Kaile Brant (left) with her mother, Wendy Brant

All in the Family:
Mother and Daughter Walk Together at WSU Commencement

By Mia Gleason

When Wendy Brant graduated from WSU in May 2019 with her Executive MBA (EMBA), she was not only celebrating her educational milestone, but also that of her daughter, Kaile.

Commencement truly held a special meaning for the Brant family as both Wendy and Kaile walked across the stage in the same ceremony, at Kaile’s request.

“A large group of family members and friends came to share in our special day,” Wendy says, “and being able to walk in the same ceremony made it easier and really special because we could all spend more time with one another.”

Kaile decided to walk at her mother’s ceremony time, as she was scheduled for a later ceremony to receive her bachelor’s in biology.

“While I didn’t get to graduate with anyone from my classes or see my professors in the ceremony, I had my biggest cheerleader at graduation,” Kaile says. “As I walked in with the Carson College of Business undergraduates, I saw my mom already seated in the second row. When they asked for Coug parents to stand, she was the only one standing among the graduates. I stood up from a few rows back and screamed ‘Go mom!’ By far the best part of graduating in the same ceremony was finding her after graduation and saying, ‘We did it!’”

The Executive MBA value

With an extreme desire to branch out beyond human resources management and an eagerness to demonstrate she could excel beyond her title scope, Wendy said she wanted to add value to her organization by improving her breadth of knowledge through education. She attended a webinar for WSU’s online EMBA program and was drawn in.

“I knew I needed a credible online program that I could manage while working beyond full-time in the evenings,” Brant says.

The WSU EMBA program is among only two percent of AACSB-accredited schools nationwide. The program, which is offered in a 100 percent online format, provides flexibility for students to graduate in as few as 18 months.

Brant liked the EMBA requirement of having five years of leadership experience and found her cohort’s variety of expertise especially valuable.

“WSU allowed me to gain an advanced professional degree without excessive commuting or weekend-only programming while I had a middle school student still at home,” Brant says.

Executive MBA program leadership experience

While the EMBA program strives to provide top-tier leadership and development experiences for students, there is value outside of the online classroom that adds to students’ professional growth. Each fall the EMBA program hosts a leadership conference to convene current students, program alumni, and incoming students. The conference is one of few face-to-face opportunities for EMBA students.

“The conference allowed us to share our course experiences and connect with real people without the aid of technology,” Brant says. “The conference solidified relationships and put real faces to names and voices. Having a variety of teaching, learning, and project experience was beneficial to the entire cohort, as we each learn differently,” she says.

Meaningful experiences beyond graduation

Brant looks back on her EMBA program and is thankful for the opportunities it has provided her personally and professionally.

“I really enjoyed the program and worked hard to meet requirements,” Brant says. “The WSU support staff were all helpful and responsive in supporting the students and the program. The cohort of students added great value to the program, and I am sure I will continue to stay in contact with several of my classmates.”