Nick Lupisella, WG’17, came into Wharton’s MBA Program for Executives as an operations manager at a large consumer products company in Baltimore and a father of one with another baby on the way. His goal of transitioning into brand management and marketing happened sooner than he expected.
Less than a year into the program, a guest lecture in Foundations of Teamwork and Leadership changed the course of his career. Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky, WG’96, spoke to the class about his own experience in Wharton’s EMBA Program and the challenge and excitement of leading a Fortune 100 company.
Alex talked about the importance of the credo that drives J&J’s business culture — to put the needs and well-being of the people they serve first. His wife, Pat, also spoke to the class about work-life balance, sharing her perspective on his career and her experience as a spouse in the Wharton EMBA Program.
As an aspiring executive and the father of a growing family, both talks resonated with Nick and he became interested in joining J&J. “Through that connection, I learned about the Marketing Leadership Development Program for J&J’s Diabetes Care Companies, which aligned well with my long-term career goals,” Nick said.
He’s now an associate in that program, which involves three eight-month rotations over two years. His first rotation was in J&J’s worldwide marketing group, where he worked internationally to support point-of-care business for hospitals and health care professionals.
“This role has been an excellent mix of global portfolio strategy, demand generation, and product development,” Nick said. He’s excited about his future rotations, which may include supporting the launch of J&J’s new wearable insulin patch delivery system, digital strategy across the Diabetes Care Companies, and new product innovation.
Balancing School, Work, and Parenthood
Nick’s family life has changed dramatically over the last 18 months as well — he and his wife are now the parents of three children under the age of three. When he submitted his Wharton application, they were expecting their second child. They welcomed their son during Nick’s first week of school. Soon after, they talked about having a third child and decided not to put their family plans on hold. Their third son was born a few weeks ago.
“There are times when it is extremely challenging to find balance and you need to take a step back and try again. The keys to making it work are planning and communication,” Nick said. “It’s very important to have your partner on board with this program as it is a big sacrifice for them too. You need to align expectations so you both understand the time commitment and the reward.”
When Nick was accepted into the program, he and his wife also had conversations with their parents to let them know they may need extra support. “They have been a tremendous help and are always on-call to lend a hand,” he said.
Nick has made sure to make time for the things that matter to him. “First, I make time to play with my kids after work and help my wife put them to bed then I study from 7:30 to 10:30 at night,” he said. “You need to figure out how to recharge during the program because, unlike a full-time MBA program, we go nonstop for two years.”
Exercise helps Nick with that. Fortunately, health and fitness are a big part of Johnson & Johnson’s culture so he’s able to take advantage of on-site gyms at work. He makes sure to get his workouts in during weekends at Wharton’s Philadelphia campus too — he uses the fitness center at the Steinberg Conference Center and participates in organized sports with his EMBA classmates.
“We have plenty of challenges like our kids getting sick, high-profile work projects – whatever life throws at you,” he said. “Everyone comes into this program with high personal expectations and great work ethics, but we soon realize that other parts of our life do not stop and we need to figure out a routine while working together to succeed.”
Posted: December 12, 2016