If Conner Morrow had any doubts about going back to school for an MBA, they were quelled his first Monday night as a student at Baylor University's Hankamer School of Business: "You're there for four hours and you don't know anybody," he begins. "Then you go through some pretty fun team-building exercises, and by the end of it, you're already starting to make friends. It's a really effective way to start everyone off on the right foot."
For Conner, a Navy veteran who started a new job at Samsung a month before he enrolled at Baylor, it was important that he feel supported both by Baylor's faculty and admin and by the other students in the program. "I didn't have a lot of reference points to guide me along the path [of my career]," he explains, so the fact that Baylor's program is on the smaller side and offers individualized attention appealed to him. "Going to the Monday night dinners, where everybody's sitting together and talking about themselves and their families, it felt like a family environment."
More than that, Conner says, "People at Baylor go out of their way to make veterans in particular feel special." He describes receiving a challenge coin—a medallion typically given to service members by their commanders as a mark of camaraderie—embossed with the school's emblem, a "Baylor Veterans" t-shirt, and a sash he wore over his gown at graduation. None of it was just for show, either, as Conner states, "Many of the instructors were active duty military or veterans themselves."
Although starting a new job and a new EMBA program at the same time was, Conner admits, "an adjustment," he soon found a routine. "You do your coursework and your quizzes for the week, and you just incorporate it into your and your family's life. You know, I'd have to say, ‘Daddy's going to be studying this weekend for a test'"—at once a "big change in lifestyle" for Conner, but also a great example of hard work he hopes "bleeds through" to his kids.
As a former branch manager for an engineering services company, Conner says his favorite aspect of the EMBA program was interacting with classmates from different backgrounds, including "one guy who was a VP of sales for a company that makes mattresses. I'd never been exposed to that industry before, but I enjoyed learning from his perspective."
Conner also loved participating in the international trip, which took him to Santiago, Chile and Lima, Peru. "We rode horses in the mountains and barbecued in addition to learning about the South American mining industry," he recalls. "It was great to get to ask Chilean business leaders questions not just about business, but also the cultural and political side of things there—things you don't learn watching CNN."
Now, as the Facilities Manager for Google's Pryor Data Center campus (he relocated from Austin to the Tulsa metro area in January 2021), Conner credits Baylor with helping him to navigate different cultures—not just globally, but even the discrepancies in corporate culture that can exist between companies. "What I learned at Baylor about servant leadership, negotiation, and conflict resolution allowed me to transition [from Samsung to Google]," he says. "It all comes down to relationships and how you treat people" … something he feels Baylor modeled from the beginning.
Three years removed from the program, Conner can't recommend the program highly enough. "When you're in the middle of it," he says, "it seems like, month after month, class after class, there is no end in sight. Until there is an end in sight; then you're like, Wait, I don't want it to end." That's the type of experience prospective Baylor EMBA students can look forward to, and which this alum is grateful to have had.
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