Jerad King, WG’19, is using his knowledge, network, and broader perspective to help grow his family’s car business, make better investments, and advocate for his industry.

Growing up, Jerad King, WG’19, spent summers washing cars at his father’s automobile dealership. In college, his summer jobs involved selling cars at the dealership. Fast forward 15 years and he is now managing partner of the family business, managing daily operations at two dealerships.

Jerad also launched a few other derivative businesses selling insurance products, and he manages the investment portfolio for those companies. In addition, he is on the board of the Automotive Dealers’ Association and helps lobby on behalf of his industry.

Earning an MBA was always part of his plan. He applied to a full-time program in 2012, but declined the acceptance offer because he needed to continue working. “I kept putting off school because of work,” he said. Eventually, Jerad realized that the only way to earn an MBA was through an EMBA format.

Researching executive programs, Jerad liked the brand, faculty, and class diversity at Wharton. “This program would allow me to build a network of people who it would take me 10 times as long to meet in the work world. I wanted to learn from people in other industries about how they approach business and management challenges,” he said.

Based in Colorado, he also liked the bicoastal flexibility of Wharton’s campuses in Philadelphia and San Francisco. He chose Philadelphia as his home campus to experience a traditional college campus and be closer to New York City and Washington, D.C., where he travels frequently for his investing and lobbying work.

4 Ways His Career Is Being Impacted

Jerad graduated last May but says he is already seeing a career impact from his education.

1. Operations

“Using knowledge from operations classes, I’ve significantly streamlined our resources better to cut out slack.

2. Economics

“I learned about bundling to strategically price finance and insurance products related to car sales. That knowledge alone paid for my MBA.”

3. Finance

“I learned how to decouple risk from the manufacturer, as well as bring a market perspective to investments.”

4. Communications

“I have 115 employees and frequently need to communicate with all of them, but not everyone can attend an all-employee meeting. Now, I can connect through a platform using the skills from that class to be very clear with my messages. I learned how to articulate what is happening and upcoming changes, and to invite questions in an efficient manner. I think that has also improved morale.”

Networking, Global Courses, and Time Management

He added, “On the investing side, I’ve had many people approach me with interesting deals that would enable the growth we seek. The Wharton MBA is opening up a lot of opportunities.

In addition, Jerad sees value from the Wharton network. “I made lifelong friends in the program, who will challenge me rather than agreeing with me because they work for me. They live all over the country and some in other countries, and I really appreciate their perspectives to help me think more broadly about business. One of my classmates recently helped with some valuations and another provides invaluable feedback on HR issues.”

He also developed a broader perspective through global classes. “Living in Colorado and working in a family business, I wanted to learn about business all around the world. I took two Global Modular Courses at Wharton. One was in India and the other in London. It was fascinating to be in London during the Brexit discussion and talk to investors about risks like currency rates and what happens if the government seizes an investment.”

Jerad adds that in his first year at Wharton, he ran an ultra-marathon (100 miles), so he learned a lot about time management. “I had to find time for training even if it meant waking up at 4:00 a.m. to run while listening to a podcast about a topic from class. I learned how far I could push myself and completed the race from Key Largo to Key West with a lot of support from my classmates.”

“It’s challenging to figure out how to balance everything, but this program is an incredible opportunity. You don’t want to waste a moment of it!”

— Meghan Laska

Posted: October 22, 2019

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