Columbia, South Carolina & Chicago, Illinois | Thursday July 30, 2020
International MBA alumni Adam Chardukian (’10 business administration, ’15 IMBA) and Reynolds Broker (’18 IMBA) earned roles on an executive team at a technology discovery firm in part because of the stellar professionalism and higher standards they had grown accustomed to after being part of the Moore School’s No. 1-ranked program.
Chardukian was named in March the chief operating officer for George Jon, Inc., an electronic discovery firm headquartered in Chicago. A multimillion-dollar international firm, George Jon’s product is essentially a secure technology platform that enables massive amounts of data to be searched, manipulated and stored for evidence use in legal matters. They provide services for the “Big Four” accounting firms, global corporations, the top 100 U.S.-based law firms, government agencies and others in every major market – many of them outside the U.S.
As COO, Chardukian serves as the primary author of George Jon’s business and technology strategy road map and is responsible for all enterprise operations on a daily basis. Chardukian ensures operations are continuously assessed, optimized and governed on a global scale, ultimately, positioning the organization for continued, sustainable growth.
At age 32, Chardukian’s professional path and rapid ascension to the COO role does not follow the conventional or linear career trajectory of his peers. The promotion highlights his leadership and the cultivation of an enterprising spirit instilled by his father, Arne Chardukian (’83 MIBS), who encouraged Chardukian to consider attending the Moore School.
“Growing up with a father who attended the MIBS program and hearing about his time overseas in Bogotá, Colombia, I developed an innate drive to learn foreign languages, travel and study other cultures,” he said. “The opportunity to do this with the IMBA program was truly what convinced me at a young age that I would attend the program.”
As George Jon’s chief of staff, Broker works under Chardukian and with the rest of their leadership team “on critical strategic and operational challenges – adding rigor, analytics and structure to all projects.”
Friends before they each attended the Moore School, Chardukian acted as a mentor to Broker and “opened my eyes to the numerous opportunities an IMBA degree affords as well as the untapped potential within myself,” Broker said.
Both Chardukian and Broker said their return on investment for their International MBA has been realized in many ways.
“The IMBA enabled me to develop a truly international network of established and esteemed businessmen and women and taught me how to work with and amongst other cultures,” Chardukian said. “I have regular calls with clients in Tokyo, Korea, India, Germany, Switzerland and the U.K., among others, and I feel my ability to immerse myself in their day to day fosters a breeding ground for a long-term, valuable business relationship.”
Broker said the IMBA helped position him for a commanding role like chief of staff with real decision-making authority and a voice in the company.
Both credited the IMBA program, their experiences abroad and their international internship opportunities with exposing them to work with multinational firms and top-notch professionals.
Chardukian said the IMBA experience “nurtured and grew my strategic approach, professional acumen, cultural exchanges and perhaps most importantly, professional relationships that span the globe, all of which provided a steadfast foundation, enabling me to pursue my ambitions in joining an acclaimed international consulting firm.”
Recalling their international experience as part of the IMBA program, Chardukian and Broker called their immersions in their respective cultures “the best 13 months of my life” and “monumental.”
Chardukian spent 13 months in Mannheim, Germany, and learned how to “better understand perspectives across borders.” As an intern at Daimler AG headquarters in Stuttgart, Chardukian worked in their internal consulting practice, where he “adopted and internalized the German mindset for ever-efficient problem-solving and systems-based thinking.”
For his time in Guadalajara, Mexico, Broker said he “was placed in a sink or swim situation with a steep language and cultural curve. I learned that I could adapt, survive, thrive without the proverbial safety net, which in turn, changed my perspective towards overcoming obstacles, both professionally and personally.”
Chardukian and Broker agree that the IMBA helped them achieve their career goals by providing more technical skills and by imparting a drive for excellence.
“We are both cognizant of the tools and experiences gained from our time in the program, so there is an immediate threshold or higher standard that we hold ourselves to as professionals,” Broker said. “We both thrive in a competitive and challenging atmosphere – and frankly, that’s when our best work is produced.”
Chardukian encountered a major challenge in his first few weeks and months as COO of George Jon with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It makes me think of the old adage that ‘iron sharpens iron,’ and in this sense, the COVID-19 crisis was the iron sharpening me as a leader across the organization,” he said. “I had to make tough decisions with regards to personnel, salary cuts, budget freezes and negotiating payments with vendors and clients. Four plus months later [in July], I wouldn’t have wanted to enter at any other time as these unique circumstances have steepened my learning curve.”