MBA Gives Recent Graduates a Head Start
For Kinley Kyro and Ben Schade, Baylor's Full-Time MBA program was the key to discovering a fulfilling career path early in their professional lives.
Like many Full-Time MBA students at Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business, Kinley Kyro and Ben Schade arrived in Waco in search of something that would capture their imagination and set them on a course to professional success.
Through their first exposure to the world of consulting, they found what they were looking for in less than a year.
Making Things Better
Kinley, a native of Sacramento who studied economics at the University of California, San Diego, considered both medical school and law school before deciding that business school would be a better fit.
“Earning an MBA was always at the back of my mind, but most programs required several years of work experience,” Kinley said. “When I saw that Baylor’s Full-Time MBA program was geared toward early-career professionals who were open to multiple career paths, that really piqued my interest.”
In the first few months of the MBA program, Kinley gravitated toward finance with an eye on an internship in the portfolio management or investment banking space.
Everything changed when she participated in an MBA trip to Costa Rica in the fall of 2022. In the weeks leading up to the trip, she and the other students in her international management course gained practical consulting experience by helping a Costa Rica-based digital media and marketing firm determine where and how to gain better traction in the U.S. They presented their recommendations in person to the owner, who responded positively.
They spent the remainder of their time in Costa Rica meeting with representatives from a range of international companies, including a supermarket chain and a dairy production facility, to learn about these companies’ business models and strategies for growth.
By the time Kinley returned to Waco, the seed of a new idea was beginning to take root. Then, the following spring, her management consulting class paired students with a local business to solve an ongoing problem. She and two classmates worked with the Mayborn Museum Store to tackle the challenge of keeping shelves stocked during its busy season. The recommendations they offered secured more than a 40-percent budget increase for the store for the following year.
“I realized then that consulting was all about making a company, place or process better than you found it,” Kinley said. “I am naturally drawn to solving problems, so the process of working on a team to solve a business problem is incredibly rewarding to me.”
Kinley recently completed an internship in Internal Audit and Enterprise Risk for the consulting arm of KPMG. In this capacity, she worked closely with a company that had recently gone public to evaluate its financial record-keeping and reporting procedures.
“I got a closer look at all the behind-the-scenes work that goes into consulting, which only affirmed my desire to dive deeper into it as a career,” she said. Having impressed her colleagues with her contributions, she is currently negotiating a full-time offer from one of the firm’s Texas offices.
Writing the Instruction Manual
For Ben Schade, it was always a question of when, not if, he would pursue an MBA. After graduating from Gardner-Webb University with a degree in Communication and Media Studies, he spent a year working in college ministry before deciding to enroll in Baylor’s Full-Time MBA program to expand his skill set.
“I was lacking the technical skills to create value in a business, and I knew that an MBA was the fastest way for me to learn them efficiently and effectively,” Ben said.
Unsure of which direction he wanted to take his career, he approached the MBA with the mantra of saying yes to as much as possible. This mindset led him to join the Case Competition team, which he calls the most pivotal decision of his MBA career.
“I found my niche working on a team of people with diverse skills to look at pain points and areas of improvement within a company,” he said. His background in communications helped lead his team to Big XII victory in the spring of 2023, and he began to set his sights on a career in consulting and corporate strategy.
Over the summer, he moved to Atlanta to intern for an internal consulting team at Georgia Pacific, a large wholesale supplier of building products. While he left with a positive impression of the company and his coworkers, the experience changed his mind about pursuing a career in consulting.
“I learned that consulting is like writing the instruction manual for a Lego set,” he said. “Rather than delivering that manual and move on, I want to be the one who builds the set.”
As he approaches his MBA graduation in December, Ben is taking a closer look at Georgia Pacific’s core businesses and exploring opportunities in project management.
“I am finding myself looking at where the company has P&L sheets and how I can see quantitative results from tangible decisions I and my team members make,” he said.
Kinley and Ben decided to forge two different career paths, but they share an appreciation for the foundation they have laid throughout their MBA program.
“I was discussing my MBA experience with a few partners at KPMG, one of whom earned an MBA from Baylor years ago, and he expressed the view that the professionalism and maturity you gain in this program is what sets you apart from other early-career professionals,” Kinley said. “I will soon enter the workforce with confidence in my ability to be upwardly mobile in a short amount of time.”
For both students, the opportunity to earn an MBA in 18 months made the decision even more worthwhile.
“Two- and three-year programs felt too long, but expedited one-year programs felt a bit too intense,” Ben said. “A year and a half allowed me to pace myself. I have found it well worth the opportunity cost to gain a new set of skills, along with a network and a school name that holds weight. You only go for your MBA once—with Baylor, you know it is worth your time and effort.”