Rollins Crummer Graduate School of Business
Michael “Mike” Jennings currently serves as the Rollins Crummer Alumni Board President. He joined the Board of Directors in 2011 and has previously served as a member, board liaison to the Rollins Crummer Career Resource Center, treasurer, and vice president. Mike is vice president for IBERIABANK, formerly Old Florida National Bank, where he manages commercial banking relationships for Central Florida.
Why did you decide to pursue your MBA at Rollins Crummer? Was there a moment when you realized you needed your MBA or was there a certain professional objective to reach or hurdle to get over?
I began my professional career in consumer lending and after a number of years expanded to commercial finance and banking. As the scope of my career grew, I realized a Rollins MBA would give me a deeper, more comprehensive view of my clients’ business needs, beyond my already existing financial expertise. From data analytics and operations management to finance, accounting and economics, the Rollins MBA provided me with an enhanced set of business skills, which are directly applicable to my profession.
While studying at Rollins Crummer, what has stood out to you that had or is having the most impact on you or is making it a unique experience (for example, your relationships with the cohort or faculty/staff, the applied learning approach (real world, not just academic), the focus on leadership or community impact)?
One of the most impactful facets of my Rollins Crummer experience was the relationship fostered between students and faculty. During the program, it was common for professors to give us their cell phone numbers. That direct access and availability really stood out to me then, and I’ve kept in touch with many faculty members since graduation. Numerous times, I’ve called upon my former professors for their subject matter expertise and professional advice. They are an incredible resource to me, as well as all of our students and alumni.
Briefly describe your current professional role.
I’m a vice president in the Commercial Lending Group at IBERIABANK and primarily focused on sourcing and managing small to mid-sized Commercial & Industrial relationships in Central Florida.
How is your organization benefitting from Rollins Crummer’s MBA offerings? What has been the ROI thus far?
I’m a better banker because of my MBA experience, and my organization benefits from the knowledge and skills I gained at Rollins. Additionally, the Rollins Crummer network has helped me meet new clients, make professional introductions and referrals, and forge strong connections throughout the Orlando business community, all of which directly benefit IberiaBank.
What advice do you have for professionals looking to take their careers to the next level?
The importance of community connections cannot be overstated. Join professional organizations; get involved in a local community service project and tap into your alumni association. These connections will help you gain leadership and professional skills outside of your current job while expanding your professional network.
You have probably had strong mentors throughout your career; what is your best advice for anyone looking for a mentor? Any considerations they should take into account?
My advice to anyone looking for a mentor is to expand your scope. Think beyond your immediate industry and focus instead on leadership qualities you admire. Ask yourself, “Who do I know who is an inspiring manager, a skilled negotiator or a strong communicator?” There are rich lessons to be learned from mentors outside your profession, and I’ve found them invaluable to my own professional growth.