Baylor EMBA 2011
Project Manager, Merchandising Operations, JC Penney
"Looking for the Right Brand"
Shannon Latimer will always be a journalist at heart. "I can't get enough of CNN and Good Morning America is my favorite show," says the Florida native. After earning her degree in Journalism from the University of Florida, the self-described news junkie spent some time editing copy for medium-sized newspapers in Indiana and Louisiana. Although Shannon enjoyed the energy and fast pace of print media, she could not get used to the schedule. "I loved the pulse of the newsroom, but I hated the hours," she says. So she packed her bags and headed to Dallas where she worked as senior copy chief in JC Penney's marketing department.
After 10 years of writing and editing copy, supervising teams of writers, and collaborating with art directors, Shannon realized she was ready for more. "I wanted to combine my creative background with the quantitative skills I would gain by obtaining an MBA to better prepare myself for a marketing or brand director's position and beyond," says Shannon. "At Baylor I expected to learn principles and techniques that will allow me to lead with integrity and compassion."
Having reached that realization, Shannon wasn't quite ready to take the plunge. She researched schools for 3 years. It was Baylor's reputation as a nationally recognized top-tier school that prompted her to look into it, but it was the personal connection she felt on her first visit that was the deciding factor. "It isn't just the educational experience," says Shannon, "it is about the shared involvement with my classmates, making life-long connections, and building networks."
Along with strong brand recognition, Shannon was also looking for an MBA program that would assure her a good return on her investment. She was thrilled with how quickly it happened. "I received a promotion my first year in the program," she says with enthusiasm. The skills Shannon has learned from Baylor have also helped her budding graphic design business. She has broadened the scope of her original business plan and says she has a better understanding of what it takes to operate a successful business. Shannon has just one regret about her experience at Baylor, "I wish I had done this sooner."