“I saw a whole world I’d like to experience – that’s what drew me to HBS.”

Craig Baker grew up in southeastern Idaho and finds it perfectly fitting that his first career assignment, after completing his undergraduate degree in business and information systems management, took him into the potato field. “Double L manufactured customized potato-farming equipment – built-to-order, high-capacity machines,” Craig says. “The management team I was part of took the company from financial trouble to financial health and growth.”

The experience reawakened a possibility he mulled over while in college. “An HBS degree was not common where I come from,” says Craig. “But I remember asking a professor I respected – who had attended HBS – if it was really worth it. He said if could get in, I should go – that it would be worth many times the cost. As I worked and experienced management problems, I saw gaps in my training, and I felt I had to at least give HBS a shot.”

Opening up a world

Both Craig and his wife, Ashley, “fell in love with what was going on here. I saw a whole world I’d like to experience – that’s what drew me to HBS. I could have spent my lifetime in agribusiness and not be exposed to so many things. Thecase method puts me in the shoes of managers in industries and environments across the globe.”

The case study experience, Craig says, has “made me more aware of the responsibilities I have running a business. It’s been eye-opening to see how difficult it is to make accountable management decisions. What’s the right the thing to do? After all is said and done, when it comes to how you manage employees and treat people, sticking with what your mother told you is often the best route.”

Finding the best route to an internship has been difficult, Craig says, because he had “so many meaningful options.” In the end, he chose one that combined personal passion with fresh professional territory: a strategic business development role with 3M Corporation in Minneapolis. “I love fly fishing,” Craig explains, and 3M owns a few companies prominent in the industry, including one that makes an advanced resin technology for lighter, stronger rods. “It gives me the best of both worlds: an interesting project that involves the outdoors, plus an opportunity to work in a Fortune 500 company.”