The Hankamer School of Business MBA: What You Need To Know
Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business curriculum is a full-time, 16 or 21-month commitment, specifically designed so students may attain their MBA degree at an accelerated pace. Included in the program are an intrinsic ethical focus, an unexpected vibrant entrepreneurial community with a public service Prisoner Entrepreneurship Program, and a renowned Healthcare Administration specialization ranked 16th in the nation
The program involves an integrated curriculum incorporating general management theory, multidisciplinary applications, personal development, and practical management skills. Students who are new to business education start Baylor’s MBA program by taking an Integrated Management Seminar to prepare them for graduate-level business courses.
The degree consists of 35 credit hours of core, 15 credit hours of electives and 3 credit hours for an internship. The three-semester core curriculum focuses on “Define, Discover and Deliver” – each semester is designed around one of these key themes.
According to Laurie Wilson, director of Baylor’s graduate business program, Hankamer looks for applicants with self-awareness and an idea as to where they are heading in their careers.
“We look for passionate and motivated students who are very intentional about what the want to study and how the MBA program will benefit them and move them forward in their careers,” Wilson said. “The best applicant will come in with a plan and know why the MBA is going to benefit them, how Baylor will help them with their career goals – it’s all about demonstrating in the interview that they understand their own path well.”
AN ENTREPRENEURIAL COMMUNITY IN WACO, TEXAS, WITH A WEST COAST PULSE
The Baylor entrepreneurship community is larger and more active than one might expect from an MBA program located in the city of Waco, Texas. The program for entrepreneurship is dedicated to the multifaceted teaching and active practice of new venture creation with an array of opportunities for young entrepreneurs.
“We approach entrepreneurship on multiple fronts. There are young students (at Baylor) seeking an MBA that are really early in their careers and aren’t necessarily going to have their own businesses at this point,” Wilson said. “We offer classes on innovation, utilizing entrepreneurial skills, understanding how venture capital works, and others.”
LIVING AND LEARNING IN BAYLOR’S ENTREPRENEURIAL COMMUNITY
The living and learning programs within the entrepreneurship program are keynote features for students. Hankamer features an Entrepreneurship Living-Learning Center where students live in a housing complex complete with academic support for entrepreneurially geared students from various fields of study. The living community is something one would expect to find in a Silicon Valley start-up think tank living situation.
In the realm of venture creation, Baylor offers the Baylor Angel Network which is an investor network intended to provide early stages of capital to entrepreneurs who have developed start-up oriented business plans at Baylor.
The crown jewel of the entrepreneurial community at Hankamer is the John F. Baugh Center for Entrepreneurship & Free Enterprise. The center’s primary goal is to serve as means of outreach and support to the local, national and global business community so as to facilitate new entrepreneurial opportunities for students. Various programs, research, and publications come out of the center’s efforts, and in addition, the center leads initiatives that enhance the academic, business, networking and leadership abilities of Baylor students, specifically those working in startups.
WILSON: EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING IS CRITICAL TO THE SUCCESS OF ANY MBA PROGRAM
As is the case with many MBA programs, Hankamer seeks to apply to their students not just an array of case studies and simulations, but also an opportunity to solve problems in the real world of business. At the start of the semester, students have the opportunity to participate in the Focus Firm program, which gives students actual company experience worthy of any resume.
The company features as the “focus firm” change year to year, and have recently included such names as: 3M, AT&T, Darden Restaurants, Dell, Dish Network, Microsoft, Patagonia, Wal-Mart, and others. Students spent 10 weeks of their semester researching company-mandated projects, developing team responses, and recommending viable project perspectives.
“Experiential learning is critical to the success of any MBA program, including Baylor’s. We have projects that we get from partnering companies that invest in Baylor students so that they have the opportunity to study a real problem and solve it.”
