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Jack Welch on Why You Want the Muscle of a Big Company but the Soul of a Small One

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Former CEO of GE Jack Welch visited LinkedIn Studios at the Empire State Building in New York to talk with Executive Editor Daniel Roth about his upcoming new book, his online MBA and how to lead a successful business.

"I wanted to strike in education. I think education is a less-than-competitive field. Cost continues to go up, and it's moving away from most people. So I went to the online school, after teaching at MIT for five years, where I was teaching 35 people, to now teaching 1,000 as our MBA school is growing rapidly.

"And we're doing it in a professional business way, where the student is the customer, not the faculty. And so we're serving student needs there. And in the book, look, we're not against traditional MBAs. We're all for them. But they're expensive, oftentimes they fit the need of the quote I just said. But that's not-- in general, they're great. But it takes a lot of time, and a lot of money to get one. We're offering alternatives.
"Once you get tenure, you're there. MIT's a great school. I love teaching there. But I was teaching 35 kids in the class. And they were there for two years. They had given up full-time jobs. Now they were great students, smart, learning a lot. I loved it. Now I'm engaged with 38 year olds who are middle managers working hard, keeping their job, getting promoted within their company. Not looking to jump companies. And so our job is to teach them on Monday, they practice it on Tuesday, and they share the results of their practice on Friday. And they're constantly with their peers talking about that.

And then we poll them three times a semester. "Are you getting what you want out of this class? Is this faculty member giving you the interaction you need? Are you getting"-- and if that faculty member isn't meeting the demands of the students, they're subject to moving on. So it's a real customer focus, customer being student.