Podcast: Global Planning Leader at Westinghouse Electric – Steve Rudnicki
Hosts: Mike Ogle and Rodney Apple
In This Episode:
We are joined by Steven Rudnicki, Sr. Manager of Global Planning & Scheduling, Global Materials at Westinghouse Electric Company. Steve shares his supply chain career journey through several companies prior to his 15 years at Westinghouse for their nuclear fuels business. Steve provides career advice about how to understand other perspectives, the challenges of coordinated global planning, the art of delegation, how to get a mentor and be a mentor, plus the value of chemistry for a team. He shares several challenges he met by thinking very differently vs. traditional solutions, plus understanding new career challenges to be faced. As an adjunct professor, he also provides his advice to students about learning how to learn, being curious and open to new challenges, plus knowing how to challenge data assumptions.
Steve Rudnicki’s Bio:
(01:49) How did you get started on your own supply chain career journey? What were some of your greatest influences that got you started and helped you along the way?
My supply chain journey actually started back in the eighties. We really didn’t even call it supply chain back then. I actually got in because I moved from project management over into running a manufacturing operation, but it was a job shop operation. And so by default, I ended up planning my work day every day and kind of what I needed to do accomplish at the end of the week. And it didn’t take long to figure out that if you didn’t have the people in purchasing running to the same tune that you are, you could set up a great plan and find out the raw materials weren’t coming in, or it was going to show up a day later than you wanted. After that job, I was actually working in another facility as the production manager and the guy who was in charge of planning, he and I didn’t see eye to eye on philosophies of how things should get done. So there was a running battle for about a year in which meetings were acrimonious and we would get stuff done, but it certainly wasn’t considered collaborative. And finally, the owner of the company just got fed up with us one day and he hauls both of us into his office and he turns to me, and he says, you’re in charge of planning. And he turns to the other guy and says, you’re in charge of production. I’m sick and tired of listening to you two guys argue, you can wear each other’s shoes, now get out there and go do your jobs. And that was the end of the intro.
What we both learned in the end and we’re both type A personalities that was painfully obvious, but that we both wanted the right thing. We were arguing about which side of the mountain we were going around to get there. And the learning that I got out of that was, it’s okay to take a different approach, as long as you get to the end result, it doesn’t have to be your approach.
In the end it was funny because he and I would laugh. In fact, I actually spoke in his funeral, telling people that we didn’t really get along when it came to a lot of stuff, but we both wanted the same thing and we respected each other for the fact that we wanted the same thing. We may not agree on how the method was going to be, but we would eventually go, okay, you get to win this time. And I get the win the next time. And that really got me into understanding how production and planning, supply chain purchasing really interfaced. And that tie together was so important that if you could really get that sequencing good, you could really make both ends of the world run much, much better.
(04:26) I see you've been in sales and operations planning roles, in an industry that a lot of people probably don't know much about. Walk us through global S&OP, paint the picture for the audience.
With the traditional S&OP, the five-step process, depending on what you read, it’s either step one is all data gathering and all that, or there’s a version that’s
step one is product management or life cycle. And a lot of what we do in step one, we really focus on that product life cycle. And where are we at? What are we introducing? Because there’s a lot of engineering going on and new products. Are coming out maybe this year or something, we’re working on this deck going to come out for four more years, but we better keep an eye on it. And then of course, as you do that, you get the natural obsolescence. Okay, we’re replacing this. What do we do about inventory and all that? So, our first process is really to make sure everybody puts all their cards on the table and everybody knows what all the different organizations are doing and where we think our products are going to go lifecycle wise in the future and make sure everybody’s playing to the right page.
Then we get to the second meeting, which is the demand review. And again, being a global organization, I have to interface with our Sweden operations. We have three business units, EMEA, which is Europe, Asia. And then of course the Americas and we tie all of that, not only on the fuel end, which is our primary business, but then there are things called core components that reactors use that aren’t actually fuel itself. And then we get into sub products which may be fuel components or tubing or zirconium that we sell. And so, we really work on getting that whole big picture, but our industry is a slow industry because we’re dealing with utilities and because we’re dealing with regulators, it takes a very long time to make a change in our industry.
