Daniel Trejo-Serrano has a knack for being in the right place at the right time. That gift helped him land a job as a statistics and information specialist at ESPN a decade ago.
"I am a huge sports fan," he said. "I have followed sports my whole life. I played baseball for a while. Growing up with my dad, we watched all of the Super Bowls, all of the World Series, all of the NBA Finals, all of the tennis majors and golf majors."
After initially striking out on finding a career-launching job, the Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico, native scored a dream gig in Bristol, Connecticut. Rather, it came looking for him.
"It was an interesting time because the sports media was hitting the Hispanic market pretty heavily," Trejo-Serrano said. "They were specifically targeting schools in Texas, New Mexico and California in order to find people with expertise in those markets. Eventually, I got recruited into coming up to ESPN."
Trejo-Serrano, now a veteran International Assignment Editor for the network, enrolled in the Master of Business Administration online program at Baylor University after a 10-year break from formal education. He is on track to graduate in August 2020.
"It felt like the right time to pursue something like this degree," he said. "My expectation of what I was going to learn compared to what I have already learned has been far surpassed. I feel a lot more in tune with everything that's happening not only in my industry, but in the economy and in the business world."
After Trejo-Serrano did extensive research on online MBA programs, he chose Baylor for several reasons.
"I am very analytical when it comes to making big investments," he said. "Graduate school is a big investment — financially and with your time and personal life.
"Baylor offered the best option in terms of the way the program is scheduled. You have 12 courses, so you essentially get to pick your own schedule, which worked to my advantage."
What's more, he received Baylor's International Fellows Scholarship.
Living the Dream
After Trejo-Serrano started college in Mexico, he moved to the United States and enrolled at the University of Texas at El Paso.
He graduated with a bachelor's degree with a dual major in finance and marketing in 2009 and briefly worked as a freelance journalist for the El Paso Times.
"That was a pretty tough time for the United States economy," he said. "I did a lot of interviews in the areas I majored in during college. I was looking for business, finance and marketing jobs. I also needed a sponsorship visa. There were a lot of hurdles to go over. It didn't work out the way I expected."
Once Trejo-Serrano arrived at ESPN, he never looked back. He was promoted to an editor position after just eight months on the job and has since been in sports fan heaven.
"I was always flirting with earning a master's degree, but it never seemed to be the right moment to go after it," he said. "I switched jobs again and started traveling a lot in 2013.
"Eventually, I settled in and figured it was the right time to go back to school and try to get that graduate degree in order to keep advancing up the corporate ladder."
Trejo-Serrano's impeccable timing has already made an appearance in his return to higher education. While on assignment covering the UEFA Champions League Final in Madrid, Spain, in 2019, Trejo-Serrano saw that another Baylor MBA online student, Nicole Powell, was on business in Sitges, about 45 miles away.
They connected and spent an afternoon working together in person on a group project for MGT 5420: Manufacturing and Service Operations, which helped both of them earn an 'A' in the course. Powell completed the program in August 2019.
"That was one of the most random experiences I’ve had in this MBA program," he said. "It just happened to work out that way. Nicole took a longer trip to meet me than the one I took, and we worked on our final project for a few hours.
"It was a really enjoyable experience because you don't get to meet a lot of people in the online program face to face. Doing that abroad was even cooler."
With a plate that is perpetually full, Trejo-Serrano had to have the flexibility of an online format to be able to add another helping of college.
"I looked into schools around the area, but the requirements all included having to be there two or three nights a week for several hours at a time," he said. "With my schedule, my travel and my responsibilities, it didn't work out. To be able to log in from anywhere is incredible."
Trejo-Serrano has especially enjoyed MKT 5460: Marketing Analysis, MGT 5410: Managing for Higher Performance and MIS 5450: Managing Information Technology in the Business Enterprise.
"With every single course I have taken, I have immediately gotten takeaways that I have been able to apply to my position," he said. "That's been the most valuable thing I have gotten out of the program, so far."
Trejo-Serrano says he already owes his wife, Marissa, a huge debt of gratitude for her help with facilitating his online graduate degree.
"All credit to my wife, who has been incredibly supportive," he said. "Half of this degree should go to her. We got married in 2016, and she has been my No. 1 fan and my biggest supporter throughout this process."
After reading about Rusty Sloane, a 2017 Baylor online MBA graduate, Trejo-Serrano said he knew what to expect out of the program.
"He explained how it's a commitment from your whole family and not just you," Trejo-Serrano said. "That really stuck with me.
"At the beginning, from the outside looking in, you don't really know what he means by that, but I have gone on multiple vacations with my whole family where I said, 'Hey, I have to get away for a few hours. I have to study. I've got a test. I have to do a project.' It is a commitment. In the end, you are going to get out of it what you put in."
Once Trejo-Serrano completes the online MBA program, he'll make the time to travel from his home in Southington, Connecticut, to Waco to walk in the commencement ceremony and put a green and gold exclamation point on his accomplishment.
"A lot of online programs treat their students like second-class citizens," he said. "Baylor is not one of them. Baylor treats you like a regular student. You get the same advantages and the same benefits as everybody else on campus. There are a lot of people there looking out to support you."
Learn more about the Baylor online MBA program.
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