A More Reflective Leader in the Making

Although Kamaj Bailey traveled halfway across the United States to join the Full-time UST MBA program in fall 2012, her geographic relocation has been the least transformative aspect of her MBA experience.

Bailey hails from New York City, and with several years of pre-MBA work experience in accounting, was no stranger to the analytical, “left-brained” side of the business-world.  She worked for AIG during the financial meltdown and became accustomed to adapting to stress, rigor and taking on new responsibilities at a moment’s notice. In other words, Bailey felt prepared for the academic rigor of an MBA program, and expected such a program to refine her skills, demand hard work and serve as a launching pad to achieve her long-term career goal of building financial literacy programs in underserved communities. What Bailey did not anticipate was the transformational impact of the more “right-brained” aspects of the Full-time UST MBA program – the cohort structure, experiential learning and self-reflection, and Outreach Scholar community –  on her success as a student and professional.

Being a Twin Cities transplant from a bustling east coast environment, having both financial support through the Outreach Scholarship and an immediate connection with fellow classmates through small class size were important for Bailey to make the move from the Big Apple to the Land of 10,000 Lakes.  Looking back over the past 16 months, Bailey noted that the Outreach community has certainly lived up to expectations and consistently provided her with a family, support… and even a reality check when needed!

Full-time UST MBA classes such as the leadership lab and organizational behavior emphasize self-reflection and self-awareness.  Other experiential and skill building classes such as the communications lab gave Bailey the confidence and tools to understand her areas of strength and weakness in giving presentations and relating to others and, in turn, showed her what to look for in colleagues to build a strong and balanced team.  Bailey’s lessons in this realm are easily measured by the accolades and success of her Chrysler Case Competition team’s third place finish at the National Black MBA Association convention in September. As Bailey noted, these activities combined with the cohort nature of the program allow the student community to think in a critical manner and be able to “learn when it’s you vs. an external factor” and identify a different approach, seek assistance, or use a new framework to best solve a problem.

Bailey is certainly well-poised to achieve her career goals and has aptly focused her elective studies on finance and human resources, blending her left-brained, analytical side with a right-brained emphasis on valuing individuals via human capital.  This dual approach was one she may not have considered or even had the opportunity to pursue if the Outreach Scholarship was not available and the Full-time UST MBA curriculum not inclusive of examining the human aspects of business.  “You can have a perfect model,” she says, “but it is imperfect if it does not work with the people involved.”  Spoken insightfully from the transformed, to a soon-to-be transformer… of the business world, the financial industry and her community.

Susan Thoma is an assistant director of admissions for the Full-time UST MBA program. Learn more about the Full-time UST MBA full-tuition Outreach Scholarship.