Meet Baylor’s Online MBA Class of 2022

April 1, 2022
News - Online MBA 2022
Meet Baylor's Online MBA Class of 2022

Five upcoming graduates look back at their time in the Online MBA program and forward to the next chapter in their careers.

Ranked the #8 Best Online MBA Program of 2022 by Poets&Quants, Baylor’s Online MBA program attracts working professionals with a passion for learning and a drive to become more thoughtful, well-rounded leaders. Recently, we sat down with five upcoming graduates to learn what brought them to Baylor, where they plan to go next and what they enjoyed most along the way.

Caitlin Hunter

Caitlin HunterCaitlin Hunter

Hometown: Houston, Texas

Undergraduate degree/institution: Bachelor of Business Administration (Marketing, Human Resources Management & Services), Mississippi State University

Current Position: National Execution Manager, PepsiCo

What is the most important lesson you have learned about leadership throughout your career?
I was recruited straight out of undergrad to be an executive team lead at Target. At 22 years old, I was managing a team of about 30 people. It was initially daunting, but I learned the importance of being a servant leader. I would never ask someone to do something I would not do myself. At Target, that meant cleaning bathrooms and pushing carts. Later, at PepsiCo, it was getting up at four in the morning to help team members build a display or deliver product on time.

What does your current role at PepsiCo entail?
I work with our national account managers to help accounts implement programs and promotions, while tracking execution metrics like dollar sales and share. It is a nice blend of commercialization and field work.

How did your time in the OMBA program help prepare you for future success?
It has really helped broaden my thinking and learn how different parts of a business function. As tough as they were, classes focused on topics like negotiations were crucial for me because they revealed how much more strategic and assertive I could become.

What are some of your future career goals?
I envision moving on to national account management before expanding to commercialization and strategy. I also want to move back into a people leadership role, as I currently do not have any direct reports.

What advice would you give to incoming students?
Remember that you are not on an island. Even though we do things at our own pace, we do them together. It may not be the same to have office hours online, but the professors are available and willing to help.

How do you like to spend your free time?
Even though I travel a lot for work, I am passionate about traveling for leisure. I am excited to head out soon on a 12-day trip to Spain, Portugal and France.

James Henley

James HenleyJames Henley

Hometown: Burlington, Vermont

Current Residence: Jacksonville, Florida

Undergraduate degree/institution: Bachelor of Science (Nutrition and Food Science), University of Vermont

Current Position: Assistant Vice President, Corporate Alliance and Acquisition, Nemours Children's Health

When did your passion for business come from?
I have always been interested in the science of movement, so after graduation, I opened a personal training studio. That venture morphed into three studios, which morphed into a fitness data collection operation. After 15 years in business, I sold the company and began to scan the horizon for the next opportunity.

What attracted you to the Online MBA program?
I had always wanted to go back to school and get my MBA, but I did not know when it was going to happen. In an unexpected turn of events, I had a good friend who worked at the Baylor College of Medicine reach out to me and ask if I would consider running the corporate side of their philanthropic operations. It ended up being an excellent fit, and for the first time in many years, I was working standard working hours. I called up the Hankamer School of Business and asked them if they would accept an old timer like me. Luckily, the answer was yes.

Did anything surprise you about the program?
I was surprised by the level of camaraderie in the program, even though it was online. We had several projects that involved groupwork, and I am still friends with three of those former group members. Everyone is dealing with the same struggle of fitting in late-night reading and studying around work and family obligations, so we really bonded.

What were some of your most valuable takeaways from the program?
My MBA gave me a language for the things I did on a daily basis and helped me understand how the different parts of a business impact each other. For example, I was already comfortable with a P&L sheet coming into the program, but I did not understand it within the context of management principles.

What is a fun fact about you?
I have been to Bernie Sanders’s house, and I know the CEO of Ben & Jerry’s. Burlington, Vermont, is a small place!

Jared Jasper

Jared JasperJared Jasper

Hometown: Dubuque, Iowa

Current Residence: Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Undergraduate degree/institution: Bachelor of Science (Electrical and Electronics Engineering), Iowa State University

Current Position: Senior Electrical Engineer / Project Manager – ITT, Collins Aerospace

What brought you to the OMBA program?
I was tired of being turned down for positions because I did not have an MBA, so I decided to remove that roadblock. I am also interested in starting my own company someday, and I knew that an MBA would be a great start. There are local MBA programs here in Iowa, but I realized that an online program would work better with my learning style. I am very self-driven and have ADHD, so being able to do the classes at my own pace and rewind when necessary has been essential.

