In the first class of his Master of Business in Administration program, Jason Flory was asked to share his definition of leadership. What he wrote was a broad, two-sentence statement about capability and objectives. But when asked at the end of his program whether his definition had changed, he found that his understanding and appreciation of the concept was much deeper than he could have imagined.

“Leaders are passionate, influential, innovative, visionary, personable, and caring and have an incredible ability to talk to people at all levels,” Flory said. “This experience has shed new light on my personal goals and the challenges faced with one day becoming someone who others can call their leader.”

It wasn’t a requirement to turn in a final definition of leadership before commencement on December 17, but in his words, he just doesn’t quit. His instructor, Interim Dean of Baker University School of Professional and Graduate Studies Emily Ford, said the final definition was a suggestion, and she was surprised by Flory’s response. Ford said Flory’s commitment to success was evident in his dedication to the program. In her view, he went above and beyond what it takes to be successful, and he helped her grow as an instructor.

Flory said he had been looking forward to writing his response since his first course in 2016. When he set out to get his master’s degree, he was committed to success—and this was the last step in completing that goal.

“I tucked that assignment away,” Flory said. “It was always in the back of my mind as the last piece to this journey. I think finishing that promise was a big testament to the drive and commitment I have. This journey wasn’t always easy—it was certainly a struggle at times—but I persevered and succeeded.”

Flory works at the Office of the State Bank Commissioner of Kansas as a principal examiner, which offers tuition reimbursement for qualifying students. As a full-time employee and a father of two, this partnership between his company and Baker University’s online program gave him the chance to grow on his own time, in his own way.

Flory says he owes a lot of his success to his wife. She pursued her graduate degree years ago and understood the dedication it takes to earn a degree while working and parenting. For Flory, her support, and the program’s online flexibility, allowed him to succeed in his endeavors, while balancing his family and his career.

“For the most part, you have the luxury to work at your own pace and on your own schedule,” Flory said. “With it being an accelerated program, you definitely have to be disciplined, self-motivated, and organized because it moves at a quick pace.”

The journey to the end, Flory said, was somewhat bumpy, but he ended it with a 4.0 GPA, a commitment to further success, and the tools and skills he needs to get himself there.

Baker’s MBA program has shed new light on Flory’s personal goals and the challenges that leaders face in the ever-changing world of administration and management. After graduation, he hopes to work for an individual or organization that gives him the opportunity to continue learning and growing as a leader.

“The program does a great job of exposing you to a little bit in each area of leadership success to help you understand what you need to be a better leader,” Flory said. “I am grateful for the opportunity I had earning my MBA through Baker. I was exposed to so many new ideas and concepts and overall enjoyed the experience.”

The Winter Commencement Ceremony for graduates earning master’s and doctoral degrees will be held at 4 p.m., December 17 in the Collins Center in Baldwin City, Kansas.

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