Having Jack Welch As Your Personal Mentor
MBA programmes are finding it harder and harder to sign up customers. In a job market where an MBA does not command the kind of respect that it used to, and many more MBAs in that market than ever before, selling spots can be hard. Yet Jack Welch is not experiencing this problem. Welch has set up his own MBA programme and it is doing very well indeed. According to John A. Byrne (2013) writing for Fortune magazine, Welch has created a programme where he speaks live to MBA students. This is the Jack Welch Management Institute and the online MBA programme that has been created. As described by Byrne:
“Each quarter he [Jack Welch] shows up on web cam for little more than an hour to engage with students.”
The programme was recently ranked as the number one online MBA program in North America and the seventh best online MBA program globally by CEO Magazine. The executive MBA programme that is offered includes twelve mandatory courses. Each course extends for 10 weeks and allows the opportunity for students to participate in the class in real time if they want to or more to the point, if they are able to. There are many messages from Jack Welch on the website, and this management great will also respond to a smattering of bulletin board messages a few times each semester.
As might be expected from a man like Welch, the Jack Welch Management Institute has goals that might only be described as “stretching”. The plan is for the Institute to have 5,000 students within a five year time frame from 2013. In 2014 they had 650 students. This is far beyond the numbers of students for any other MBA programme. Even the Harvard Business School MBA only has 1,800 students. However, it is quite possible that the goals will be achieved. One advantage for the students is that the programme is significantly cheaper than several of the other online programmes on the market. The cost is $36,000, and students can easily pay from $60,000 to $120,000 elsewhere. The programme also offers great flexibility through its online learning, and of course the addition of the Jack Welch name is very appealing to many.
One of the key focuses of the program is that it offers practical solutions for the work place. As Welch is argued to have said, he wants students to:
“Learn it on Monday, apply it on Tuesday, and share it on Friday.”
Actually, in terms of the time frames, it is most common that a student would finish the MBA programme in two and a half years. That is because they generally take just one course at a time and each course requires a time allowance of up to 20 hours per week. This is a considerable commitment. The programme differs from an academic institute in a number of ways, not least of which is the fact that Welch seeks feedback continually from the students about how the programme can be bettered. In addition to asking directly, the Institute frequently has students complete customer satisfaction surveys. These demonstrate the value that the students place on the programme. For example, in the survey in October 2013, students in 98 percent of cases said that the programme was a valuable investment. Additionally 54 percent of the participants in the survey recorded a promotion or recognition of some sort since commencing the programme.
In the following video, senior associate Dean Andréa Backman at the Jack Welch Management Institute and Jack Welch, review enthusiastically how their online MBA program has been growing.
For those that are interested in signing up for the programme, a GPA average of 3.0 from university is required, in addition to five years of professional experience. The programme includes role plays, case studies, business games, podcasts, video snippets and of course, the input from Jack himself each quarter. Indeed, this is considered to be one of the greatest benefits for the students who get offered Welch’s no nonsense, down to earth advice that they can choose to implement in their own work places if they wish. Students also benefit from being provided with what is called a “success coach”. This person helps the students be able to manage their time to be able to include the programme in their busy calendars. For those that do not have English as a first language, writing coaches are also offered. The teaching staff have been brought together from prestigious academic institutions such as Harvard, the London School of Economic, Cornell and Wharton. Given the way that the programme is being run to date, it seems highly likely that the organisation will meet its goals.
Paula Newton is a business writer, editor and management consultant with extensive experience writing and consulting for both start-ups and long established companies. She has ten years management and leadership experience gained at BSkyB in London and Viva Travel Guides in Quito, Ecuador, giving her a depth of insight into innovation in international business. With an MBA from the University of Hull and many years of experience running her own business consultancy, Paula’s background allows her to connect with a diverse range of clients, including cutting edge technology and web-based start-ups but also multinationals in need of assistance. Paula has played a defining role in shaping organizational strategy for a wide range of different organizations, including for-profit, NGOs and charities. Paula has also served on the Board of Directors for the South American Explorers Club in Quito, Ecuador.