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Ricky Schwartz, MBA Class of 2013
Ricky Schwartz, MBA Class of 2013

Scheller Alumnus Ricky Schwartz Shares Advice for Early Career Success

MBA Class of 2013 alumnus Ricky Schwartz, Head of IT Innovation at Ericsson, has several pieces of advice for alumni focused on innovation. One of his favorites? "Failure is not the opposite of success; it is a necessary step on the way to success."

Ricky was eager to quickly get into the innovation space, moving to California after finishing his MBA at Scheller College and joining Ericsson as an ICT Consultant in the IT Early Career Program. After four years at Ericsson, and through leadership training, job rotations and 10 reorganizations, Ricky emerged as a leader of innovation at Ericsson. His contributions led to recognition as a Rapid High Potential, the foundational leadership talent pool for future executives at Ericsson.

Rapid advancement has also come with challenges. "Learning how Ericsson works is extremely difficult given the large size and global distribution of the company," Ricky shared. "With a company this big, it's sometimes difficult to find the right people to help you get the job done. I tend to leverage my internal network to get things done and connect with the right people." Ericsson being headquartered in Sweden can also be a struggle. "Being nine hours behind Sweden means I'm often up for phone calls around 5 a.m. and until 11 p.m. when I need to speak with colleagues in India."

But the work is exciting and constantly evolving. His role requires him to stay on top of new trends in the market by meeting with startups, researching competitors, understanding supplier challenges, and constantly reading articles and whitepapers about the latest technologies. "I also run Proof of Concepts and pilots to test new products and solutions in the market to better understand what they do and how they will impact IT in Ericsson," he added.

Preparing for the future challenges of his role also includes formal training; Ricky is currently enrolled in Stanford University's Professional Certificate program for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Constantly listening and learning helps him connect the dots. "There is so much value and creativity in making connections where others don't see them," he added.

When asked for advice for career success he shared that building a strong network has been critical. "Network, network, network," he added. "And never eat lunch alone!" For new Scheller College MBA alumni Ricky shared that it's important to find ways to say yes and get exposed to as many things as possible. Also, it's critical to build credibility early. "Do what you say you will do. If you commit, then deliver," he added. "Be responsive and on time. Being late means you don't respect someone else's time and means you value your time over theirs. This is a bad way to start an engagement." Lastly, advocate for yourself. "Be aggressive and ask for what you want," he shared, "because the worst they can say is no."

Even though Ricky is on the West Coast he makes time to stay involved with Scheller College by attending West Coast MBA alumni events and participating in Scheller College's alumni profile initiative to help promote our MBA program to prospective students. Check out Ricky's profile on the Official MBA Tour Blog and stay connected with fellow alumni by joining us for one of our upcoming Scheller College events.