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Baylor Executive MBA Students Help Companies Across the Globe in 2009

Aug. 26, 2009

By Addie Aro

Baylor University's mission focuses on producing graduates for worldwide leadership and service. In line with this mission, Baylor EMBA students are given the opportunity to engage in two service projects incorporated into the curriculum--a domestic project completed during the first year, and an international project completed before graduation.

A group of 45 second-year students traveled to Ho Chi Minh City with Dr. Gary Carini, Baylor University's associate dean for Graduate Programs and EMBA graduate professor. Carini asked several Vietnamese companies last fall if they would be interested in partnering with EMBA students, who would offer pro-bono extensive research to Vietnamese companies. Not surprisingly, he received a number of positive responses.

Beginning in January 2009, the graduate students broke into six teams and were involved in a number of conference calls, videoconferencing, and e-mails that eventually led up to the face-to-face presentation meetings in April with the companies. "The very mission was to create a situation where we could help the companies," said Dr. Carini. "We aimed to provide the Vietnamese people with expertise from EMBA students, and serving the people of the companies definitely fits the notion of giving back in a unique way."

One team of Baylor graduate students conducted research for the Saigon Hi-Tech Park, a premier manufacturing, research and development facility, on ways to draw in other companies from around the world. Students looked at world-class business models in Germany, California, and South America and shared these findings with the company. "The depth of dialogue was incredible," said Dr. Carini. "The Q & A lasted for two hours, and lots of things were reconfirmed."

Another student team worked with Spire Research and Consulting, a company that provides strategic market intelligence and consulting in the Asia-Pacific region. Their task: researching the Western aging populations, and comparing the West's Baby Boomers with Asia's Silver populations. "We learned from them, and they learned from us," said Dr. Carini. "We learned how to do business in a different culture."

"It was a very humbling experience," said Maria Holmes, a second-year Dallas EMBA student. "The Asia trip educated me about caring about the people around me and the impact my business has on people we serve." Holmes added, "The trip definitely ties in with Baylor's mission; the fact that Baylor got us involved was certainly leadership. It ties into our Christian commitment in serving."

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Meanwhile back in the U.S., the first-year students spent an afternoon in May working at five different non-profit agencies in Washington, D.C. The group volunteered at Behrend Builders, Bread for the City, Food & Friends, Central Union Mission, and N. Street Village.

N. Street Village is a women's shelter that provides a spectrum of services to meet the needs of homeless and extremely low income women while also providing support to get those women back on their feet. The trip gave students insight on how to become better servant leaders back home.

"The main purpose of the service project was to create leaders that want to give back," said Sharon Mawet, director of the Dallas EMBA program. "It was the first time we integrated a service component into the academic portion."

Benjamin Perry, a first-year EMBA student, experienced just that. "As we build our company, the better I am at what I do, the better my company. The better my company, the more jobs I create. The more jobs I create, the bigger my impact is." He also learned that not every business transaction will yield a monetary gain. "We can do a lot to make money, but it still doesn't help," said Perry. "The best way to understand it is by the experience."

Baylor EMBA students are gaining more than a degree through the program; they are learning the value of servant leadership and achieving success with significance.

Visit Baylor's Executive MBA website at www.baylor.edu/emba.

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