2021 Best & Brightest Online MBAs: Andrea Cerulli, Jack Welch Management Institute

Andrea Cerulli

Jack Welch Management Institute

I try to live my life by the mantra: “What doesn’t challenge you, doesn’t change you.”

Age: 36


Princeton, NJ (hometown)

Orange County, CA (currently reside)

Fun fact about yourself: Though I was raised as an only child, but I now have six sisters (three stepsisters and three half-sisters)! My six amazing sisters live throughout the world, from Guatemala and Spain to New Jersey and South Carolina. Family Reunions take a lot of planning!

Undergraduate School and Degree: Emory University, BA – English, and History

Where are you currently working? agilon health, VP Human Resources

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? In several of my positions, including my current one, I have joined a company in the start-up phase. Starting so early in an organization allowed me the opportunity to build out the infrastructure, develop processes, hire an all-star team, establish the culture, and contribute meaningfully to building a company from the ground up. It is not easy work, but there is great reward and accomplishment in the creation and development of a mission-driven organization.

Why did you choose this school’s online MBA program? Jack Welch created the Jack Welch Management Institute, and the online MBA teaches his philosophy of leadership which is direct yet respectful. The leadership “rules” are simple and utilize common sense, although they also require practice and courage to execute properly. I chose JWMI because I wanted to learn how to inspire and motivate teams from someone who had real-world experience and success doing it. In addition to the leadership elements, an MBA needed to teach key business concepts like financial management, economics, and marketing. The Jack Welch MBA taught all of this, making me a more effective business partner to my organization.

What was your favorite part of being in an online MBA program? I enjoyed having direct conversations with classmates and faculty throughout the week on our online school learning platform. The program is structured to create a dialogue on relevant topics specific to the week’s learning objectives. So, you are guaranteed to give and receive feedback from your peers and professor throughout the entire course multiple times a week.

What was the most surprising thing about an online learning environment? I never realized that there are so many different mediums and ways to learn. To show a grasp of the material, as a student, I would answer a weekly prompt, respond weekly on the discussion boards to classmates, record myself giving a presentation, work in small groups over Zoom, write papers, complete PowerPoint analyses, and attend professor office hours on video. Course lectures were outlined in written format and complemented by business articles and hard-copy or audiobooks. My favorite was the short videos which were a great way to digest the material and gain meaningful nuggets of inspiration from top business leaders, including Jack himself!

How did your online experience compare with your in-the-classroom experience as an undergraduate student? The social interaction is different with an online program since you don’t meet your classmates in person. However, I felt more connected to my professors than I did as an undergrad. The live zoom calls in small groups and consistent direct feedback helped me feel like they knew each of us well.

What would you change about an online MBA Program? An online program creates a great deal of flexibility and provides an opportunity to engage with peers from all over the world. Still, the only downside was the inability to meet in person with those peers regularly.

How has your online education helped you in your current job? The JWMI program places a heavy emphasis on leadership, an essential component in any working environment, but it is especially valuable in my field of Human Resources. I utilize Jack’s 8 Rules of Leadership each week, and it has made me a better leader and partner to the business.

Number of Hours Per Week Spent On Online MBA: 6-10+

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? I want to help great organizations optimize their talent in a way that is best for everyone. I always want to keep learning!


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