Suzy is a big believer in high-impact book titles. The couple ended a whirlwind tour with an appearance at New York’s tony Core Club where DailyMail.com CEO Jon Steinberg interviewed them before a group of 150 guests.
Jack Welch served as CEO of GE from 1980 to 2001 when he turned the reigns over to Jeff Immelt. When asked about the usefulness of conglomerates in general and Immelt’s decision to jettison GE Capital to focus exclusively on GE’s industrial businesses, Welch was supportive, saying different times call for different measures and strategies that best suit the business environment. With the advent of Dodd-Frank, he reckoned that GE would not be able to benefit from its financial arm much longer and that concentrating on the firm’s technology-based industrial business would allow the conglomerate to function with greater speed and focus.
Since 2009, Welch & Co. have been running the Jack Welch Management Institute (JWMI), an online MBA school with more than 900 students. They sold JWMI to the for-profit Strayer University based in Herndon, VA. For the past three years, Strayer has been run by Karl McDonnell. McDonnell was a GM at Walt Disney World Co., VP at Goldman Sachs, and Chief Operating Officer at InteliStaf Healthcare before joining Strayer.
Jack Welch says he has been turned on by advent of the online education space in part because, at traditional schools, “thousands of students, not just MBA students, have not been well-served. The institutions are so hierarchical. When you attend one of their orientations, you are met by deans, associate deans and assistant deans, and you begin to think there is more overhead represented on stage than they have students.”
The best part of online learning, he feels, is that online educators appreciate who the customer really is. “We can remove faculty if we find that they don’t deliver,” he adds. “Relying on lazy professors who have rarely run anything themselves is dumb and stupid.”
Welch is generous in his praise of some current business leaders, calling Google “the monster that ate the universe.” Today’s CEOs, he says are “so much better than CEOs in my day.” Jack particularly praised Under Armour’s Kevin Plank. Suzy likes Amazon because “they deliver what I want,” and called Jeff Bezos “a genius.”