Global Executive MBA alumnus
What stages in your life have had the greatest impact on you and why?
While I think of the personal growth when first striking out on my own or from my first management position, I think the honest answer has to be my early childhood. So much of what has made me successful comes from this time and my father is the one most responsible. While much of what he did would be considered harsh or perhaps even unacceptable in the West today, he was masterful at teaching discipline, integrity and internal motivation which in turn has allowed me to do the hard things throughout my career that many others are unable, or more often simply unwilling, to do.
Did you originally want to pursue a career in a different field? If so, why is it that nothing has come of your plans?
I started out most interested in Computer Science and Information Systems, and while I haven’t left the field completely, my career emphasis changed when I found out I enjoyed leading and developing people. The change came almost by chance when I discovered an unknown strength and capitalized on it. For me, I traded in one promising future for an even better one and haven’t looked back since.
How and why did you come to work for Infomergent, LLC?
I founded Infomergent, LLC to try my hand at entrepreneurship and take advantage of an opportunity I saw in our industry. Prior to that I had spent 15 years climbing the corporate ladder within various companies. My last post had me reporting to the president of a family-run, mid-size company with no room to advance and the timing just seemed right to go for it.
What has changed in your career as a result of your MBA degree? How did the program support you in reaching your career goals? What concrete career opportunities have opened up for you?
I think the diverse and impressive peer network has to be one of the biggest benefits so far. There were also a number of times where my eyes have been opened by an “aha moment” and they weren’t necessarily in the courses that I would have expected. One example was in Professor Charlie Caliendo’s Managerial Accounting course where he ran a “simulation” and we had our own model companies with which we competed against each other in teams. I vividly saw how perfectly profitable businesses can so easily go bankrupt; I always knew cash flow was important but running through the business functions of the simulation really helped drive this home in a more heartfelt way for me.
What was your biggest professional/personal success?
I’m most proud of helping to unlock the potential of employees, sometimes even long after we’ve moved on from working in the same company together. I’ve had a high percentage of former employees who have moved into management, been promoted to higher management posts or even started their own companies. Playing a part in their growth is very rewarding to me personally and I certainly found it to be true that one learns more as a teacher than as a student.
What are your goals for the coming year? Your goals in general? Is there still something you absolutely want to do?
I’m pursuing a 300% increase in sales which is a tough goal but should be achievable given that my company is still young. On the personal side I would like to participate in a half marathon “Tough Mudder.” My sales goal is probably the more attainable of the two goals given the woeful shape I’m in!
What do you consider a “great luxury“?
Time. I’m always highly leveraged and time is absolutely priceless to me.
What was the last book/movie you really enjoyed?
I recently watched Tolkien’s 12-hour old Lord of the Rings trilogy (in one sitting) with my son who was home sick from school, we had a good time together. I’m a little unusual in that I do very little pleasure reading or moving watching except perhaps to stay awake on an airplane while changing time zones or something like that. In fact, I’ve often gone without a TV or cable subscription in my life and it was a conscious decision that has provided me more time to invest in productive pursuits (like reading my MBA assignments!).
How would you characterize your philosophy of leadership? Has it been influenced by a leadership role model?
Leadership is not being in control and making all of the decisions, it is about unlocking the potential of others to best achieve common goals. I like to set an example and model good behavior, strategically give employees increasing responsibility to help them grow, provide reports with the space to take calculated risks (and sometimes fail) and put my own self at risk for them when needed. In the end I ultimately like to see that my reports get to the place where they are innovative, humble, set their own challenging goals and hold themselves accountable. Once employees are on the right track I find myself supporting them more than they are supporting me and my approach fits well with the Sacrificial/Servant Leadership model.
I also ascribe to the Clifton Strengths Based approach because I agree that people get so much more by investing in their strengths; you would be surprised how many people spend enormous amounts of time trying to improve on their shortcomings to only net a very small return on their time investment!
How do you recharge your batteries when you are not pursuing your demanding career?
I have four children and I really do enjoy wringing all of the “me time” out of my life that I can so I can invest it in them instead. Lately I’ve enjoyed camping as a family and helping my older sons develop their sports skills in (American) football and wrestling.
If you could change places with anyone for a day, who would it be?
Probably Kim Jong-un. I don’t know if I could deconstruct his repressive regime all in one day but it might be fun to try!
Why would you recommend the Global Executive MBA of the WU Executive Academy? What did you like the most?
I recommend the Global Executive MBA from WU Executive Academy and Carlson School of Management because the program delivers a truly exceptional educational experience in a global context. I was impressed with the professors in the program and found the curriculum to be well balanced between the practical and theoretical.
My favorite thing about the program has been the diversity in our class body; I could not have experienced so many different perspectives and friendships in such a short time by doing anything else.