Gies College of Business MBA student Wylie Blanchard’s love of technology runs deep. The founder of Chicago-based Great Tech Pros grew up taking apart everything from toasters to his first-word processor to see how they worked. His company advises clients primarily in the healthcare and insurance services industries on how to design tech solutions that create value for their customers.
“Earlier in my career, clients would ask me to solve a problem or build a cool new feature, and I would if I could. Rarely did I explore my client’s goal beyond their specific ask. My MBA coursework, especially professor Hayden Noel’s class, has taught me to focus on what value it brings, whether that’s building brand awareness, enhancing the customer experience, cutting costs, generating revenue, or all of the above,” said Blanchard, who graduated from the fully online iMBA program in December. “I look for ways to deliver the College’s Business on Purpose mission every day.”
Blanchard said the iMBA experience has also taught him to think more globally about how to grow Great Tech Pros, founded in 2013.
“That’s something that I had not previously considered. But after attending global immersions in Germany and Brazil, I see so many opportunities,” he said.
Blanchard is exploring setting up near-shore database operations with fellow iMBA student Paul Taylor in his Jamaica home base. He turned to Taylor to create a solution that had a US-friendly time zone when Great Tech Pros couldn’t meet a client’s price point with a US-based solution.
The Gies iMBA program isn’t Blanchard’s first experience with online learning. He received a BS in business administration and management from Walden University. Blanchard said interacting with more marketing, strategy, and finance decision-makers is what prompted him to consider getting a master’s degree.
“I love the flexibility of online learning. I can continue to work full-time and be a parent,” Blanchard said, noting he looked at several programs but chose Gies because of the price point and the influence of several family members who are University of Illinois grads. He began by taking non-credit digital marketing courses toward a certificate and ultimately applied for the degree program.
“It has helped me bring a deeper understanding of marketing and finance to every assignment and allowed me to flex my skills,” Blanchard said, who also mentors business and technology students looking to make a career change.
Blanchard’s said the pandemic has forced businesses and consumers to rapidly evolve their relationship with technology.
“Some were ready, some were not. We’re working with clients to leverage cloud technology to better meet the uptick in telehealth general care and wellness within a HIPPA compliant infrastructure,” he said. “There will be another virus that hits us down the road and the need to be ready. The healthcare industry is beginning to see the benefits of delivering more flexible solutions.”
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