So, for instance, we won the contract to take over Sequoia Nuclear. It takes two and a half years to transition from the previous vendor to us in the US market. And there’s all sorts of regulatory stuff that has to happen, but you see it coming and you got to be looking that far out to go, okay, this is going to be an increase to the business. Or if you lose something in two years, this is the last time we’re going to do any of that. And try to keep that big picture in alignment. So that when we moved to the third business meeting, the supply review, we’ve got three major plants in the U S over in Sweden and in the UK. And then you start deciding how that’s getting parsed out and we’re vertically integrated.
So that with fuel operations will now reach back into component operations, which will reach back into tubing operations, which will reach back into zirconia material operations and keeping that entire vertical supply chain. And again, our business plan reaches out five years, which is longer than the traditional, but I look out actually 20 years because capital projects could take eight years from the time somebody says, yep, we’re building one to when it actually gets constructed.
So, I’m taking these 10-year views out as part of that process. And then the supply folks are looking at that, doing the whole resource planning. Do we have the footprint that supports this and all of that, you get into the financial reconciliation, what do the changes mean? And then finally the management of business review, these are hard points. These is the approach we want to take, this as the effect on inventory, or this is the risk we want to take in the supply area. And then, roll it right over the next month. We kind of have a running joke that we know what we’re going to do, we’re just not dead sure when we’re going to do it. And so there’s an internal volatility that really causes us to constantly
make sure that everybody’s in alignment. So, the fuel contract isn’t going to change, but when the customer wants it delivered to their power plant is a very critical thing in our industry. Some people want it right at the last moment because they want to just literally get it in and shove it right in the reactor. Others want to get it two months in advance because they want it off their checklist of things to do during an outage. And so you literally have to negotiate with every customer. And that puts volatility into the total demand, the timing and customers don’t want to talk about the timing until it gets within six months of them actually doing the reload. So, you’re always guessing out in the future. So, there’s a lot of internal volatility that you wouldn’t see on the external aspect of the business. You’d go, this is a pretty steady state business. There are companies that would kill to know what they’re going to do nine years from now, right? So those demand signals can get a bit tricky. A good chunk of my job is to make sure that I catch those movements and get them communicated well so that if there needs to be a change in supply, et cetera, they aren’t caught flat footed going, when did that contract move up three months. My first job, which was in the machine tool business was probably a two year window. From the time somebody would sign to the point where we would actually install it on their shop floor. But this is significantly a longer window than that.
(09:49) And what would you attribute to preparing for a role like that? Did you guys build that internally? Did you have outside consulting help? You've been in that role for a while and I'm sure it's evolved and it's gotten better and better over the years.
We actually brought in Oliver White. The driver for it was again getting the alignment on the vertical integration. We would make decisions on the fuel plant end of it, that would throw our component and our tubing plants off the cliff. And we’d be oblivious. We just assumed that they could react to it and then they’d be running around in the fire drill and then we’d change our mind again, type of thing. We’re now owned by Brookfield Partners. And they put in a really good management system that truly believes in this and are really driving it from the top down. And, you always read that in S&OP, it’s really not a ground up process. It’s gotta be a top down. I can vouch that we fought a ground up process for years and it would get to a certain level, but it was a supply chain process, not a company process, and crucial that it’s a company process.
And we’re still for a lot of practical purposes, a big, giant jobshop. Part of our frustration with S&OP too, was it just didn’t seem to be as user-friendly for a job shop environment, it was good for collecting product life cycle and demand, and then kind of fell apart after that. We could maybe force it up to the supply and that would be about as far as it would go and steps four and five were almost non-existent because we just kind of lost the structure of the thing. It was a long journey, but we learned a lot, it’s one of those of, if you don’t succeed, at least you learn a few lessons.
(11:34) What were some of the key learnings from that S&OP journey? What did you benefit out of it yourself?
