If you can’t work for one of the most influential CEOs in American business, then you can take his classes. Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, just this week launched the Jack Welch Management Institute, offering MBAs online.
Welch lead GE with a focus on efficiency, productivity, and talent development, that paid off for GE and its employees, as several went on to become CEOs themselves. He was also an early proponent of Six Sigma, a business management philosophy employed by corporations large and small. He had no time for being anything below number two, and applied that thinking to both firing illequipped managers or eliminating poor lines of business.
Now retired as GE’s chief and not one to sit back and watch the world roll by, he’s delving into an area of business that has grown increasingly popular in recent years (online education) and will help him to groom yet another generation of talented business leaders. Not to mention give the next generation an opportunity to learn from one of the greats.
With its official opening this week, The Jack Welch Management Institute has begun accepting applications, but won’t begin classes until fall. The MBA (Master’s in Business Administration) program will be administered solely online, granting access to more than just those in a commuter’s range. The Jack Welch MBA carries a price tag of about $20,000 (or $600/credit hour), whereas its brick-and-mortar competitors cost upwards of $100,000. By offering a price-conscious program in an accessible medium, Welch believes he’s striking business gold once again. “We think it will make the MBA more accessible to those who are hungry to play,” he says. “And they can keep their job while doing it.”
Welch touches on another important factor, aside from cost and proximity to the school’s location, professionals are rarely eager to leave behind their hard-earned careers and family stability for a two-year stint on campus. Welch’s students, like many others seeking degrees online, will be able to maintain their work and family lives while still attending school.
No one can describe the syllabus better than professor Welch himself:
“We’ll have all of the things the other schools have, only we’ll have what Jack Welch believes are things that work in business, in a real-time way,” he says. “Every week I will have an online streaming video of business today. For example, if I was teaching this week, I would be putting up the health-care plan. I’d be putting up the financial restructuring plan, talking about it, laying out the literature, what others are saying, and I’d be talking about it. I’ll be doing that every week.”
The curriculum, being designed by Welch and wife Suzy, will closely follow the blueprint of his teachings at Crotonville, GE’s managerial classes. He’ll introduce the traditional business philosophies being taught in MBA classes across the country, and then he’ll introduce his own, then encourage his students to debate the ideals and draw their own conclusions.
Jack Welch Management Institute (JWMI) has become a reality thanks in part to Michael Clifford, an educational entrepreneur who lead a group of investors to buy the troubled Myers University last year.
If you’re not in to earning your MBA from Welch, consider a fast-track course by reading any number of books by Welch, or his best-seller, Winning.