Talking the Talk: How an MBA in Executive Communication Prepares Graduates for Career Advancement

July 15, 2021
Jana Lynch Blog Photo

How quickly can an online MBA in Executive Communication help you become a better professional? Read about one experienced professional’s journey in studying as well as choosing the program that enhanced her career.

Talking the Talk: How an MBA in Executive Communication Prepares Graduates for Career Advancement

Some people didn’t understand why Jana Lynch wanted to earn her MBA.

They told her that in consumer-packaged goods, that type of degree isn’t really necessary for advancement. But Lynch persisted and years later, one defining class with April Rowsey, adjunct professor at Baylor University, confirmed her decision and set the tone for the rest of her educational and professional experience.

“Everything I learned and touched on [in the classroom] dealt with something I came in contact with in my job—every single thing,” Lynch, who has worked in sales and management roles the past seven years for multinational corporations like Nestle and Danone, says.

She still recalls key conversations from that class with Professor Rowsey surrounding concepts like presentation skills and verbal/non-verbal communication—concepts she and her team at that time were actively concerned with. And she applied what she learned in the class right away at work.

“It wasn’t an easy class, by any means,” Lynch says. “It was definitely rigorous, but Rowsey would give really solid feedback. I could just take those learnings and take those coaching tips and make myself better in the workplace.”

The class was a core communication course that paid off immediately in her work and in her studies. In fact, Professor Rowsey’s class had such an impact on Lynch that it would inspire her to choose the then-newly launched Executive Communication concentration of the online MBA at Baylor.

Why an MBA in Executive Communication?

“Communication is applicable to everything you do in business—everyone has to give speeches and put presentations together,” Lynch says. “The biggest benefit from the concentration is it makes you a better communicator overall—which was my hope."

“The impact was immediate. I see it in how I write emails and how I think through things before I press send on an email, which is really important because 99% of my work is [about communication].”

Lynch is quick to point out that great communication skills are especially necessary for higher-up professionals and leaders in her field.

“As you get into more senior roles in my industry, you’re expected to do more presentations, and you’re expected to speak more,” she adds. “There are a lot of things I learned from this program specifically that will be applicable forever.”

Combine the communication skills-building focus of the concentration with other key business subjects like economics and negotiation, and every part of the MBA experience becomes relevant and applicable to what Lynch deals with on a daily basis at work. Add those aspects to the extreme flexibility the Baylor MBA program format offers, and, in Lynch’s words, this creates a “no-brainer” decision for choosing the online MBA in Executive Communication.

Why Choose an Online MBA Format?

Committing to in-person classes simply wasn’t an option for Lynch. She always knew the right fit for her was the online MBA.

“The thing I considered most valuable for my MBA was flexibility,” Lynch says. “I knew that moving around the country was highly likely for my career, and I planned to work full time during my MBA. Baylor being 100% online for this particular format meant I could be anywhere in the country or, really, anywhere in the world, and as long as I had internet, I could get my work done.”

“That was for sure the most important consideration. I actually logged on to a couple of my classes while I was abroad. I was doing my homework in Ireland when I was traveling right before COVID.”

Taking classes online didn’t weaken the connection she had with professors and classmates, Lynch adds. Baylor’s online platform makes it easy to enroll in study groups, and participants can choose to meet on chat, Zoom or similar tools. Class projects often involve working with randomly assigned partners. Because of this setup, Lynch says she made personal connections with project partners during a negotiations class.

“One of the things that people are concerned about is the feeling of isolation, being by yourself and not having a cohort to go through with. I didn’t find that to be a problem. You run into a lot of the same people during your program, and if you’re willing to build relationships and reach out to people, that could be your hand-picked cohort. I had some of the same faces in classes, and we would just make study groups or just encourage each other.”

Advice for Prospective MBA Students

It’s interesting how Lynch’s choices to pursue both the Executive Communication concentration and the online MBA format were simple, but the MBA itself was not.

She was always on the fence about an MBA. It was on the back of her mind. After all, she minored in business during college, and earning advanced degrees is something of a tradition in her family—there are multiple MBAs and post-grads in it.

But timing was another factor. Lynch had always considered waiting to earn the MBA. The feeling was that if she got some work experience and then went to grad school, it would be easier to relate to the material.

Then at one point, it all came together. She remembers how a colleague asked her why she didn’t go ahead and get an MBA. They pointed out that it’s something Lynch will always have—no matter what career changes she makes, the MBA will always be there, and the value it adds in the business world is universal.

So, four years into her career, she decided on the MBA. Lynch says that she was so glad she waited to earn her degree. And that’s when she zeroed in on Baylor’s program.

“I wanted a school that had a really reputable name,” Lynch says—and enrolling was a “super simple choice.” The application process was seamless, and she found staff supportive and responsive.

Now she’s really passionate about others following in her footsteps. Especially those in consumer-packaged goods, a field that, at least in the minds of some, might not truly appreciate what an MBA can bring. Lynch is an advocate, as she cites how broad-reaching the concentration is and how it deals with things she encounters each day.

“If anyone is specifically in that field and thinking about an MBA … go for it.”

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