I think one of the key learnings is that as you transition, put in systems that are transparent and that your successor can pick up and continue to improve. If you try to build a system that is person dependent, then it evaporates as soon as the person leaves the company. And if you can put in a system that your successor can pick up, as they say, the best way to get promoted is to be able to have somebody replace you. I think that becomes a critical thing to always look at it from a system point of view and go, okay, if I’m not here, how does someone do exactly what I’m doing with the same robustness coming through the door.
(12:22) Steve, you've also been teaching operations to students at the University of South Carolina. What have you been teaching them and how have you seen them change over the years?
I teach what we used to refer to as the basics book of the CPIM certification for APICS. What I find is that it actually takes a lot of the classes that they’ve taken and ties it all together. I teach seniors, so it ties it all together in a way that they’re like, okay, now I understand what this means and what this does, and those types of things and why these interface together. So, I find that fascinating because you can really see when the light bulbs start going off and people start connecting the dots. What I find in working with the students is that data is now king, right? So, there’s now the rise of data analytics, because getting the data is easy. We have systems that they’re gathering so much information that the question is what do you do with the information? But the real challenge is getting them to look at that information critically and doing a couple of things. One is pressure checking it to go, do I, in fact, believe the data, right? So, I make my students listen to a one story about a lady who talks about numbers and measurements and how numbers and measurements are a product of who decided what’s in the group and out of the group to be counted. And then what am I trying to prove or disprove?
So, although you can give a system that can generate a bunch of data. You need to be able to look at it and question whether that data makes sense to you and what story is that data really telling? And I also tell them, understand the source of the data in the first place. Just because somebody in finance tells you that the inventory carrying costs per part is X, ask them how they came up with X. Are they charging you other overhead that you shouldn’t be carrying, but if you’re not going to be smart enough to ask, congratulations, it’s now in your budget, or, are they giving you a break where you’re going, wait a minute, you guys aren’t even taking into account this type of thing. So understanding where the data comes from, how it’s being accumulated and then doing those critical thinking skills of, so what’s this data telling me, and what should I do about it? In talking with different businesses, that’s what they really want out of the college students is, give me the critical thinking skills so we can give them tons of the data. We have processes in place, but, we need them to do something with that data afterwards that helps make our processes or our company better.
(15:10) Change is constant and we'd love to hear your perspective as it relates to careers, what's been one of the more challenging aspect of those changes
I think the more challenging aspect is again, the flatter organizations and the ability to delegate out to people. And be comfortable with the fact that once you delegate out, they may not do that role or that task. You thought it was going to be done if you did it right. You want to tell them what to do, not how to do it. Don’t box them into that paradigm that says, I have to do it the same way we’ve done it for the last 15 years, because that’s what my boss tells me. The other thing is giving them the ability to make new mistakes. Don’t make old ones, but make new ones, right. Unless you’re challenging how you do things, because I told you what I ultimately want to accomplish and let you go creatively to try to figure out a good methodology to do that. I have to also accept that every now and then, you’re going to have to reset. Give them an environment that allows them to do that.
I had a welder once who would come to me with probably about 10 really creative ideas in a year. Seven of them were pretty good. Three of them, not so much. One of the times when he came in, he said, Hey, you know that idea I had about such and such. And I’m like, yeah. He goes, that didn’t work. We need to order more raw material to cover that. I said, do you understand where you went wrong? He goes, yeah, it was a stupid mistake. So, I reorder it. And this entire conversation takes place. And there was actually a guy in my office who was listening to this and he gets all done and he goes, that sounded kind of important. And I said, yeah, he scrapped about $20,000 worth of material. And I said, look, he comes in with 10 ideas. A year. Seven of them are good, three not so much. You know what happens the first time I hammer him when he comes in with a bad idea, the other seven never show up. And as long as his hit ratio is good enough that I’ve got return on investment. I’ll take a nick every now and then. If you’re one of those people who want to control, that’s never going to work. People are going to feel suffocated in the process. We’ll never grow because we’re just trying to repeat what our boss wants to see.
