Working toward an MBA can be a time-consuming and laborious process. When Ketline St. Victor 18WEMBA applied and got accepted into the Accelerated Leadership Program, or XLP, at General Electric, she knew she was in for a challenge.
XLP is an intensive journey designed to build global executive leaders through individualized development plans, breakthrough learning experiences, high-profile assignments and ongoing coaching, mentoring and networking.
When St. Victor decided to apply to the program, she knew she’d enjoy the challenge of both XLP and working toward an MBA.
“Working with a hectic schedule is something that I am very well acquainted with, so it was just another challenge to overcome,” she said. “In my world, the goal is not necessarily to achieve balance, it is more so to focus on the ‘priority’ of the day.”
Setting priorities for each day enables St. Victor to break up her tasks into manageable pieces to stay on schedule without being overwhelmed.
Beyond the difficult task of prioritizing her time, St. Victor said there are two main reasons to pursue opportunities like this while attaining an MBA.
“First, it demonstrates to your leadership that you are ready for more challenges and expanded responsibilities and that you are committed to learning and continuous improvement,” St. Victor said. “Second, the program and the MBA are complementary. You get to apply learnings to critical business initiatives and produce tangible results right away.”
To qualify for XLP, St. Victor had to successfully complete the three phases of the application process.
“The program required the approval of my immediate manager and my HR leader,” St. Victor said. “In addition, it required two executive-level recommendations and the sponsorship of my vice president of sales.”
The recruiting process started in December of 2016 when she filled out an application stating why she would be a good fit for the program and what professional growth she was hoping to achieve.
The next phase consisted of an interview with functional business leaders to gage her core competencies.
The final phase was an interview with the executive HR leaders of the program to assess her executive potential. This interview explored her understanding of career aspirations, strengths and development needs as well as her GE foundational and leadership traits.
“Many people get in the program through nominations by their business leaders,” St. Victor said. “I self-applied without being nominated and proved to my leaders that I was ready to take on the challenge.”
In July, St. Victor officially started the program, which is broken into two phases with each phase lasting two years. During the first phase, St. Victor will be taking on full-time assignments to close the gaps on certain functional skills while working on key business initiatives.
“In phase two, I will work on CEO-sponsored, GE-wide projects,” St. Victor said. “Upon completion of the program, I will take on an executive leadership position within GE Power.”
Benefits of the MBA
Prior to entering the MBA program, St. Victor had a supply chain and operations background, which made her a great executioner but not a great strategist.
“To be an Executive Global Leader at GE requires strategic thinking, which is a key skill set I gained in the MBA program,” St. Victor said. “I also learned how to work better with people by understanding personality types and personal motivations.”
Strategy and organizational behavior were key components in the MBA program that helped St. Victor complete the XLP application process. These classes provided insight into executive leadership, corporate strategy and goal setting, personnel performance drivers and talent management.
“It is very difficult to manage a challenging position and school workload, but in the end it is completely worth it,” she said. “Don’t focus too much on weighing the cost when considering taking on another challenge. Shift your focus to the opportunities; they are often worthwhile.”