Husband and wife complete MBA program together

When graduates from Baker University’s Master of Business Administration program were announced during the May 12 commencement ceremony, Amanda Applegate and her husband, Nathan Applegate, took pride in knowing they earned their degree together.

The couple from Liberty, Mo., started the program in July 2010 at Baker’s Northland campus. Eighteen months later they walked across the Collins Center stage side by side.

“Once she decided it was something she wanted to do I couldn’t imagine her going through the program and not me,” said Nathan, a support analyst at Cerner after working as a store manager at Famous Footwear.

Amanda took the initiative to enroll in the program after talking to a coworker at State Street Bank and Trust in Kansas City, Mo. Nathan became intrigued by the idea and enrolled soon after his wife.

“My colleague would talk about the different classes and the more I heard about it the more I wanted to know about the program,” said Amanda, an operations associate accountant. “The Baker MBA program is the first time we’ve been in school together, so it was a new experience for us.”

Dedicated to traveling from their Liberty home to North Kansas City for their Tuesday-evening class, the Applegates enjoyed collaborating with their classmates on projects.

The Applegates had the option of enrolling in separate cohorts. However, the more they thought about it, the more they wanted to go through the program together.

“That actually helped motivate us,” Nathan said. “We would be able to spin ideas off each other to get another perspective.”

Throughout the class, they learned to capitalize on their own expertise and that of their classmates.

“You had to make sure you focused on your coursework and play to the strengths of others in the class,” Nathan said. “I filled more of a semi-project manager’s role, and Amanda worked more on the creative side.”

Nathaniel is looking forward to applying the skills developed at Baker into his work and future career endeavors.

“There are a lot of growth opportunities at Cerner,” he said. “The MBA program allows me to use the skills learned in the program for my work.”

Like her husband, Amanda believes the coursework provided the foundation for more career opportunities.

“I never saw myself as a manager-type person,” she said. “After the program I gained a confidence to pursue those types of leadership goals.”

The couple’s first child, Brayden Daniel, was born on April 28, three weeks ahead of the due date.

“The program has gone by very fast,” Amanda said. “We were hoping the baby would wait to arrive until after graduation. Now he will be able to celebrate the day with us.”

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