“Grateful father, son, husband, and brother, life-long learner, curious traveler, and contemplative, enjoying life’s journey.”
Hometown: Mount Dora, Florida
Family Members: My wife, Kay; our son, Samuel; my parents, Bill and Dawn; and my brothers, Drew and Jamie.
Fun fact about yourself: I got scuba certified with my son shortly after his tenth birthday and we’ve been able to dive together in Aruba, La Jolla, Calif., Tulum, Mexico, and various springs in Florida.
Undergraduate School and Degree: Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University; Bachelor of Science in Professional Aeronautics
Where are you currently working? First Officer (Pilot), JetBlue Airways
Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles: I’m active in the local chapter of Pilots for Kids, a group that hands out toys to children in hospitals. I also help distribute and sort food at Rockdale Emergency Relief, a local food bank, and at my son’s school, when they give away fresh produce.
Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I’m most proud of being a father and seeing my son grow and develop into a thoughtful, compassionate, and adventurous young man.
What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career?
I’m most proud of getting hired as a pilot at JetBlue. It was the culmination of years of hard work and preparation, with lots of help from friends and colleagues. Working with incredible crewmembers, and flying to amazing places, it’s literally a dream come true for me.
Who was your favorite MBA professor? With so many professors who are so engaging, this is a hard question. However, I would say Professor Jonathan Clarke, who teaches Corporate Finance, was my favorite professor. He had plenty of patience and was always eager to tie what we were learning in class to real-world situations. The material we covered was challenging, and it was probably the class that I was most intimidated by before entering the program. Still, Professor Clarke presented it in a way that was straightforward and effective. I’m confident that years from now, I’ll be able to calculate the net present value of future cash flows, something that mystified me before taking his class.
Why did you choose this school’s Executive MBA program? I chose the Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business Executive MBA program because it’s rigorous and Georgia Tech is well-known and highly regarded in the aviation industry. I also heard from graduates who spoke very highly of the program and of Tech’s vast, supportive alumni network.
Give us a story during your time as an Executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family, and education? Toward the end of the first semester, when many of our final exams and group projects were due, the busy travel season also picked up at work at the same time we were trying to schedule time together as a family to celebrate the holidays. So, we celebrated Thanksgiving a few days early, then I went to work and spent the actual holiday in a Holiday Inn, working on a multiple regression project for our Data Analysis class. The following week, while I was considering subjects for my final paper for Negotiations, I was also thinking of ways to help my son, Samuel, adjust to attending sixth grade via video conferencing software. I realized that the material we learned in class about persuasion directly applied to convincing Samuel to focus more diligently on his schoolwork. I started writing the rough draft of my final paper in the back of an airplane on a late-night flight home, and the next day, thanks to many of the insights from class, I was able to approach the subject with Samuel much more effectively than my previous attempts that had just focused on reprimands and rewards.
What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an Executive MBA program? My advice would be to take advantage of opportunities to get to know your classmates outside of the classroom. Some of the most rewarding aspects of the program come from connecting and spending time together in more relaxed settings. Also, keep in mind that you’re in charge of your own career progression, so make the effort to attend networking and career development functions, and definitely take advantage of any career counseling services that are available during the program, such as resume review and interview preparation.
What was your biggest regret in business school? In some sense, I could say that I regret not doing it sooner, but I believe everything happens in its time, and so much of my business school experience was shaped by the particular people in my cohort. It’s hard to say I fully regret my timing, but it would’ve been nice to have done it a few years ago.
So many students in the cohort are really impressive people, but Steve Mok stands out in particular. As a clinical pharmacist, he’s worked to cure infectious diseases and he uses AI to predict and prevent side effects from medication use. In the middle of the program, he helped train medical personnel to administer Covid-19 vaccines at mass vaccination sites.
What was the main reason you chose an Executive MBA program over part-time or online alternatives? I was drawn to the compressed footprint of an executive program and I really liked the idea of graduating in a year-and-a-half. I also had a strong preference for in-person programs over online alternatives. I felt like I would miss out on a certain degree of interaction with my professors and classmates if I chose an online MBA and I was doubtful that I’d be able to develop the strong, lasting connections that are so integral to business school.
What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? I’d like to be a senior leader in the airline industry while remaining active as a line pilot.
What made William such an invaluable addition to the class of 2021?
“William has been eager since the beginning to learn the most he can in the program, both in the academic classes and the career programming. He is already a successful pilot for a commercial airline, has been involved in leadership projects previously, and has a goal of being in leadership in the aviation industry while also exploring other business opportunities.”
Director, EMBA Career and Student Engagement
“William is a pleasant and insightful contributor in class. I have watched him help other students learn from his experiences.”
Gary T. and Elizabeth R. Jones Chair in Management, Professor, Regents Professor