MBA graduates combine talents to form consulting firm
Four ambitious students met in a Baker University’s bachelor’s degree program before being inspired to enroll together in pursuit of a Master of Business Administration degree and develop their unique talents to launch a business.
“We were not going on without each other and we were not going to break up the band,” said Bryan Tate, who partnered with David Stanley, Steve Scearce and Josh Robinson to create their own company. All four received their MBAs from Baker in 2009. Skills in technology, graphic design and accounting formed the basis for Sazerac, a consulting firm based in the Kansas City area.
Tate, who has three academic degrees from Baker, realized early that the university could empower the four entrepreneurs. “Baker University has a presence in the market place,” Tate said. “Baker means something in the community, not only in Kansas City but throughout the state. It is obvious that quality is an initiative. Baker has a commitment to be there for their students. You have to learn to communicate one-on-one, stand in front of groups and stand in front of people in high-ranking positions. There are real-world people teaching. I wanted to be here, learning from people walking the pavement working every day.”
Working together appealed to the group and served as a model for their business. Their communication skills, especially when interacting with clients, and building concepts were developed at Baker. “The corporate world leans so much on the concept of teamwork,” Scearce said. “It was unique to go through the undergraduate program and then all decide to work on a master’s as a team we could rely on. We received a lot of guidance we could apply to the real world and that has been enormously helpful.”
Comfortable around the faculty, the entrepreneurs approached a professor about their business plans and challenges. “The faculty is so gracious and so giving of their time,” Scearce said. “They were uniquely vested in our interests and success. That was an enormous benefit.”
Dan Falvey, chair of Baker’s business and management program at the School of Professional and Graduate Studies, takes pride in helping students such as the students who created Sazerac. “Our faculty are folks who close the books at a major company during the day, then come teach accounting at Baker in the evening,” Falvey said. “We have faculty who are human resources directors handling all kinds of issues and they share those experience with students.”
Dynamic dialogue among students also enhances the experience. “It is easy to facilitate discussion with 20 working adults,” Falvey said. “The class comes to life in study groups.”