for the course and purchased them in advance (even before the book store opened) and read all the books before the class started. That approach gave me an edge and confidence to handle two courses each term. I also re-read the relevant chapters based on the weekly reading requirements, which helped me gain a deeper understanding of the weekly concept.
- I made sure to work on my DQ no later than Monday evening for that week and submitted it for my peers’ reviews no later than Tuesday noon. I also made sure to respond to my peers’ DQs on Wednesday, although the deadline was Sunday night. This strategy helped me avoid last-minute misses and even gave me the confidence to look into next week’s content.
- Last but not least, I tried when possible to work ahead. This tactic allowed me to manage unexpected family and work commitments.
PLEASE SHARE ANY ADVICE FOR NEW STUDENTS EMBARKING ON THE MBA JOURNEY.
If you have a dream of learning a practical-based management program, you can put to work right away and see the results from—the Jack Welch MBA is a perfect choice for you.
If you have not yet registered for the program and have a dilemma of which program to choose, your search ends here at the Jack Welch MBA. Here, you will learn principles that you could have never thought of in your life and concepts no other school teaches. The Jack Welch MBA is not just another MBA program; it brings different perspectives to the course curriculum, either through Harvard Business Review (HBR) articles, Jack’s personal experiences shared via video or through direct interviews from the CEOs of the world’s leading organizations.
For students who have already registered for the Jack Welch MBA program, while the program is an intense learning experience, with planning & self-organization, you can achieve your dream of being a self-confident MBA graduate. Please think ahead in the course on your future assignment expectations and make use of advanced Blackboard access to avoid last-minute submissions. Also, concentrate on learning each concept in-depth, rather than just completing the DQs or assignments. I can promise you that you will enjoy every bit of your learning experience with the Jack Welch MBA program. Please feel free to reach out to me for any help you need during your JWMI journey or after.
Connect with Raj Kyadiggeri on Linkedin
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