(17:27) If you went back at this point and you were sitting in the student chair, what do you wish that you had known when people come in to teach from industry, and the kind of nuggets that you would tell the young Steve to get him started?
I think the first thing to really understand is that college is to teach you how to learn. So, a student’s job is to learn how to learn, because you’ll be doing that for the rest of your career. Either you learn or you just stopped growing. I use the example when I graduated college, I started working for a machine tool company and I was there for about six months and the vice-president of sales engineering comes over to me one day and he says, Hey, I got a project for you. I’m like, all right, sounds good. Says we’re gonna write a computer simulation program to
show the throughput of this $50 million machining system that we’re proposing. All right. Cool. And he hands me this inch and a half thick manual. And it’s a Friday afternoon, by the way. And he says, here’s the manual for how the simulation software works. We bought the software a year ago and we’ve never cracked it open. So, nobody in here knows anything. I suggest you start reading the book and start working on it Monday morning. Cause we have an appointment in three weeks and that was the end of it. Right? And so, I went home and I digested the whole thing and I came back and fought my way through it, wrote a computer simulation program, ended up on a Learjet flying from Rockford, Illinois out to Omaha, Nebraska, and did a presentation to the big dogs and flew back. And it ultimately catapulted me into the advanced product technology group. You got to play with Uber guys, Uber engineer, Uber mechanical guy, Uber quality guy, and the kid, cause I was the 22 year old kid. I tell my students, how did I end up in that role? And the answer was because I knew how to learn.
And he gave me that book because to me it was just another course. I needed to digest it. I needed to wrestle it to the ground. I needed to figure it out. If he gave it to somebody who’d been in the industry for 20 years, they’d be like, I don’t know how to write computer simulation code. I don’t know why you’re giving this to me. I had to learn something completely different than what I had done in college. I graduated with a marketing degree and got into writing computer simulation code. So, you need to really learn how to learn because the technologies and everything that’s going on, how your company changes, how you change roles and companies, you always have to learn something new. Henry Ford said every five years, you should put yourself in a position where you got to learn something all over again.
The other thing which I didn’t do, but I tell my students that they should do is find a mentor out of the gate. I’d never had a mentor. I always figured the work would take care of it. They would see how valuable I was and all of that. And the answer was, it did do a certain extent, but having the mentor was really the way you moved up in an organization, somebody who was looking out for you, keeping you from touching the third rail of whatever the corporate politics might’ve been.
You need to find a mentor who’s not in your organization, right? Your boss can never be your mentor, which is always the other problem. You need to find somebody that you can go vent to that can literally let it roll off their back because they have no skin in that game or they can come and they can go. Yeah, I understand. But let me explain something that your boss is never going to tell you about blah, blah, blah. This is why you’re never going to want to do that. Oh, okay. Yeah. That would have been really a bad idea. Yeah. That would have been right. And again, it’s not like he’s making a value judgment on you, but he understands the inner workings of the company and can keep you from getting into trouble in different areas. And quite frankly, if he gives you some advice and you don’t take it, he isn’t insulted either.
(21:25) When it comes to mentorship, some people struggle with finding the first mentor. Any guidance there in terms of how to seek out that first mentor?
If it’s in the company, I think there’s two things. One is if there’s someone that you’re comfortable with, there’s just seems to be somewhat of a natural chemistry. The other might be quite frankly, just asking your peers, who in the organization do people seem to gravitate to. Worst case scenario, go to HR and go, I’m looking for a mentor because from an HR point of view, there may be upper management people that on their PFP is, Hey, you need to find somebody to go mentor. We want that to be a learning experience for you. Oh good. I found a candidate who’s looking for a mentor. Let me tie you you two people together.
