Executive MBA 2018
Director of HR Consulting, Baylor University
Michelle Huse first joined the Baylor staff in 2013. She started “in the compensation side of HR,” eventually working her way up to Manager of Compensation in 2016. At that point, Michelle knew that the only way to keep advancing was to pursue an MBA. “For someone to feel good about putting me in a leadership role at the university [itself an institution of higher education],” she says, “it was important to further my own education.”
When it came to selecting a program, Baylor’s EMBA in Austin was the obvious choice. “I wanted to do an in-person program,” Michelle states, “because I wanted that peer-to-peer connection with my cohort and with professors.” For that reason, an online MBA didn’t appeal to her, even though she could appreciate the “flexibility of schedule and structure” that remote programs offer. As a Baylor staff member, Michelle qualified for tuition remission, making the decision that much easier. She clarifies: “Baylor has a great reputation, so there was no hesitation about feeling like Baylor was my ‘only’ option. It was really the best option.”
She commuted to Austin from Waco every Monday evening, and carved out time on Sunday afternoons for homework. Sacrificing TV and personal time instead of family time, she continued to work a full-time job and attend her kids’ sports games, turning “any car ride or plane ride—any time that you’d normally pass the time on your phone” into an opportunity to read or write for class.
“Our four girls [Michelle has nine-year-old triplets, and a seven-year-old daughter] were great throughout the program—so supportive of me being away from the family,” Michelle recalls. Her husband and extended family “really stepped up” on nights when Michelle was gone until midnight. It all paid off on graduation day, when Michelle got to share with them her ‘Why.’ “Here’s what your support got for us,” Michelle told her girls. “It felt good to show them that you can go back and get a degree at any point—even when you have a family.”
Her favorite part of the program ended up being the international trip. “Going in, it wasn’t a huge draw for me,” she admits, “but it was amazing to experience another culture.” She chose to visit Hanoi, Vietnam and Singapore, knowing that she was unlikely to ever vacation in Hanoi. “Traveling together as a group and seeing how companies operate abroad was really valuable.”
In particular, the experience helped to shape how Michelle approaches business. In addition to her job at Baylor, Michelle and her husband own a FASTSIGNS franchise in Waco, as well as two other small businesses. Although they were “already seeing good results” before Michelle entered the MBA program, she’s been able to utilize what she learned at Baylor to become the “not-so-silent partner in the background” whose input and advice now influence the really big decisions: like when to invest in a person or a piece of equipment, and what that means for future potential output. “My marketing classes also helped me right from the start to set those companies up for success.”
As the Director of HR Consulting (effective Summer 2018) at Baylor, Michelle “definitely” feels the reverberations of her advanced degree. “In HR, you don’t really think of us as being negotiators, but we do often get in situations where we need to use those skills … being able to determine what someone’s stake is in the conversation, and what they need to feel good in any kind of agreement.” Drawing on skills learned in Negotiations class, she says, “helps me to see both sides and arrive at a good resolution for both sides.”
For those considering the MBA, Michelle suggests that you first think about what you want to get out of it. “For me, I wanted a lifelong relationship-building program. I wanted to interact with people from all different backgrounds and industries, and sit down with them every week to figure out problems and collaborate—but meanwhile, still have a life. It’s 21 months of giving up Mondays,” she reiterates, “but I knew that I was going to get so much more out of it than 21 months.” She notes professors who continue to make themselves available to mentor personal and professional problems, and a cohort that still gets together over supper clubs to “check in and see how everyone is doing.”
“Baylor prepared me,” Michelle affirms, “and that was my goal.”
Investing your time into an Executive MBA is a big step. That is why, at Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business we are committed to helping you juggle work, school and family responsibilities through our signature Learn Life Balance.
If you’re ready to take the next step in advancing your career, consider reaching out to our enrollment coaching team. We can answer questions about MBA formats, curriculum, admissions, financial aid and more. Complete the form below, and our team will contact you directly.