A BUILT-IN ETHICAL FOCUS PARTNERED AIMED TOWARDS PRINCIPLED LEADERSHIP
Baylor features as a main aspect of their identity an “Ethical Focus”, which aims to teach students the possible ethical consequences of various business decisions. The focus on ethics at Baylor is perhaps a consequence of a lack of ethics recently in the business world.
“You can pick up the Wall Street Journal on any given day and find some company that has a problem with acting ethically in business. Our professors take examples like this and integrate it into their curriculum, prompting students to think about what is ethical in their field.” Wilson said.
According to Wilson, however, the ethical focus is not a recent addition to the program in response to a lack of ethics in the business world, but rather an integral part of Baylor’s character ever since its founding.
“The Ethical Focus is ingrained in who we are. We don’t have a class on ethics, but we really do look at each discipline and intentionally bring up ethical dilemmas that might arise in that given discipline,” Wilson said. “Our ethical focus is not a response to anything in current events – it’s always been who we are!”
The ethical focus at Baylor is multi-faceted. There is no class specifically on ethical business decisions; instead, the focus on ethics is integrated class to class in more specific contexts. In a finance class, it can be about what makes shareholders happy in regards to ethics. In an organizational behavior class, it can be about how ethical choices affect employees and their moral – questions like, how do ethical choices affect worker morale, come up in these contexts.
“These are the types of ethical choices we want our students to be capable of making,” Wilson said.
PUBLIC SERVICE AT BAYLOR’S HSB – THE PRISONER ENTREPRENEURSHIP COMMUNITY
To the same tune as the ethical focus at Baylor, the program also features another keynote program in public service – the Prisoner Entrepreneurship Program (PEP). Baylor students volunteer their business knowledge in this prison outreach effort in an effort to teach inmates the skills needed to run a business upon their release from prison.
“The program aims to get prisoners who are at the end of their terms and help to show that they are ready to return to the private sector and be productive members of society,” Wilson said. “Many of them don’t leave prison with an adequate set of tools, so we give them an opportunity to go through a course, write a business plan, write a resume, and build confidence in themselves along the way.”
The program boasts an employment rate exceeding 93% and a recidivism rate of less than 5%. Although the program has the benefit of being highly selective in who is admitted from the prison population, which may enhance the numbers, the positive impact is nonetheless indisputable.
AN ELITE SPECIALIZATION IN THE SIZABLE HEALTHCARE ADMINISTRATION BUSINESS
Lastly, Baylor is perhaps most well known for its Robbins MBA Healthcare Program. The specialization within Baylor’s MBA program is a portion of the Robbins Institute for Health Policy and Leadership and ranked No. 17 in the U.S News & World Report 2016 graduate school rankings of healthcare management programs.
“It’s a very narrow industry and not many programs offer the specialization. It’s a dynamic industry that occupies a rather large portion of our national GDP. I think we are making an impact in this particular area as a result of the education students get here and the specialized coursework students take here.” Wilson said.
Unlike many similar programs, the Robbins Healthcare Program requires a seven-month paid executive residency with one of several leading progressive health organizations. The residency placement at Baylor is an impressive 100%. Interestingly enough, and undoubtedly worth noting, the program’s mission statement states that the aim of the program is to promote academic excellence, stimulate intellectual activity and to encourage “community excellence in a Christian environment.”
The Baylor HSB Alumni Network is expansive given its relatively small annual student body size. An especially notable item in the HSB’s arsenal in regards to alumni relations is a weekly two-minute podcast on current business events involving alumni and current students. The Baylor Business Review Magazine and other news pieces also adorn the alumni network’s publications section.
In addition to its informational pieces, the Baylor HSB alumni network also aids those seeking to further their careers by network. The Baylor Business Network allows students to attend networking events in their home city.
“We have Baylor Business Network and then we have chapters throughout the state in all the major cities so that alumni can organize themselves with a little assistance from the university, however they mostly are autonomous. Our MBA students are able to participate in the networking events with the alumni community, even without being alumni themselves.”