As for outside the company, I think it goes back into different organizations. If you get into organizations, fraternities, those types of things, there are people that you could engage with on a networking type basis, and again, get comfortable with their chemistry, your chemistry, and reach out to them. A lot of people, they’re willing to do it. Set the parameters as to what that means. If they’re willing to give you 10 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour of time, maybe a lunch. Everybody had somebody who had helped him on the way up in some way, shape or form. So, a lot of people like to pay it forward.
(23:11) From your vantage point, what are two or three of the biggest influences you see changing supply chain careers within the next few years?
I’d say the first thing is obviously technology, right? The more that you get into artificial intelligence, chips for tracking a vendor, portals, all those types of things. As that technology grows, you need to be able to harness it and utilize it effectively. That involves an entire learning curve, how your company or how you are going to engage with that and make it an effective tool for you.
I think the second thing is sourcing volatility. So, we did offshoring, now we’re doing near shoring. You’ve got the trade wars that came in. You’ve got now even the climate aspect of interruptions to supply chains. And so that type of volatility is going to cause companies to become more and more nimble on how to approach it.
Having those reserves in order to be able to meet the challenge drives you right into the whole risk conversation. Risk management now is becoming the bigger thing. Lean is perfect until it doesn’t work. And when it doesn’t work, it really doesn’t work. So then now you start going into, well, I want some security supply or at least I want a secondary source and those types of things. And how do you do that strategically? Because all that costs you money. The whole reason that lean was so successful was it really trimmed the dollars out of the process. And now we’re going to deliberately add dollars in if we want to have a secondary source, that’s probably going to cost me more than the primary, but I always want to have a plan B if I want to have just in case inventory, as opposed to just-in-time inventory as all costs money. And where do we find that tipping point where that cost now starts out living its usefulness? Understanding how to manage those risks and having those plans and those reserves in place really become more of that strategy type conversation back to the critical thinking skills.
How do we structure our supply chain internally or externally in order to effectively manage the types of risks that our business is going to be touching on.
(25:30) It's that kind of art that is difficult to teach in the schools. There isn't the right answer. You can put some numbers down and try to approach it and try to get an idea of it. But it's still the fuzzy logic aspect that eventually comes down to expertise and decisions?
It does. And one of the things that I do in my class is that after every class I have a business article that I post that they have to read and reply to on the discussion board. And the object of it is I keep those articles fresh. There’s obviously a lot of things happening in the world, but I put in articles that are applicable to these specific chapter slash information that we discussed for that day. And what that does is helps them take that concept that we’re teaching in the book and then showing how a company applied that concept in a particular situation. And so now there’ll be 17 articles that they’ll have to read that will take all these different aspects and go, how do you challenge this? The nice thing about textbooks is you know what’s coming. The bad thing about the real world is you really don’t know it’s coming, but you gotta be agile enough and have enough tools in your toolkit that you can go. How about if we try this?
(26:48) In addition to some of the articles that you're reading, how are you keeping up with the changes yourself and how do you advise others to keep improving?
I love learning. I work out in the morning and I listen to a podcast when I work out. So, my go-to is marketplace, which is a show on NPR for 30 minutes business show. And then I subscribed to the Wall Street Journal, and I also subscribe to a number of, in my particular case, industry articles. Some are on supply chain. Some are obviously on energy that I scroll through every day. And people are like, how do you read all of it? And the answer is you don’t really read all of it. You scroll through and you’ll find one article every 10 that you like, okay. You keep yourself constantly aware. And as you see these things happening, you can pick and glean things out of that for my classes.
If I find it really interesting article, I’ll sit there and make a copy of it, email it to my house account. And then figure out, am I going to incorporate it into my slide deck for class? Or am I just going to talk about it or am I going to make the students read it? And I keep this constant flood of articles and do the same thing with the podcasts. I try to find the examples that they can relate to because a lot of those supply chain conversations are applicable beyond just manufacturing. The example Starbucks. What’s the object of their app? Well, that allows them to get an order prior to you showing up so that you walk-in, grab your coffee and leave, it didn’t really shorten the process. But what it did was overlap their manufacturing of your specified coffee with your travel time to them. So, to you, it’s seemless. But they needed to do that because how many students have gone into a Starbucks, looked at the line and went, I don’t have 20 minutes to wait for a
coffee I’m outta here. And everybody’s like, yeah, yeah, I did that. So, it’s a supply chain solution to a commercial business. You’ve given them a specification, they’re manufacturing the coffee to your spec and you want it delivered at a certain point in time, which is when you come through the door.
