Why go back to earn an MBA? Why now? Why Fuqua? These are some of the questions I received when deciding to pursue an MBA midway through my career. I have experienced professional success, and am working at (in my opinion) the best corporation in the world, Johnson & Johnson, with a culture, purpose, and people that fuel me every day.
Things are going well, and the future is looking bright, so why change the recipe? Well, the world is evolving so rapidly now and the pace of change is faster than ever before. I quickly realized that much of what worked for me in the past likely would not work in the future, or at best would have diminishing returns. Just as with innovation, I needed to build to future requirements, not current requirements. I needed, and wanted, to invest in the next steps of my career. I know now, more than the day I was accepted to Fuqua, that the Global Executive MBA (GEMBA) was the right program to prepare me for my next step for three clear reasons.
Diversity Enhances Perspective
I have benefitted at Fuqua by learning from an incredibly diverse, global set of instructors, administrators, and classmates. These people are experienced leaders, from across the globe, with different experiences and career goals but shared values and drive. I have been at the same company for 18 years, and while that is a major asset, learning from people smarter and more accomplished than me from outside my organization was a real attraction. I can say with confidence, coupling my J&J experience with learning from a new set of people at Fuqua will be a great combination.
Stretched Like Never Before
The GEMBA program is stretching me to redefine my ‘baseline’ capacity as a leader, and as a person. For the business and societal challenges which are ahead, being as effective as possible, all the time, is crucial to best serve others. Joining the GEMBA program has stretched me—academically, professionally, and personally—and then adapting to this new normal, it has helped me to be ready for what’s next. At J&J we talk all the time about ‘managing your energy’ through the principles of the Human Performance Institute. I never really got it until being part of the GEMBA program, and now have the capacity to do more, better, and have more energy.
Culture, Team, and Servant Leadership
One could say many top businesses schools offer the two aforementioned benefits, but perhaps not the third. The culture of “Team Fuqua” is preparing me to lead in a different, and better way. The values of Fuqua closely align to those of my company—the J&J Credo, Team Fuqua, and Fuqua’s Honor Code—all coming from a place of serving others with a shared set of ethics and values, and all with the team mentality central to my next career step as a leader. Nothing happens because of one person, and strong leaders are needed more than ever now, and in the future. Team Fuqua, the sense of serving others, and the ethical standards which accompany it, are a blueprint for future success. It’s real, and it’s special.
I know any success I experience as a leader at J&J moving forward will be in large part due to the experiences I am having at Fuqua, and the faculty and classmates which I have learned from every day. I cannot wait to attack what is ahead!