Online student follows passion, earns MBA from Baker

Online student follows passion, earns MBA from Baker


Dec. 9, 2014
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Baldwin City, Kan. — A lifelong learner, Leigh Yates has enjoyed developing various skills and taking risks throughout her professional career. On Sunday, Yates will be one of 140 graduates honored at the Collins Center with a Master of Business Administration degree.

Yates completed her coursework — 43 credit hours all online — in less than two years. In October, she finished her final class, strategic planning for competitive organizations. She lived in Kansas City, Mo., during the first half of the program before moving to Minneapolis, Minn.

"My motivation to complete my MBA was realizing that I needed this degree to take my profession to the next level," said Yates, president and CEO of her own company, Risky Business Consulting. "I realized that I had a strong passion for much of the core subject material. What I learned about myself is that I love to write. Because of my profession, I have many work experiences, as well as life experiences, which have served me well in this MBA program. Of course, organization was also the key to my success."

She enrolled in Baker's MBA program, which has the highest enrollment in the Kansas City area, after visiting a student who had recently earned an MBA at Baker.

"My contact raved about Baker, its reputation, as well as its awesome professors," Yates said. "She indicated that it was a tough program, but worth the hard work."

During the program, Yates particularly enjoyed courses focusing on ethics and leadership.

"I use them daily in my profession," said Yates "I like these ethics and leadership courses because they are tough. They don't have right or wrong answers. They both require thinking and analyzing. They both require good listening skills. Teaching, coaching, mentoring and learning are what my journey has been about for the past 20 years or so."

As the leader of a company, Yates has been known to enhance her academic and professional credentials.

"One of my highlights is to have worked with general counsel at a large hospital, managing litigation, patient complaints, trials, mediations and arbitrations," Yates said. "I had the opportunity to represent multiple individuals and be their voice. My passion is communication. Being the voice of those that have no voice, as well as being the voice of the underrepresented population is definitely my niche and forte."

A lifelong learner, Yates has earned two academic degrees, completed independent coursework and became a Certified Professional in Healthcare Risk Management.

"I love learning, and I love school," said Yates, who is considering working on a Ph.D. "I think that continuous learning and self improvement is essential for success. Knowledge is power."

Yates set up Risky Business as a shell company with the hope of developing the company after obtaining her MBA. With her extensive background in risk management, she recently trademarked the "Queen of Risk" phrase and created the Twitter handle of @queenofrisk.

"The field of risk is broad enough to challenge me in a multifaceted way," she noted. "At the end of my MBA program, our courses in business, branding, marketing and global enterprise stimulated the creative idea to trademark."

Yates is looking forward to 2015 as an MBA graduate from Baker. As a freelance consultant, her clients include physicians, nurses, insurance brokers, clinics and hospitals. She advises them on crisis management, litigation management, insurance management, patient complaints, patient safety topics and risk management.

"I plan to continue to build my enterprise and my brand," she explained. "I am seeking an executive-type role, where I can incorporate my knowledge and expertise in a more grandiose fashion. I also plan on broadening my work in representing the "people."

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