Head of SAP Education North America
Darden MBA for Executives Class of 2011
Why did you decide to get an MBA at this stage of your career?
I always wanted to get an MBA. At work, I found myself managing a P&L and a group of people, and I realized that I was inventing what I did along the way rather than educating myself on what I should do. I thought that an MBA was the best way to accelerate my understanding about how to best run a business. I did not know how to effectively run a P&L, had no idea of the effects of economics on my business or how to properly lead an organization.
How did you go about getting company support for the EMBA program?
Fortunately for me, I am among the top talent program at SAP, and SAP treats its top talents like gold. I told them of my desire to get an MBA, and the management team loved the idea. Because of this desire, SAP has actually used me as an example of someone who does not sit still and who wants to improve on his skills.
How did you apply what you’ve learned directly to your job during the program?
Lynn Isabella’s class, Leading Organizations, is probably the best example — the firehouse lesson helped me significantly. My calendar tends to fill up quickly and I often have little time to think about innovating the business. The firehouse lesson taught us to block time on our calendars to reflect and focus. I use this lesson weekly to think about my business and how to best improve it. From these hours have come countless ideas about how to move my business forward.
How has the Darden MBA for Executives helped advance your career?
During my time at Darden I was promoted one time to leading all technical consultants at SAP and within six months after completing my MBA, I now run all of SAP Education for North America. I own roughly a $140 million P&L and lead 150 people.
How did your company benefit from your involvement in the program?
They still comment about how much I have grown in two years. My conversation has been elevated to the next level where I am now able to talk about the entire enterprise, as well as the financial implications of our decisions. SAP benefits from my holistic approach to business and how I do not make decisions solely based on my world alone.