Brittany Wetmore, a recent MBA/MSW alumna, shares a little bit about how she has grown to embrace the challenge of speaking up and how she has found her voice in the program through the support of classmates and professors.
Coming into a new graduate program can be challenging. Coming into a business program without business experience and as a minority can be even more challenging. While the percentages fluctuate from year to year, the Baylor MBA Program was about 60 percent male and 40 percent female when I started. While this is a step up compared to other programs, having a smaller representation can always be a little intimidating.
Anyone who knows me outside of class would be surprised to know that I rarely, if ever, talk inside the classroom. In fact, this might would come as a real shock to learn that I’m so quiet in a classroom setting. But, something about the classroom has traditionally inhibited my ability to share my thoughts, opinions, feelings, and coherent sentences out loud. It is almost as if by crossing the threshold my voice box empties entirely and my words run dry. As soon as I step outside of the classroom, though, I have no problem articulating opinions, thoughts, or feelings. I could talk for hours.
So, you’re probably wondering why you are reading about some girl who doesn’t know how to speak up in groups or in a classroom. Well, I started Baylor’s Full-Time MBA program assuming that I would be able to skirt by with my usual one comment per semester routine, but I was soon met with a reality check when I received my syllabus from Dr. Carlson in Organizational Behavior. The syllabus had the dreaded section “Classroom Contribution” and the words that followed set off the panic alarms in my head. Not only would this count for 10% of my final grade, but we only received 50% of our Contribution from actually being in class. The other 50% came from the actual contributions. You know… the ones you say out loud. A classroom introvert had to speak daily in class in order to receive a good grade.
At first, this seemed like an insurmountable challenge that I would have to face daily, but it soon came with ease as I found my voice through encouragement from professors and my peers. They provided a space of trust and made me feel comfortable to the extent that I could share even in those large groups. You see, one of the main reasons I was always hesitant to share my thoughts was because I thought they didn’t seem important, they weren’t relevant or someone else could say them better. But I learned that my thoughts–even when they weren’t exclusively my own–were my own and worthy of sharing. Even if someone else had the same idea, that just meant we were in agreement, but the likelihood of everyone always being a step ahead of me was very small. So, I came to realize that it was highly likely that someone would benefit from me speaking up and they may even be encouraged to do the same.
What I learned is that if we keep our thoughts to ourselves, no one benefits from them. It’s the unique perspective that we bring that allows for dynamic classroom engagement and learning environment.
This may be a small story of one person’s experience, but I can say with certainty that I now to speak up as part of a group or in the classroom (okay, not counting presentation jitters) and that the words “Classroom Contribution” no longer set off the panic bells. Through the experiences in this program, I have gained a support system that will travel with me wherever I go in the future. While pursuing an MBA made me nervous at first, I find that I am leaving with a new confidence that I did not even think possible. I am so thankful for this experience and the opportunity to be a Triple Baylor Bear! Sic’Em!
About Brittany Wetmore
Brittany currently serves as a Special Projects Coordinator at Dallas ISD. Brittany earned both her BSW and MSW from Baylor’s Diana R. Garland School of Social Work as well as her MBA from Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business.
About Baylor’s MBA Programs
Baylor’s MBA Programs are designed strategically for professionals looking to take their careers to the next level in leadership. Rigorous MBA classes taught by dedicated faculty and industry experts offer both theoretical knowledge and the practical skills required to succeed in modern global business. Wherever you are in your career today, Baylor has an MBA program to fit your lifestyle and move you toward your professional goals: Full-Time MBA, Executive MBA in Dallas, and an Online MBA.
Prospective candidates can learn more about all Baylor MBA programs by visiting the Baylor MBA website: https://www.baylor.edu/business/mba/.