There isn’t much Quincy Jenkins can’t tackle.
The former Baylor University football player graduated in December 2016 with a Master of Business Administration degree he earned online. Two months later, he landed a strategist job with Google and was set to become a first-time father.
“My family was really very supportive,” Jenkins said. “They all thought I was going to go back to school much sooner. Most of my friends, however, thought I was nuts to go back to school and work a full-time job — especially considering my wife [Ashley] was pregnant and due any day.”
Still, Jenkins persevered. He attended school online while working full-time in commercial sales with Sherwin-Williams in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.
“I have a brother [Ahmad Jenkins] who went through the on-campus MBA program,” he said. “He spoke very, very highly of it. Of course, I was a little familiar with the program from other friends. It was between Baylor’s program and a program at the University of Texas. It kind of just boiled down to familiarity, and I have a lot of Baylor pride. I couldn’t see myself with that burnt orange degree on the wall. I felt like the Baylor degree would carry a little more weight for what I wanted to do.”
Jenkins was originally planning to become a cardiologist. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Baylor in 2009.
“When I finished my undergrad, my initial plan was to go to grad school and kind of figure out where I wanted to go to work from there,” he said. “That was around the time the economy was tanking. I was lucky to take a job with Sherwin-Williams. As a trainee, I found out I had a knack for people, which translated into sales. In that time, I worked through a number of different roles, most recently leading sales teams.”
With his future goals in mind, Jenkins eventually knew he wanted to build a strong foundation for responsible leadership by equipping himself with all the tools of a business background.
“It was a plan that I wanted to make sure I owned before I got too old and involved in family and everything else extracurricular, so it made sense. And the flexibility of the program is what made the decision easy for me.”
Jenkins played high school football at Trinidad, about 90 miles northeast of Waco. He earned a scholarship to play defensive tackle for the Baylor Bears after walking onto the program as a freshman.
“I’m still the only six-man player to get a scholarship to a Division I university and play all four years,” Jenkins said. “I’m pretty proud of that.”
However, trying to balance the demands of school and football proved to be a difficult assignment.
“Being a biology pre-med major and being on a football scholarship was quite the juggling act,” he said. “Making lab time work 20 minutes after practice ended, getting to the lab for two hours and making film sessions and things of that nature was a very trying, constrained period of my life.”
While Jenkins was finishing the bachelor’s degree program, he had an internship with Baylor Media and served as athletics coordinator for the City of Waco. He landed a job as a store manager for Sherwin-Williams in December 2009.
“When I first started, I thought, ‘Maybe I’ll take a year to work here,” he said. “Then, I’ll go into some sort of science field and see if I catch on with my pre-med pursuits, but the educational path was pretty long, and I never really saw myself working in a lab. I’m a people person. I didn’t really know that about myself.
“Working in a lab environment or a technical environment or something like that … I figured I could make it work. But when you find out you have a hidden talent to do things, you kind of want to explore it more. That’s what Sherwin-Williams brought out of me.”
The professors, whether it was negotiating salary for job opportunities or just general work advice, they’ve all been open throughout the program and since the program.
Back to Baylor
Six years after graduating from Baylor University, Jenkins returned to find a significantly different experience as an online student.
“It was rough at times because 20-30 hours a week wasn’t easy,” he said. “Having the flexibility to make those 20-30 hours a week available at any free moment you have definitely helped.”
Jenkins said the degree program provided him with valuable insight into different areas of the business world.
“The application of some of the case studies and some of the books were really good,” he said. “The online book list is one of the best things, because the relevance of the different ideologies when it comes to different business thought processes really opened my eyes to other people’s perspectives and how to go to market and tailor your skills to meet somebody else’s needs.”
Jenkins said he also got a healthy dose of perspective from the curriculum.
“I really took a lot from the Ethical Leadership [BUS 5421] course,” he said. “Having such a strong sports background, I was of the school of thought that you work through issues and overcome mountains by climbing harder.
“It really helped to temper my leadership style and be a little more empathetic to those who may not work at the same pace as me or come from the same background. I really think it made me a better leader and a better husband. Not everybody is going to respond favorably to those my-way-or-the-highway tactics of leadership.”
Another course Jenkins especially enjoyed was Economics [ECO 5305].
“I like the global nature of the course,” he said. “I liked how the course is tailored to help you understand how the world economy and a lot of the current events all play together in the business world. I really enjoyed that aspect of the course, whether it was the articles or some of the case studies, I felt like the relevance with the global economy and dealing with my current job in sales, I felt like it really made a hazy picture clearer on how markets are often manipulated.”
Onward and Upward
Jenkins said he hadn’t planned on attending his second Baylor graduation ceremony, but he was happy he changed his mind.
“I’m 32 years old, and it just didn’t feel like it was something someone my age would do,” he explained. “I was told by my old football trainer Mike Simms that students don’t walk the stage for themselves — they walk the stage for their parents. I decided I would do that for my loved ones, no matter how uncomfortable I may have thought it would feel. Once I was there, it felt good to be around people. I was probably on the younger side of the online students.”
Jenkins was right about being on the younger side. The average age of online MBA students at Baylor University is 36.
Jenkins also credits the online MBA program with helping him land his new job at Google.
“Going into this, I really didn’t plan on looking for outside opportunities,” he said. “I really wanted to make myself more marketable internally, but for some reason, through the program, I was motivated to go to a job conference in New Orleans in October.
“From there, I was really blessed to meet several companies and get the ball rolling with several job opportunities. It’s something I would suggest for future students. If they post anything or talk to you about going to some of these career opportunities, even if you’re not currently looking, you should attend at least one while you’re pursuing your degree just to see what’s out there.”
Jenkins said all of the things the Hankamer School of Business has to offer set Baylor’s MBA apart.
“I would say understanding that all things that are valuable in your life or are worthwhile are generally difficult,” he said. “Take advantage of the resources the program has for you. The professors, whether it was negotiating salary for job opportunities or just general work advice, they’ve all been open throughout the program and since the program.
“Most of all, be brave and don’t be afraid to dive into the program and learn and stretch yourself. At the end of it, the more you put in, most definitely, the more you’ll get out.”
Learn more about the Baylor online MBA program.
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