(28:59) I've observed over the years that you need a great team that's diverse and compliments one another. What's been your experience there? And then how do you go about evaluating talent and bringing out the very best of your team
I think two things. One is you obviously you’ve got the baseline of, do you have the ability to do the job? Do you have the background? Do you have the knowledge? Do you have all of that? The first thing, and I used to poopoo this back when I was a younger, but it was really the chemistry. Back when I was trying to find a job out of college, you’d get a rejection letter that would say, oh, you know, you’re all good, but you know, you just didn’t fit. And you’re like, oh, come on. You know, at least tell me what the problem was. No, don’t go hide behind this. He didn’t fit thing. And then as I got older, I realized that fit was almost a critical item. And the analysis I used to use was NASCAR teams. You’ve got talented drivers, you’ve got talented crew chiefs and yet three cars would perform and one would be a dog. And you’re like, well, they didn’t give him the bad motor. They didn’t give them the lousy crew chief. And then you’d find they shuffled crew chiefs around, drivers and crew chiefs. And now all of a sudden, the guy who was a dog is like really flying. And they’re like, oh, now the crew chief and the driver on the same page, et cetera. And you started to learn that chemistry is what really got the team rolling.
I interviewed for a manufacturing engineer. I had at the time two manufacturing engineers, a quality engineer two manufacturing supervisors, and we did another manufacturing engineer. He had all my bells and whistles. He had everything he needed to do. And so I called the other four folks in and I put them in a room and I said, okay, I’m gonna let this guy come in. And you guys can talk to him for an hour. I don’t care what you talk about. I don’t even want to know what you’re talking about. I’m never going to ask you so you can tell them anything you want. I said, I only want one answer when you get done, which is, does he fit in? And if he fits in, I’m hiring them. If you guys say, Nope, you can’t work with him. Then he goes to the curb and I’m going to start the process over again. I said, because if you guys aren’t going to play nice with him, then it doesn’t matter how much I like them or how much I think he can do a good job. He’s not going to succeed. I thought that was really important was to get that right chemistry.
And then the second thing goes back to that safe place to fail. Tell them what you want to get accomplished and give them the opportunity to try it and feel comfortable. One of the ways I used to phrase it was when someone would come in, I’d say, okay, I need you to tell me one of two things. Are you making me aware or do you want me involved? Because if you want me involved, I’m happy to pick up the phone and do whatever you need me to do to help drive this. If you just want me to be aware, because you don’t want me to be surprised, but you
think he got a handle on this, that’s cool. I will not pick up the phone. I won’t send out any emails. I won’t run behind your back or anything. However, I will make sure that it’s either getting better or you need me involved. And by doing that, that gave them the freedom to come in and go, Hey, working on this, it doesn’t look like it’s going good. I think I can get this thing turned around, but he didn’t have to worry that I was gonna either go off on him or start sending out emails that were going to be less than helpful for him to get the situation corrected. And by giving them that type of environment, then the team feels comfortable to try new things, to push the edges and to drive together.
And once you do that, the efficiencies and the ability to execute and the challenges that all of a sudden become surmountable all kind of fall into a line because everybody’s pulling in the right direction and you don’t have that internal friction that slowing you down. High performing teams feel comfortable in that microcosm that we’re all pulling together and it works. You see that in sports all the time that the teams that really gel, not everybody has to be a star. There are some really good role players that allow the star to be the star. And that’s why it works. And they don’t have their feelings hurt, but on the flip side, if they weren’t there, the star wouldn’t be doing so well either because nobody had given them the feed. So, I think that’s really part of the whole high-performing team. And if you can get that type of environment, then literally people start kind of managing, I won’t say managing themselves, but certainly managing the process.
