Pushing Boundaries, Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone: Michael's Journey

While major health breakthroughs from Johnson & Johnson often make headlines, one recent MBA explains why our “breakthroughs” aren’t just singular milestones—they’re things that happen every day.

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Inside of our walls, you get to see the dynamism and teamwork behind health innovation every single day—and for Finance Manager Michael Ajidahun, that's brought about a shift in mindset. Here's how he's come to understand "breaking through" in the course of his journey at Johnson & Johnson so far, and how you can join him on the front lines of health today.

Michael's Path to Johnson & Johnson

While finishing up his MBA at Wake Forest University, Michael attended an NBMBAA conference, where he met with different companies and discussed roles that ran the gamut—operations, supply chain, finance and more.

"When I first met with recruiters from Johnson & Johnson, I was really impressed by the Finance MBA Leadership Development Program (LDP)," he recalled. "The company wasn't looking for finance experts per se. Instead, they wanted business experts who also had finance expertise. I was intrigued and excited—because the Finance MBA LDP is really about leadership and impact."

And those two things haven't been scarce in Michael's experience so far. For example, as part of a project called "Last Mile Delivery," he and a team of other recent MBAs advised the Global Public Health (GPH) supply chain—a non-profit within Johnson & Johnson—on how to best deliver products to people in remote areas of Sub-Saharan Africa. Even better, GPH decided to follow up and pursue one of recommendations from Michael's team.

Despite the seriousness of missions like these, Michael insisted, "I’m having fun, too. I'm touching products at the source. My business partners are involved in negotiations for the raw materials we use to create our products, so I get to see how even minor shifts ultimately impact pricing. Understanding the consumer space from end to end—this is definitely taking me outside of my comfort zone."

A good example of that is Michael's most recent role in Consumer Procurement. And while he admits that there's been a slight learning curves so far, he also says he wouldn't have it any other way: "Pushing boundaries, stepping out of your comfort zone, flexing different muscles—these are things you have to practice in order to get better at."

What Does It Mean to Be Challenged to Grow?

While the idea of being outside of your comfort zone might sound scary at first, it's a lot less so when you're in a supportive environment where experimentation is embraced.

Michael recalled an experience in which he saw that firsthand. "We were looking to see if we could free up more R&D dollars by creating a cross-sector center of excellence for clinical and regulatory operations," he explained. "In some areas, we were successful, in others we weren't—and that was completely okay. The important thing was that we learned a lot in the process. We went on to implement in those areas where we had the most success."

This emphasis on learning and growth, Michael says, colors every aspect of the day-to-day work experience at Johnson & Johnson, not least our approach to people management.

The way we think about development is completely different here. We're coaching instead of managing, which was a new concept for me—the idea that you can empower your direct reports to arrive at the answer themselves.

Michael added: "Another big learning for me has been that you can say 'no' without being offensive. We value everyone's input, so we think it's extremely important that everyone is able to see an issue or a challenge from multiple angles."

Break Through With Johnson & Johnson Today

Ready to apply your passion, drive and MBA background to make positive, real-world impacts in the lives of people around the globe? Be sure to check out all of the opportunities we have available today as well as the Leadership Development Programs (LDPs) we designed for MBAs like you.

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  • Bring your break through

    A breakthrough isn't really a moment at all—and they happen all the time at Johnson & Johnson. They take many forms but they all share one purpose: to change the trajectory of health for humanity.

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