Jennifer Fisher (MBA 2017) is the Vice President of Business Development at TWG Plus, an end-to-end marketing company focused solely on the higher education marketplace and based in Austin, Texas. Jennifer earned her MBA from the Baylor Executive MBA program in Austin in 2017.
Jennifer Fisher was already a successful businesswoman when she decided to pursue her Executive MBA. Then an Account General Manager at Pearson, with a decade and a half’s experience in sales and marketing roles, she wanted to pursue an executive level position for the opportunity to lead and mentor others.
Furthermore, her position by definition restricted her to the field, where she was removed from operations, finance, and manufacturing—other equally vital sectors of a corporation to which Jennifer hoped to gain exposure. “I thought that by enrolling in an MBA program, I could get that exposure through collaboration with other students, and learn from their experiences. Then I’d be much better poised to take on an executive management role.”
The reasons that Jennifer chose Baylor’s program are many and diverse. At the time, the program met twice a week (on weeknights) for four-hour blocks: a schedule that fit her busy life and left her weekends free for homework. “That [structure] was more palatable for me than other programs that met on weekends, or were fully online. For how I learn, I needed in-person contact with students and professors.”
She also liked the campus’s convenient location, away from the chaos of downtown traffic, and she loved the “supportive feel” of Baylor’s program, from “the high caliber of the professors” to the fact that Baylor is a faith-based institution. Citing a class on Ethical Leadership, Jennifer notes, “You choose the Baylor EMBA program not necessarily for the 3 letters or the promise of a promotion, but to learn what servant leadership is all about, and how you can lead in a way that’s consistent with your personal morals and beliefs.”
When Jennifer was accepted into the program, her manager at Pearson was very supportive, but Jennifer knew taking on a full-time master’s program in addition to a full-time career would be challenging. “Sales careers typically involve greater than 40-50 hours per week,” reflects Jennifer. “You’re not just working 9-5, but nights and weekends, conferences and preparation for all kinds of customer events.” Used to the hectic schedule, she “just made it work.”
Before being headhunted by TWG Plus, it had been her intention to either apply for an internal promotion or seek an external promotion. Pursuing her MBA had given Jennifer “the motivation and the confidence” to dream big. The payoff came in the form of an offer she couldn’t refuse before graduating. As an additional perk, she was then asked to be her class’s commencement speaker.
Jennifer believes she was picked for two reasons: “Females are unfortunately underrepresented in business programs, and our program director wanted to highlight leadership from a woman's perspective.” Secondly, as one of the more “seasoned” students in her cohort, Jennifer had a lot of leadership experience on which to draw.
In her speech, Jennifer recalled a trip she took to Fort Davis, one of the “darkest” (in terms of the absence of light pollution) spots in North America. She attended a star party at the McDonald Observatory, where she was struck by the way that astronomers use scientific tools to study planets they can’t actually see. Extending that metaphor, she wrote: “It’s easy to imagine we are surrounded by vast, concentric circles in which opportunities orbit like unseen planets waiting to be discovered […] with the right tools. Thanks to Baylor’s Executive MBA Program, our tool boxes are much better equipped than when we started.”
The speech was heard and felt by those students who’d made it through the program with her. “Potential students need to consider the challenge of managing school with other parts of their lives,” Jennifer says. “It’s tough to work and go to school; you need a support system in place.”
She cautions that “entering an MBA program is a very big decision. There’s something to be said for not going too soon. You need to have a certain amount of work experience for it to be relevant.” However, she affirms: “When you decide it’s the right fit for you, and you fully commit—it’s the most rewarding decision you can make.”