Baylor EMBA, 2021
Head of First and Middle Mile Customer Engagement, Amazon
"Engineering a Path from the Navy to Amazon"
As a young teenager, Ryan Kuithe told his mom that he would earn an MBA one day. However, his path to that degree has been more complex than the conventional route.
Kuithe had always been fascinated by mathematics and engineering, with a deep passion for service as well. This led him to enlist in the United States Navy after graduating high school. Kuithe was part of the Naval Nuclear program and worked to develop his leadership and engineering abilities (including completing his undergrad degree while active duty) through eight years serving in the Navy.
At this point, Kuithe realized that “leading teams was what [he was] truly passionate about” and leveraged his military experience into a civilian career at Amazon. He began at Amazon as a front-line manager in the Reliability, Maintenance & Engineering (RME) field.
Exponential Leadership Growth
Kuithe’s desire to continue his growth in leadership was a key element of his choice to pursue an Executive MBA several years into his time at Amazon. Kuithe said, “Prior to beginning the program, my entire breadth of experience was centered around engineering leadership. Aside from a few leadership courses and basic on the job training, I was not really exposed to accounting, finance, negotiation or HR theories. Obtaining this MBA has widened my viewpoint and allow[ed] me to be a more holistic contributor and leader as the “bigger picture” is clearer.”
""No matter the industry, becoming a better leader requires a broad skillset, said Kuithe. “One of my favorite phrases (and I have a lot of them) is, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” The EMBA helped expose what I didn’t know, allowing me to dive deeper into those subjects.”
Kuithe was also quick to point to how specific EMBA courses made an immediate impact on his workplace performance. He shared: “After taking the negotiations class, I learned the value of understanding the interest of the other group(s) and finding ways to mutually benefit everyone involved. It helped tilt my mindset from attempting to “win” every conversation with stakeholders from other teams.” Additionally, Kuithe “was able to use finance terms and calculations the week after discussing the concept in class to prove out ROI on a project I was leading across our delivery station network.”
Veterans at Baylor
Fellow veterans can certainly relate to the fast-paced tempo of completing an EMBA while working full-time, Kuithe laughed. That said, he also noted: “One of the major reasons I decided to transition out of the Navy [after eight years of service] was the amount of time I was constantly away from my young family. The Baylor EMBA offered a program that best fit my desired lifestyle.” Kuithe was able to have a robust, cohort-driven and in-person experience, while still prioritizing time with his family. As he put it, “while the one class weekend per month sure is packed full, it was half the on-site commitment of other [in-person] programs I researched.”
Kuithe also had advice for fellow veterans who are considering an advanced degree. He suggested that prospective students “dig into why you want to pursue the EMBA” and map out how this commitment will benefit you and your career. Keep that in mind when looking for a program that best fits your needs, and once you enroll, as a reminder when things get tough.
“Find out what is right for you, and keep on pushing until you accomplish those goals,” said Kuithe. He recommended reaching out for more information, researching the benefits available to veterans at Baylor, or sitting in on a class to “get the ball rolling.”
Are you a veteran wondering if an Executive MBA program could help you become a leader at the highest level? Reach out for a one-on-one consultation with our admissions advisers. Complete the form below, and our team will contact you directly.