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Antoine Wade, MOT 2015
Antoine Wade, MOT 2015

Scheller's Executive MBA Progam Helped Antoine Wade meet his International Career Goals

Scheller alumnus Antoine Wade, MOT 2015, looks back on his time as an MBA student with satisfaction in what he accomplished and gratitude for the support of his "second family" at Georgia Tech during a difficult time.

Following a ten-year hiatus from college life, Wade enrolled in the Executive MBA program in August 2014. The next month, he and his wife, Theresa, welcomed their first child, a daughter, into the world.

"One of the things I had to figure out was how to balance everything," he said. "I had to create a schedule for me that included waking up at 4 o'clock every morning to study for two hours, work out for an hour, and then go to work. My wife and I put a schedule together so that when I got home from work, I wasn't doing anything with school, and I was able to focus on her and our newborn."

Then in December, their daughter was diagnosed with a ventricular septal defect and an atrial septal defect, congenital problems commonly known as holes in the heart, requiring open-heart surgery to repair. The operation was performed successfully three months later.

"It wasn't a great time, but it worked out," Wade said. "I was able to take some time off to deal with this, but I handed in all my assignments and only missed one class. What really made a difference was the support I received from my family and from my Georgia Tech family: faculty, staff, and my classmates."

A year and a half later, the youngest Wade is doing quite well, according to her father. She had a pacemaker implanted during the surgery and will possibly rely on one for the rest of her life, "but other than that, she's as healthy as can be."

There was more good news to come in October 2015 when, five weeks before graduating from Tech, Wade was hired as associate vice president-Customer Solutions by E2open, a provider of cloud-based, on-demand software for supply chains.

"I landed the job after going through a long process of looking for the right fit for me," Wade said. "When I entered the grad program at Tech, I wanted to end up working for a slightly smaller company where I felt like I could make meaningful contributions. E2open was that great fit, and I'm happy that I made the decision to go with them."

Headquartered in Austin, Texas, E2open conducts business in Europe, Asia, and the U.S. Its software products serve a variety of industries including high tech, manufacturing, telecommunications, life sciences, oil and gas, consumer electronics, aerospace and defense, and consumer goods.

Wade requested and received a promotion this past April to area vice president in charge of E2open's Asia office located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The funny thing, he said, was that in one of his MBA classes, he completed a questionnaire that ostensibly revealed his compatibility with working in certain countries. According to the results, Malaysia would not be a "good fit".

"I'm glad I didn't take those survey results to heart," Wade laughed. In fact, he visited Malaysia previously during his first week with E2open. The experience made such a good impression that he decided to push for the Asia general manager position when the opportunity arose.

"I felt right at home there," he recalled, "and I felt like it was definitely a place where I could live." With a "yes" vote from Theresa, the Wades set up shop in the Malaysian capital on June 1.

In anticipation of his new responsibilities, Wade was briefed about Malaysian society and cultural norms in addition to conducting research on his own.

"Being a U.S. company makes the transition a lot easier," he noted, "and one of the good things about Malaysia is that their secondary language is English."

He also enlisted the help of an executive coach "to help me out with growing my understanding of the country and doing business there, but also just helping me in areas where I feel like I need some additional insight."

Wade was born in Portsmouth, Virginia — one stop in his father's military career that took the family all over the country. After graduating from high school in Madison, Wisconsin, he enrolled at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he earned a bachelor's degree in 2005 in business administration with a focus on management information systems. Wade spent the next ten years building real-world business experience in a number of roles with RedPrairie Corporation, now JDA Software, while always harboring the idea of eventually earning an MBA. He was working as JDA Software's director of Global Support Services in Atlanta — a full-time position he held until joining E2open — when he decided the time was right to go back to school.

"Having work experience was very valuable background for my classes," he said. "If I had gone for an MBA right after getting my undergraduate degree, I don't think I would have gotten as much out of the program."

Georgia Tech was a logical choice for Wade, who was looking for an Executive MBA program with a global orientation. And it was local.

"Tech fit what I was looking for," he explained. "It has a great reputation not only in technology, but as an outstanding school overall. Plus, the cost of the MBA program is a good value.

"I went into grad school with a plan," he continued. "I wanted a new job with a vice president title that paid a certain salary, and I wanted to work for a company small enough that I'd feel a level of ownership in it. The Scheller MBA program helped me achieve each of these goals. It was a terrific experience."

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Susan Ambrosetti
Director of Marketing & Communications