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Take the Leap: How an Executive MBA Accelerated Justin Jones’ Career Growth

Justin Jones, Executive MBA – Global Business ’23, shares how the Executive MBA program shaped his career at UPS in real time and accelerated his preparation for future leadership roles.
Justin Jones, Executive MBA ‘23, stands in front of a UPS sign

Justin Jones, Executive MBA ‘23

Georgia Tech Scheller Executive MBA (EMBA) students begin the program with years of industry experience that includes leadership at some of the world’s top companies. They turn to Scheller to continue to move their careers in the right direction and to stay abreast of business and leadership best practices, all while working full-time. To say timing is vital to their success at Scheller and in their careers is an understatement.  
For Justin Jones, Executive MBA – Global Business ‘23, timing was everything. Despite his hesitations, he took the leap and went back to school, learning a lot along the way and laying the foundation for a bright career moving forward. 
Justin Jones on the Executive MBA Experience 
Is this the right time? Am I qualified? Will I be able to handle the workload while also working full-time? These questions ran through my head daily during the seven-month span between my acceptance into the Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business and day one of the Executive MBA program.  

Today, halfway through the program, I think back to those questions and realize that deciding to come back to school and pursue my Executive MBA was the best decision I have made in my professional career. I made the decision to pursue my degree to further support my career ambitions.  

I have been fortunate to have had a great deal of success early in my career with several promotions and new opportunities. My goal is to continue that track record of success and to continue to move up in the leadership ranks of my company. I realized that to keep the momentum going, I needed to continue to invest in myself to develop the skillset needed to make my way into an executive leadership position in the future. Scheller’s Executive MBA program has given me the exposure and tools to boost my confidence and give me the credibility I needed to speak up and be heard in my professional environment, despite being the youngest in every meeting.  

The professors at Scheller, each with esteemed careers of their own, successfully leverage real-world experiences to bring insights and knowledge into the classroom for the benefit of their students. The synergies between the program and my professional career have made impactful changes in how I work as a strategy manager at UPS. I have been able to leverage learnings from the classroom and immediately apply them on the job. There have also been many opportunities to take what I have learned thus far in my career and share those experiences in the classroom.  

After just one semester, I saw two classes that helped me progress in my career - Professor Debby Turner’s accounting class and Professor Jonathan Clarke’s finance class. When I started the program, I was in a domestic strategy role where I analyzed the competitive landscape and supported my organization's financial strategy. While using the techniques Professor Turner taught us to analyze a company’s financial statements along with the financial formulas Professor Clarke instilled in us, I was able to successfully predict a competitor’s shortcomings months in advance. I was recognized by my vice president at the time for my financial acumen and insights. 

Professor Frank Rothaermel’s strategy class served to hone the analytical skills needed to make data driven decisions. As a senior manager responsible for enterprise strategy, I quickly found this class to perfectly align with my day job. I am responsible for rebranding a segment of the business from the ground up and creating a new strategy for the segment. The tools and fundamentals provided in Professor Rothaermel’s class have proven to be instrumental in crafting a successful strategy.  

As you can tell, I am thrilled with my decision to return to school and pursue an Executive MBA degree. I am especially pleased that I chose Georgia Tech. The caliber of the program, classmates, facilities, and professors at Georgia Tech are second to none. Each one of the professors has had esteemed careers of which one can only dream. If someone is on the fence about going back to school, I would highly encourage them to take the leap. It does not matter if you are early in your career or in the later stages. There is tremendous value for all. My decision to enroll in the Executive MBA program at Georgia Tech has paid great dividends both personally and professionally. I am so thankful that I took that leap!

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