Shareef Malnik On His Return To The University Of Miami’s Herbert School Of Business To Reimagine His Life And Business Moving Forward

Shareef Malnik
Shareef Malnik

Photo Credit: Romain Maurice

Photography: Romain Maurice

Shot on location at University of Miami’s Herbert School of Business

Heading back to school is an understatement as Miami’s avid philanthropist and successful entrepreneur Shareef Malnik returns to his alma mater at the University of Miami—this time, to the Miami Herbert Business School’s Miami Global Executive MBA program. While from the outside, it may look like the last thing that Malnik needs is to go back to school—he already has two degrees from UM under his belt—and some may not fathom how he could possibly make the time for it. In between running two businesses, he serves as the Chairman Emeritus of Make-A-Wish Southern Florida. But if you know Malnik, it’s easy to understand how—he never accepts what’s easy, and rather, continues to push himself to work harder, learn more and accomplish the impossible.

“I have a motto that if it’s humanly possible, I know I can do it. And there’s a lot more that’s possible than we think,” Malnik shares as we chat outside the University’s Business School.

At the time, he’s in his 16th month out of the 17-month program, just one month away from receiving his degree. At the time of graduation, Shareef was chosen by his cohort as the Student Leadership award winner. Looking back on the experience, he beams with pride and appreciation for what he has learned and how he has handled the challenge.

“If you’re looking for a program that’s going to change your life and your business life, and that’s going to take you to the next level so that you can actually apply what you learn to what you know and what you’re doing, this is the program for you,” he shares. “That’s why I’m doing it. I don’t need another degree.

What I want to do is take my skills to the next level so that I’m not disrupted and become obsolete like so many other businesses and people in this world.”
The latter point is key for Malnik and his newly invigorated drive to learn and experience more from others.

“I really had to drop my ego to do this, and so many people told me, ‘Oh, you know everything.’ And I was like, ‘First of all, nobody knows everything.’ But look at the world we live in today,” he notes. “We live in a world of disruption. We live in a world where people become obsolete. Not only do you become obsolete because your business becomes obsolete, but you become an obsolete husband, friend, leader and so forth. You’re not going to learn this thing on the job. If you don’t take on new information and find out what’s happening today, you can’t compete at a high level. I have two degrees from the University of Miami, and I’m so glad that I graduated, but I achieved those degrees many years ago. The world has changed a lot since then.”

So, how exactly does this program differ from other MBA programs? What makes it so unique?
We chatted with Associate Professor of Operations and Supply Chain Management and Academic Director of the Miami Global Executive MBA program
, to find out more about the program and why someone like Malnik is the perfect candidate.

Shareef Malnik and Hari Natarajan
Shareef Malnik and Hari Natarajan

Photo Credit: Romain Maurice

“The program that Shareef is in is the flagship program at Miami Herbert Business School,” he explains. “It’s the Miami Global Executive MBA program. The goal of the program is really to provide a truly executive vantage to seasoned business leaders, owners and corporate executives who have more than 10 years of experience.

“Shareef is an excellent exemplar of the program,” Natarajan continues. “If you look at someone who’s been very successful in business and has, over the years, developed various ideas and tools to succeed in business, it’s a brave thing for them to come back and invest in themselves. Why do they do that? A lot of the times when you’re doing business, you’re so caught up in it that you don’t actually get the chance to think strategically about what you’re doing in the first place. What this does is take you out of the situation, put you in a different context, and says, ‘Can you actually rethink, reimagine what you’ve been doing?’ We expose you to new tools, new ideas and new frameworks so that you can reimagine your own business within these tools and frameworks and come up with innovative ways of thinking. It allows you to leverage the things you’re doing very well and fix the things that you’re not doing so well.”

Every class within the program is team-taught, with the mission to deliver interdisciplinary, global cross-cultural leadership. Not only does it expose each student to invigorating lectures and Q&A discussions with varying, seasoned industry professionals who bring a new perspective to each topic, but it also brings together like-minded students who are each successful professionals in their own areas. Here, they experience the challenges and new ideas together, all the while learning from one another.

“It’s a 17-month journey. It’s a story of brilliant professors with interesting backgrounds, many who consult for great companies around the globe. It’s also a story about your fellow students in your cohort with whom you will become very close and from whom you will also learn. It’s a journey that is a mosaic and a quilt of woven experiences, people, ideas, their stresses and accomplishments,” Malnik shares.

The demographic of each student varies within the program, but each has one characteristic: They have leadership potential. “Either they’ve exhibited some form of leadership in their corporate career, or they are in a position to do great things,” Natarajan explains. “We want to invest in these people because our future is tied to their future. We’re looking for people who bring 10-12 years of experience, who have grown their corporate ladder or have businesses of their own and want to upscale. The key thing is this emphasis on learning. We want you to be able to be open to new ideas, receive them and then leverage them to succeed in your own business.”

Shareef Malnik
Shareef Malnik

Photo Credit: Romain Maurice

Whether you’re feeling stagnant in your career or craving a deep desire to do more and learn more, the Miami Global Executive MBA helps its students thrive in areas where they have already succeeded, and do better in the areas where there’s room for improvement, including creating life-changing relationships and new ways of thinking for the future.

“Perhaps one of the greatest gifts I received from the program is the fact that I learned how much more I can accomplish by restructuring and reprioritizing my life and way of thinking,” Malnik shares. “This enabled me to thrive in this 17-month program while operating two businesses and serving Make-A-Wish in a leadership role simultaneously. To be a great leader, you must look inside and change yourself, and this program can give you the tools to accomplish that.”