What was your most memorable experience in your time in the OMBA program?
It was the gift the staff would send to my house every year. It really made me feel like part of the University and let me know that they were thinking of me. Baylor is a place where people genuinely care about you. Even though I was an online student, faculty and staff members still interact with me in a very personal way, like they just saw me for dinner last night.

What advice would you give to incoming students?
Plan, plan, plan. Sit down and take the time to look through the concentrations and plan out all your courses accordingly. During this process, I realized I only needed two more classes to earn a Marketing and Executive Communications concentration. It was worth extending my program by another seven weeks.

Where are you heading next?
I am currently applying for the Online Master of Computer Science program at Baylor. Eventually, I aim to leverage this education to build a successful company.

How do you like to spend your free time?
I like finding something I have zero knowledge about and learning about it. Recently, I have taken an interest in 3D interactive websites and how to create them using “three j.s,” an application programming interface.

Stacey Dominguez

Stacey DominguezStacey Dominguez

Hometown: Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

Current Residence: Allen, Texas

Undergraduate degree/institution: Bachelor of Arts (Spanish, Education), University of Tulsa

Current Position: Director, Technical Program Management, AT&T

What motivated you to pursue an MBA?
Coming from a liberal arts background, I never had a formal education in business. My company, AT&T, has excellent internal training systems that allowed me to gain the skills I needed to advance, but I was still missing the bigger picture. I was tired of feeling like everyone around me had background knowledge I was missing.

Why Baylor?
My son got his bachelor’s degree from Baylor, and he had a phenomenal experience. I fell in love with the University when I visited. And I had several colleagues who had gone through the online MBA program and said positive things.

How did the program fill in those knowledge gaps?
It was most helpful in providing the foundation I needed to feel confident when colleagues discuss company financials. I also found value in my executive communication concentration. Taking a class that focused on visualizing data was readily applicable to my day-to-day job because I deliver a lot of presentations to the VP level and above. Overall, the program helped to connect the dots between knowledge areas I had already learned on the job.

What was your most memorable experience from your time in the online MBA program?
Last summer, my father passed away of cancer a week after I began a finance class. I thought I could manage the funeral and all the planning, but it ended up being too much. I was exhausted. Even though I had passed the deadline to drop a class, Baylor’s staff let me drop it anyway and credit the tuition toward my next course. What kind of college does that? That really left an impression.

What is your next career move?
Now that I have my MBA, I will be a more competitive candidate for the next promotion. I am hoping to move to the assistant VP level within my company.

How do you like to spend your free time?
2022 is shaping up to be quite the year for my family, starting with the wedding of my older son in January. In May, I will graduate with my MBA, my daughter will graduate from high school, and my younger son will graduate from college. I am looking forward to spending more time with them.

Michael Retzer

Michael RetzerMichael Retzer

Hometown: Easley, South Carolina

Current Residence: Arlington, Texas

Undergraduate degree/institution: Bachelor of Science, (Business Administration), University of South Carolina

Current Position: Director of Sales Operations, WESCO Distribution

When did you start thinking about pursuing an MBA?
For two decades, I was able to climb the ladder at my company and learn what I needed to learn internally. When I became a district manager with 100 reports and P&L responsibility, I started to feel the weight of those expectations. I realized it was time to expand my skillset through an MBA. It happened a little later in my career, but for me, it was the perfect time.

How has that decision paid off?
In performance evaluations and conversations, many of my coworkers have recognized a change in my analytical and problem-solving skills. Like many companies, we are going through a digital transformation and working to implement a new digital data platform. I was recently chosen to be a global process owner on that project. Prior to my time at Baylor, I would not have had the skills or confidence to lead a project like this.

What are some of your future career goals?
As our world becomes more interconnected, I am focused on learning how to penetrate and succeed in new international markets. I am currently developing a strategic plan for expanding into Canada. Fortunately, I was able to explore this expansion for a class project, so it was like killing two birds with one stone.

What advice would you give to incoming students?
Take your time. Do not rush through the program. It is ok to finish it in two years. I took my 12 classes in a row, in the normal time allotted, and I savored the journey. It is easy to get burned out by trying to compress everything, but the program is set up to help you maintain momentum without getting overwhelmed.

What is one thing people may not know about you?
I have spent my entire career, 23 years, with the same company. This is a highly unusual move, nowadays, but it has allowed me to fully understand my industry and build a lasting legacy within my organization.

What's Next

Interested in following in their footsteps? Learn more about the doors that an Online MBA can open by clicking here. If you would like to get in touch with an admissions advisor, fill out the form below.

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