"The school is well known from coast to coast and around the world," says the California native, who's now a Global Executive MBA (GEMBA) student at Georgia Tech. "The main reason I chose Tech for my MBA was because of its trusted brand name."
Tovar, who started the 17-month GEMBA program in July 2007, believes that the program has helped prepare him for his latest career challenge. He was recently promoted from a district manager supervising seven stores in Atlanta to a regional vice president for The Home Depot, responsible for 132 stores in the Gulf region of Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
Currently the youngest officer at The Home Depot, Tovar is now living in Houston, Texas. But GEMBA's format allows him to continue his studies through intermittent travel until graduation in December. Classes meet every other weekend on Friday evening and all-day Saturday.
Career-friendly class hours aren't the only thing Tovar likes about the executive format. He appreciates the diversity of high-level experience that his fellow students bring to class discussions as well as the emphasis on real-world case studies.
"The Global Executive MBA program has definitely enhanced my knowledge and made me a more analytical, critical thinker," Tovar says. "And I think it's helping make me a better regional vice president. It's helping me deliver results."
Designed for rising professionals who want to shift their career toward international business and/or understand global issues, the GEMBA program enhances traditional MBA coursework to provide perspectives on global trade, markets, organizations, and supply chain.
Though Tovar doesn't travel overseas for his job, the state of the global economy definitely affects his business. "Right now, we're seeing a lot of price pressures," he says. "The rising cost of oil and devaluation of U.S. currency is making imports more expensive."
Tovar began his career with a small furniture retailer while majoring in communication at the University of California at Los Angeles with a degree in communication. In 2002, he won acceptance into The Home Depot's store leadership program.
Now 29, Tovar credits much of his rapid ascent to excellent interpersonal skills. "It's a people business at the end of the day. If you're not able to get people to want to work for you, most of them won't, and you won't be successful."