2023 Best & Brightest Online MBA: Christopher Rickard, Jack Welch Management Institute

Christopher Rickard

Jack Welch Management Institute

 “An authentic leader focused on driving impactful client results and supporting growth and development for people and teams.”

Age: 45

Hometown: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Fun fact about yourself: I love riding bicycles as fast as possible.

Undergraduate School and Degree:

University of New Brunswick, Bachelor of Science with majors in Biology and Economics

University of New Brunswick, Bachelor of Computer Science

Where are you currently working? I work at Gartner, and I am a Managing Vice President responsible for the Canada Public Sector Industry.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I am most proud of the work our teams have done for the Canadian public sector to help improve the services and lives of Canadians better. I also take great pride in seeing many team members grow, flourish, and realize their dreams.

Why did you choose this school’s online MBA program? I did my MBA at the Jack Welch Management Institute because the program perfectly matched my busy life. The program allowed me to do my schoolwork on my time while maintaining a hectic job, active family life, and volunteer responsibilities. Additionally, the Jack Welch Management Institute is an accredited and respected program that offers all programming online.

What was your favorite part of being in an online MBA program? My favorite part of the program was learning something new, interesting, and immediately applicable whenever I sat down to engage with the coursework and my peers.

What was the most surprising thing about an online learning environment? The most surprising parts of the online learning environment were how easy it was to use, the richness of the experience, and the ability to interact with my classmates seamlessly.

How did your online experience compare with your in-the-classroom experience as an undergraduate student? What I liked most about the online experience compared to the in-the-classroom experience was how moving through the program was much more time efficient online. Given the stage of life I am in, I would not have been able to spend the time required to travel to and from a physical classroom environment.

What is your best piece of advice to an applicant for thriving in an online MBA program? There are a few pieces of practical advice that can help a student thrive in an online MBA program.

Consistency – Work on the program every day to ensure that you have a weekly schedule that you adhere to, which helps you stay ahead of your workload.

Dive Deep – Spend the time required to read, understand, and internalize all the material from the course. There is an abundance of rich content provided; take the time to embrace the knowledge.

Listen – As you move through the program, stop and listen to the advice and viewpoints of your professors and fellow classmates. The MBA program creates a melting pot of points of view and will enhance your learning if you listen.

What would you change about an online MBA Program? I would not have changed anything about the program. I was thrilled from start to finish with the education I received and how it fit my life.

How has your online education helped you in your current job? At the most practical level, the job I am in now as the Canadian Public Sector Industry leader for Gartner Consulting, requires a master’s degree, as do all future higher jobs at Gartner. My MBA from JWMI automatically opens a whole world of opportunity for me at Gartner.

At the strategic level, my MBA education helps me every day across the full spectrum of leadership challenges I face. The MBA education has given me a knowledge-based underpinning that I can apply to be a better leader every single day.

Additionally, the MBA education has increased my capacity to deal with challenging situations by providing me with a more comprehensive understanding of challenges others have faced and the knowledge to work through those challenges.

Did you earn a promotion while in the program or immediately after graduation? I received a significant promotion to become a Managing Vice President and Canada Public Sector Industry Leader for Gartner Consulting while in the program.

Why did you pursue an online MBA program instead of a full-time residential program? I was not exploring a full-time residential MBA program. However, I chose the online MBA program over an Ivy League executive MBA program that would have required me to be in the classroom on weekends. The online MBA program from JWMI gave me the flexibility I needed to continue working, spending time with my family and volunteering.

Number of Hours Per Week Spent on an Online MBA: Based on the week’s requirements, the time required for the MBA varied. I would spend approximately 7-10 hours a week on the program most weeks. In weeks when we had assignments due, the required time could be between 10 and 15 hours.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? My ultimate professional goal is to continue to have a bigger positive impact on the companies, clients, and people I work with throughout the rest of my professional career. When my career is done, I want to be able to look back and feel proud of the clients we have helped improve, I want to leave the companies I work for in a better place than when I arrived, and I want to be able to think about all of the people’s careers and dreams I helped move forward.


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