Tag Archives: Robinson College

PMBA perks

PMBA (Professional MBA) at J. Mack Robinson College of Business is a premium program, which means we as students are well taken care of. Our perks include free food, snacks, drinks, iPad-2s, etc. I thought, since we only have 3 weeks [7 blog posts] left, why don’t I use this opportunity to invite you to look behind the scenes and see our lunch, for instance. This blog is the only place where you can take a close look at our daily life, so let me share with you! Here are some shots of our lunch from last Saturday. We had 4 different salads and 4 different pastas. Of course, fruits are always there for us: apples, peaches, oranges, and bananas. I hope you get the idea of what can be available to you once you join the program. I’ll share more, so come back on Wed!

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Frank Blount’s Leadership Adventures and Lessons Learned

So, Frank’s wife said “yes” to the opportunity! I hope you know what I’m talking about, and if not, CLICK HERE.

He had been in Australia a lot on business-trips, so it wasn’t a too foreign country to him. He was invited to come and explore the job, but…. as an UNDERCOVER.  Why? The companies were merging at that time, and it was important to keep the current CEOs out of it. So, Frank could not use the office at the company as two current CEOs of merging companies didn’t know about Frank’s existence at all. Thus, Frank had a suite set up at a hotel, where he had a table and all appointments were scheduled with all people whom he had to meet, right there at that hotel-suite. His main goal was to help key-people understand ”we can’t stay where we are”, as he said.

The first step was to establish a good benchmark to control company’s expenses around the world. Frank used an outside company to produce the data to establish the benchmarks for each departments separately: HR, Legal, Marketing, Sales etc. Above you will find  the exact data he used back in 1994-1995 to persuade his team. Frank carried this data with him everywhere, presenting it to people with the aim to communicate that f they did not take significant steps toward positive change in the nearest future, the company would be eaten alive…

The major challenge of Frank’s new leadership-position was that out of 93,000 employees at Telstra only 50 were not members of the union… even executives were members of the union… He recalls this: “I was sitting in my office on the 45th floor face to face with Dough during that winter…  and I remember seeing my own reflection in a window…. I looked at myself in a window and told myself: Frank, I dont even know how to do it…”…

Frank was trying to work with the union, but after a year of no progress at all, he gave up. He took a different approach: 11 of his executives and him personally were taking one day out of each week to go out to each out 5,000 locations and talk to people. They did it for years. They’d have an HR person with them, they’d take email addresses for each attendee, they would aim to answer all questions employees asked, right there, and if no answer was found right away, they would e-mail the needed information to the person who needed it within 24 hours. Frank oughted to win the minds and hearts of people, and he did…

I asked Frank Blount, what were 3 major lessons he had learned from his leadership adventures at Telstra. See his responses:

  1. Learn to trust your own gut – there’s always limited time to think when making decision, so trust yourself
  2. Utilize the power of communication – it takes a lot of repetition to get your message out there and persuade people
  3. Get rid of resistant people asap – “you’ve got senior people who don’t buy in, you don’t have time to rehabilitate to it, so don’t delay with getting rid of them” Frank said.

Another question asked was this: What advice would you give us as future CEOs?

You need a group of people who undestand HR, Operations, Engeneering, Marketing, Sales and have unique experience to be good generalists. Also, you need specific experts, who worked forever in just one of these fields. It takes both to achieve success.

I myself had a broad range of experiences when took the position at Telstra. If you work in a company now, get an opportunity to see and explore the big picture. It’s hard to become a CEO, if you only always worked in Accounting or Marketing. Get a variety of experiences, cross-functional experiences.

Wow! That is great information, isn’t it!!! I hope you like reading about our amazing guest-speaker Frank Blount, whom we had a privilege to her in our Leadership class at Robinson College of Business.

One last note: now Frank is back to GA State and serves on the Board of Advisors of Robinson College of Business.

