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.
Global Formwork Systems
Program/Concentration: Jack Welch MBA
TELL US ABOUT YOUR JOB RESPONSIBILITIES AT Global Formwork Systems?
Entrepreneurship endeavors are both exciting and stressful. As the Founder of Global Formwork Systems Inc., I wear many hats, providing customers with the level of service they expect and deserve while laying the foundation for growth and new product development.
After working in the formwork industry for more than a decade, initially as a designer and later as a technical sales engineer, I started Global Formwork Systems to develop new products and services that I felt the market needed.
Why were you looking to get an MBA?
When I read the book “Winning” by Jack Welch, one passage stood out to me: “Face your attitude towards authority, because it just might be that the source of your problem with your boss is that you are, at your core, a boss hater.” I realized I had a problem with authority. This knowledge saved my job and changed the trajectory of my career.
I knew a Jack Welch MBA would give me the tools to advance in my career. And I knew that I would be learning from the man who did it all, Jack Welch himself.
HOW HAS THE JWMI CURRICULUM HELPED YOU IN YOUR CAREER
The Jack Welch MBA helped me reach my entrepreneurial dream and provided the building blocks and insights, so I was prepared for the challenges that business owners face regarding people management, finance, and marketing.
I used learnings from the JWMI curriculum and my instructors to better understand my customers and suppliers. These lessons allowed me to negotiate more effective contracts. In 2020, I grew my gross revenue by 25% despite the challenging year due to the pandemic.
DID YOU FIND THE CURRICULUM WAS IMMEDIATELY APPLICABLE? PLEASE EXPLAIN.:
The curriculum at JWMI was immediately applicable, a conscious design decision from Jack as he built the program. Students “Learn it on Monday, Apply it on Tuesday,” and report back to the group on Wednesday. This immediate action and the self-reinforcing loop made the lessons much more relevant and impactful. I could quickly get feedback on what works and what doesn’t, and why. Another aspect that made a big difference in my learning was that the instructors were not just academic gurus; they were hands-on, high-impact business professionals. They taught us from their experience instead of educational theories developed in a lab.
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.?
When I first started looking at MBA programs, I thought that an in-person program was the only way to benefit from peer interaction. However, after starting at JWMI, I realized an online experience was the only option that would have worked for my situation. The flexibility of the lectures, the Experts of Practice videos, and the online discussion boards allowed me to persevere to the end without compromise. I would not have been able to meet the time requirements if the program was on-ground. Not only did I learn lifelong skills valuable to my career, but after discussions, friendly debates, and presentations, I made friendships with fellow students as well.
HOW DID YOU NAVIGATE JOB, FAMILY, AND WORK? WHAT STRATEGIES DID YOU IMPLEMENT TO GET IT DONE?
As I learned in my communication and leadership classes, I had to be clear with my message, and sometimes I had to lead by example. I explained to my family and kids that I was doing my homework, same as them, and we would sit after dinner finishing our assignments together. I tried to give myself personal deadlines for the assignments, so I had some time to catch up if I get delayed. I always got the audiobooks and Kindle versions of the textbooks, which allowed me to use my driving time productively. I always tried to read the discussion questions first to prime my mind to look for relevant information in the material I was listening to or reading. My favorite element was the learnings in the Experts of Practice videos.
WAS THERE A PARTICULAR PROFESSOR OR MEMBER OF THE STAFF THAT YOU FELT HELPED YOU TO EXCEL? PLEASE ELABORATE.
The mastermind behind this program is, of course, Jack Welch; you can see his philosophy in each course. It is hard and unfair to pick one instructor over another as each was an expert on his or her subject and did a great job delivering that information. However, two instructors stand out for me specifically because the content was foreign to me and the instructors went above and beyond to explain, elaborate, and support me. In addition, they would probe and discuss specific situations with each of us in class to help us find the material more relatable—Professors Paul Serluco and Leo Giglio. I am forever grateful for their persistence and commitment to excellence.
WHAT WAS YOUR MOST REWARDING EXPERIENCE IN THE PROGRAM?
Each JWMI class was eye-opening. I interacted with professionals from all over the world and from industries very different from mine. To my surprise, each industry, regardless of country of origin, had similar business concerns, especially as related to the workforce. The classes in this program build upon each other, making each a necessary foundation. I felt the most interesting classes were placed at the end of the program: Entrepreneurship and Capstone & Business Analytics. These two classes bring everything we learned together. I used the business plan I developed during the course to start up my company.
Please share any advice for new students embarking on the MBA journey.
When I was contemplating my MBA, I thought it was a huge undertaking, but once I started, I saw how manageable it was to take it one step at a time. Focus on the task at hand and enjoy the process. Get your family and team excited about what you are doing. As they see you change and grow, they will change how they interact with you. A big motivation for me was that I wanted to prove to myself and my children that I can do anything, and so can my children. Just take it one step and assignment at a time.
Enjoy the best experience of your life.
Connect with Tamer Gerges on Linkedin
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