2019 Best Online MBAs: Megan Broude, Jack Welch Management Institute

Megan Broude

The Jack Welch Management Institute

“I like organized chaos and the innovation it generates in its application to healthcare.”

Age: 30

Hometown: Los Angeles, California

Fun fact about yourself: I was a competitive figure skater growing up and won a national championship at the age of 12.

Undergraduate School and Degree:

Northwestern University, B.A. Cognitive Science

University of Southern California, Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

University of Southern California, Master of Science in Gerontology

Where are you currently working? Vice President, Market Operations for Agilon Health

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I am most proud of joining Agilon Health a few short months after its inception and playing a part in the establishment and cultivation of its employee culture. Any organization is only as successful as its employees, and Agilon Health’s success relies on the strength of its people and its dedication to a culture of ONE.

Why did you choose this school’s online MBA program? I often considered going back to school to earn an MBA. But it wasn’t until I moved into more operational roles that I felt like I could acquire the most knowledge from an advanced business degree. Specifically, I was looking for an MBA that could help me approach work more strategically and refine my finance and business analytic skills. However, I was never willing to stop my career to attend a typical two-year traditional MBA program.

The Jack Welch Management Institute offered the best of every possibility. It was built with a clear focus on student success and provides the flexibility to work full-time, complete my MBA, and even start a family! Having a baby in the middle of my first year tested what I had previously considered as “being flexible.” With the support of my advisor, professors, and classmates, I was able to slowly re-engage in the online classroom after a few weeks off. JWMI’s people-first culture allowed me to be successful.

What was your favorite part of being in an online MBA program?  The most beneficial element of the JWMI program is the ability to incorporate scenarios from the classroom into my work and vice-versa, bringing the challenges of my job into my coursework.

Before beginning the Jack Welch MBA program, I was unsure whether the course material would be consistently relevant to my career. However, I’ve made meaningful connections between the coursework and my career, regardless of the subject. The online format enabled me to dig into my job and my corporation so I could work to refine areas of the business that could be improved. The real-life application element at JWMI is unique. Classes don’t center on discussions of hypothetical situations or companies. They provide a more practical extension of proven strategies to your career. Not only did I improve my business acumen, but I grew as a leader.

What was the most surprising thing about an online learning environment? The most surprising element of the program is the strong connections I made with my classmates. This connectivity is not something I associated with an online MBA program. However, the JWMI curriculum is built for students to leverage the insights of people outside of their industry. It’s been a fascinating and enriching experience. I learned from my classmates as they applied our course material to their organizations, which are often outside of the healthcare industry. I was able to understand different aspects of the concepts we were studying through my peers’ experiences. Furthermore, their responses to my work allowed me to think more critically about my application of the material and created a meaningful and unique dialogue. Even though I never met my classmates in person, I feel as though I know all of them personally because of the incredible discourse we shared.

How did your online experience compare with your in-the-classroom experience as an undergraduate student? The other graduate programs I attended focused more on technical skills. At JWMI, I learned how to couple leadership with business acumen to drive results. Within the online MBA classroom, the interaction with my professors and other students is almost exclusively virtual and asynchronous versus the in-person experience found in a typical university classroom. The online discussions require a different type of engagement and attention but allow for more debate and engagement, and create valuable learning opportunities.

What is your best piece of advice to an applicant for thriving in an online MBA program? There are so many learning and networking opportunities both inside and outside the classroom—take advantage of each. Also, despite learning in an online, virtual environment, you’re not alone! Numerous resources are available to ease the anxiety of “going back to school.” Finally, create a schedule that works for you. The flexibility of an online program means that you can plan ahead to navigate the competing priorities of work, school, and personal life.

Balancing life, work, and the JWMI program is a challenge, but it is entirely doable! Time management is critical to my success. I set aside 3-4 “study sessions” during the week where I focus solely on JWMI readings, discussion questions, and assignments. This dedicated time helps to eliminate my tendency to multi-task and allows me to break up the work throughout the week. Additionally, I work ahead as much as possible to avoid unnecessary stress on the weekends. At the start of each course, I compare the course schedule to my work and personal calendar to identify weeks where I know I have competing priorities.

If you had to do it all over again, would you? Why? Absolutely! At JWMI, I had the support of smart and engaging professors with whom I will remain connected. They mentored me and pushed my boundaries. Because of them, I gained and applied knowledge on a wide range of topics. The JWMI MBA had a profound impact on my confidence and in my career. The principles are timeless and challenge me to perform better each day and drive my career growth.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? I want to continue to grow and learn while expanding my role in healthcare operations.

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