Baylor EMBA, 2017
Head of Strategy & Business Operations, Meta (formerly Facebook)
“From Army Officer to Technology Strategist with a Baylor EMBA”
Meet Keith Allan, former Army Captain, current strategy and operations expert for Meta, and also a Baylor EMBA alum. He has a unique background and career trajectory, punctuated by his time in the Dallas-based Executive MBA program.
Allan attended Georgetown University while pursuing his undergraduate degree and was also a student athlete. After graduation he commissioned as a second lieutenant. His first assignment was in an Infantry reconnaissance and surveillance unit where he supported the US Intelligence Community, and then through those relationships was recruited to become a Special Agent with the FBI.
After some time in government service, Allan was offered the opportunity to work at Ernst & Young and relocate to Dallas, where he decided to simultaneously pursue an MBA. Allan spent the next several years in management consulting at both EY and another boutique firm before being recruited to his current role in strategy and operations at Meta.
The EMBA Transition
So, having moved out of the military and landed the job at EY, why an MBA? Allan said: “Having transitioned to a civilian career, it was critical for me to be able to compete with my peers both technically and tactically and earning an MBA was part of my solution for doing so. I wanted to ensure I was giving myself the opportunity to succeed in business and I felt the curriculum would help me to achieve that level of success.”
The desire for an MBA to round out an already-impressive career is a common motivator among Baylor’s talented Executive MBA students. Allan said it well, noting, “as I continue to grow in my professional career, the education received from the MBA program has served as a solid academic foundation for more mature and challenging roles. I firmly believe it helped me accelerate my career and I’m thankful for that.”
The EMBA Return on Investment in Technology
Allan pointed out that the education he derived from the Baylor EMBA program and his “ability to operate on a higher level” have been the biggest value add in his personal situation. He continued, “I suspect the opportunities that I currently have and those that I had immediately following the program wouldn’t have been afforded to me without the degree.”
Allan is also mindful of the unique positioning of business in the technology industry through his work with Meta. He said that there is “often a gap between products and services and how those relate to a business. Not every new technology or innovative product is a viable business or part of one from the start. Core business personnel and functions are critical to helping technology companies mature into a profitable and sustainable business.”
There are other core competencies that the EMBA experience can help students gain. Allan listed “being able to break down complex problems, create innovative or more efficient solutions and then being able to communicate the changes at large has proven to be a great lesson from several of the courses within the curriculum. Overall, the program helped mature the way I approached business [and] people.”
Allan also shared some of his favorite courses, topics, and faculty interactions from his time in the Dallas EMBA program. He said, “negotiation and seeking mutual gain along with strategy have been courses and lessons I fondly revisit.” He also enjoyed working with Gary Carini and said that his Global Strategy course has “proven to be perhaps the most valuable given where my career has taken me”. Allan also noted that Dr. Carini’s “insistence on driving deeper and being more critical of the information at our disposal have proven to be great lessons. I am often the first in the room to ask “Why?” and I continually look to challenge the status quo.”
Why a Baylor EMBA as a Veteran?
Why did Allan choose Baylor and the Dallas EMBA program, especially as a veteran? He said that there were a few factors that he considered when choosing an MBA program, with the first being a Dallas-based program. Next, “was my desire to be part of a cohort. I wanted consistency from my classmates along with accountability and reliability for the duration of the program.”
Allan was also looking for a great institutional reputation and academic curriculum, and still feels that Baylor “exceeded those expectations”. He said that the “icing on the cake” was the “student veteran community at Baylor and how Baylor as an institution supports its veterans. I absolutely recommend the program and would certainly recommend it for veterans looking for an inclusive environment.”
In general, when speaking about the EMBA program, Allan reiterated: “You won’t regret the class time, homework, projects, presentations, late nights or study groups. Your time will be well spent, and you will experience the journey and education of a lifetime with classmates that will become lifelong friends. The program is more than worth it.”
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