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Tegrity for PMBA Students

I sure remember promising to tell you about the two more events I was planning to attend – The Dinner With The Dean and the Award Reception for those who received scholarships. Unfortunately, I won’t be sharing this info with you. I didn’t go… I still can’t believe I missed these exciting events, but having been very sick with bronchitis, I thought I was living the last days of my life for the last two weeks. I had a fever, exhausting non-stop cough and pain in my ribs…

When appeared in a Saturday class under such conditions, I realized it was impossible to study all day being so weak. Dr. Fendler, our Corporate Finance professor, allowed me to leave and recorded the entire class for me on Tegrity. With that, I felt  as if I were actually in class – I watched Dr. Fendler’s full presentation, heard all the questions by my classmates and the professor’s answers… Almost didn’t miss anything 🙂

This is a very cool service that Robinson College of Business offers to its PMBA student. I played part of the 4 plus hour recording on my Mac, then I got tired and went to bed, watching the class-recording on my iPhone. While at my doctor’s office next day, I watched the rest of the class on my iPad-2. It’s very convenient!

Click HERE  to watch a video that gives you some understanding of how Tegrity works.

PMBA is a premium program, so you can see we ARE treated as premium program students – everything is there to make the PMBA experience unforgettable for us 🙂

Come back next time, and I’ll tell you about our acting-experience on PMBA!

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So far I only shared with you about my classmates with a maximum of 3 children. What if you a professional, who works full time and is a parent of FOUR kids. Is it possible to actually add PMBA at Robinson College of Business to all of your other responsibilities? You, probably, think to yourself “Of course, it’s impossible! There are only 24 hours in a day!” Well, let’s ask our expert – Crystal Alfred, who is a mother of four, my youngest classmate at GA State and a full-time employee in addition to all that. When interviewed Crystal, I wanted her to share the secrets of successfully combining the three roles (no, four roles, actually, as she is a wife, too) and performing well. See the interview below.

Crystal Alfred and Family

AS: How are you finding it possible to be a mother of four, maintain a full-time job and be an MBA student? 

CA: Careful planning and scheduling. If I wasn’t at school on Saturdays, I would, probably, be at one of my kids’ game (now my husband gets to fill me in after school), and Thursday nights I would be in bed reading. I am a planner, and I waited to the point in my life were the school would fit right in. I have a flexible job that allows me to change my work-schedule to accommodate my school-schedule. Also, having a loving and supporting husband helps a lot. We make it work so that we can each fulfill our life-goals while not making the kids feel as if I were not around enough.

AS: What are the ages of your children?

CA: My oldest, Deja is 8; Tayshun (boy) is 6; Anaiyah (girl) is 5; the baby (boy) Tristan is 3.

AS: Do they help you with your daily responsibilities now when you’re at school? 

CA: They all always help with daily responsibilities:  from making their beds, sweeping and vacuuming to cleaning bathrooms – they do it all (all in moderation, of course).

AS: What is the most challenging part of combining and successfully balancing all areas of your life now? 

CA: The most challenging part is making sure that I spend enough time with my kids and still get my work and homework done on time.

AS: Do you find the PMBA interesting? Has it been rewarding? 

CA: I find the program very interesting. I love the cohort-method of learning as it helps create bonds throughout the program. The PMBA has been rewarding in that it has allowed me to kind of expand my mind in certain areas. 

AS: What are your suggestions to the young mothers and female professionals who are currently considering joining the PMBA?

CA: Just do it! Only you can hold yourself  back. Don’t allow yoursel to think that it cannot be done! Just put your mind into it, and everything will work out well. If you were to ask me “Crystal, do you have times when you want to give up?”, I would say “Yes”. In fact, we all do. But that is what will make the graduation so rewarding!

Wow! Very powerful and inspiring! Let’s thank Crystal for sharing her secrets of success with us, and I hope that you will take her advice and instead of holding yourself back you will “Just do it!”

I will share more stories from our students with you, so check back every Wed and Sat at 8 am for more posts!

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