What’s your background, and how did you become involved with GhostRed?
I started with GE through their IT leadership program, right out of college. I was working in our insider threat program as an engineer and did that for about 3 and half years, then moved into a program manager role in application security. All throughout that time, I have been the leader of a program that has been now branded as GhostRed. We would go to a local high school and teach the classroom about different security concepts. The goal was to build more security awareness in young people and to demystify technology. We want to give them more hands on experience with it and start to understand some of the basics, so they can go home and protect themselves, be more aware, and maybe become interested in pursuing a technical career.
What made you decide to pursue an MBA degree?
One of the biggest needs in IT is being able to connect what you work on with revenue generation or actual business value, so my goal has always been to become closer to the business. Having that business mindset in a technology-driven industry is very important and that was the fundamental driver to pursuing the MBA.
Why choose MBA@UNC?
I have friends that have gone through the UNC program that have spoken very highly of it, and when I shadowed classes, UNC stood out the most. The energy in the class was there, the engagement with the students was there and the expertise from the professor was there.
Lastly, the flexibility of a full online program was huge for me because I have training that I have to travel for, I might have prior commitments for vacation or personal reasons or whatever it might be and if I had gone to an on-campus program, I wouldn’t have the flexibility of calling in from wherever I happen to be at that time. When you’re working 60 hours a week and pursuing your MBA, that extra flexibility really goes a long way.
How did MBA@UNC help you bring GhostRed to life?
I used my MBA skills throughout the process of presenting to our CTO. We really treated that as an investor pitch. We built it such that we were showcasing what we believed our minimum viable product to be, we highlighted what we felt the value propositions are, and we ended with our ask, which is essentially the seed funding. We needed enough resources to get that MVP delivered, and then we ultimately set expectations for what the interactions would be with leadership as we progressed through that build-measure-learn feedback loop moving into the future.