And supply chain, because you’re always challenged, you need to be comfortable that every now and then it’s not going to work. Learn from it and go back onto the field and continue on. And if you’re not comfortable in that type of environment, there’s a distinct possibility it’s going to chew you up a bit.
(38:10) Steve, just wanted to see if you had any last-minute advice you'd like to share with the audience, if there's anything from your career that just really helped accelerate your career, the floor is yours
I’ll say two things. One that I tell my students is be comfortable with challenging assumptions or having other people challenge your assumptions. People get protective on that. And I said, that happens to me all the time. In the business planning perspective, how did you come to that conclusion? Why do you think this type of thing? But it’s good because if you pressure check those assumptions, the best thing that happens is after the pressure check, yup, rock solid. No problem. What’s the worst thing that happens. You come back and go, oh, we need to think this through again.
One of the things that I like about teaching is because teaching can never have that, something happens in that wonderful black box, trust me type conclusion. The students will always ask, well what happens in that box? At least once a semester come out of a class and when we told the student, that’s really interesting, I’ve never thought of it in that perspective. I need to go back to work and rethink some of my thought processes because you asked the question, I’ve never asked myself at work, and I’m not sure that my solution now is applicable. If that question really is valid in my role. So be comfortable with that pressure check because it makes you stronger. It’s like weightlifting, you build up strength. If you pressure check your philosophies and how you’re doing your job, it just makes you a stronger person. You can improve what you need to improve, or it validates what you’re currently doing.
The second is keep your options open. I got into teaching quite frankly as we were teaching APICS courses over at the University of South Carolina, and we were renting a room from the university. So, they knew that we were doing this type of stuff. And when they decided to get into the supply chain program, the director of that program came to us and said, how would you like to teach this type of material to the undergrads. Okay. That sounds interesting. He goes, you’d be an adjunct professor and he was talking to my instructor at the time and we would do it for the fall semester. And so, we literally had two weeks to figure out how we were going to approach this. And so we did, and worked it all together. And that worked for about three years and the program grew. At one point he said, I think we’re going to have to start teaching the second class. Would you like to be the guy who teaches the second class? And I said, yeah. And that’s what got me in. I’ve been teaching for five years as an adjunct, but I got in because I had an MBA which allowed me in the door because I’ve gotten that MBA when I had gotten out of college. Because I always wanted to have an MBA. Why? Just in case. Back in the eighties, an MBA was your way to go to corporate Ford or corporate Disney or those types of things. And I never ended up in any of those locations, but I still had that MBA. And as I say, it’s the hobby that actually pays for itself. And it keeps me engaged. So I would say never close doors, but always look to those opportunities that seemed kind of interesting. It was a bit of a risk, but things that are exciting typically do have a certain risk factor to them.
So new students, if somebody comes in and says, Hey, how would you like to try this type of job or in this role? And you don’t think you’re, quote unquote, ready for it, studies show that females are more likely to need to be 98% confident in this role. Males are more like I’m 70% confident, I’ll wing the last 30%. I tell my
female students, don’t let that get in your way. If they’re asking you, they already think you can do the role, don’t discount yourself out of it. Be comfortable with taking that risk, having a few failures in the process, but learning from it, but overall exceeding. If you go in with that mindset, that there’s always going to be bumps in the road, careers are not a straight line, not everybody ends up being the perfect stepping stone right up into the corporate office, be comfortable with that. And then I think you’re in good shape.
The last thing I’ll say is, they talk about work-life balance and I’m not sure balance is right word on that, but certainly the ability to manage that interface between work and life, you can certainly set those boundaries that work for you. And it may be the clear eight to five type of thing, or it may be, I take a two-hour break during the day, or however you and your company work, but make sure that you have your time because there’s nothing worse than getting burned out. And then just everything falls apart. It’s one of those slow things that happens. And by the time we realize it, it’s usually too late. So you gotta be conscious of that.