Enrique Baker—Evolution and Entrepreneurship

Enrique Baker—Evolution and Entrepreneurship

MUM student Enrique Baker


Working at the Eli Whitney Museum as a teenager


With fellow students at MUM


Interviewing Kathryn Frazier at the ChangeMakers 2019 June event (photo by Werner Elmker)

MUM student Enrique Baker has been on track to become an entrepreneur since age 13. He apprenticed as a camp counselor at the Eli Whitney Museum in New Haven, Connecticut, and later in high school he worked as the manager of the school store. While attending college in Connecticut, he completed several internships, held different jobs, and joined organizations.

But in 2014 Enrique was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, fell into a depression, gained weight, and wasn’t able to continue college. His doctors told him to rethink his dreams and his future. Fortunately, Enrique’s father came across Dr. Norman E. Rosenthal’s book Transcendence and, after listening to the audiobook, Enrique learned the Transcendental Meditation® technique.

“Practicing TM has helped me greatly in managing my mental health condition,” said Enrique. He was able to cut down on his medications, improved his lifestyle, lost weight, and returned to school. Inspired by his experience with the TM® technique and by the stories of MUM he heard from his TM instructor Richard Dalby, he enrolled at MUM in February 2019.

“What I like about MUM is that there is a mindset for progress and evolution,” he said. Enrique is pursuing an individualized major focusing on entrepreneurship. He is exploring a variety of disciplines, including Maharishi Vedic ScienceSM, physiology and health, and media, so when the time comes he can assemble a team of specialists for his own business.

He is also honing his entrepreneurial skills by being involved with MUM Student Government. As president of the Food Committee, he is dedicated to improving service through changes such as upgrading food labeling and having spices available in the dining hall. “I wanted to devote myself to something,” he said. “You have to be part of a community. I learned that by being part of a support group in Connecticut for my depression.”

Enrique also volunteered to be a student organizer and host during the last ChangeMakers event in June, where he interviewed one of the main speakers, Kathryn Frazier. Enrique likes to encourage students to be part of student organizations so that they can cultivate community and practice communication and leadership skills.

Diane Marie St. Ange Treasures International Online MBA Class

Diane Marie St. Ange Treasures International Online MBA Class

MBA student Diane Marie St. Ange


Meeting President John Hagelin at MUM

With daughter Lacey

Diane Marie St. Ange has worked in medical administration for 20 years and now is a medical coder at a large insurance company in Louisville, Kentucky. She is also pursuing an MBA degree online via MUM Distance Education.

Diane is a seasoned online student. She earned her undergraduate degree in communications and business online from Southern New Hampshire University. Diane has also been interested in yoga and meditation, and in 2016 she read about the Transcendental Meditation® technique. She became intrigued, did some research, and a few weeks later learned the TM® technique at her local Transcendental Meditation Center. Soon she had two of her three children also learn the TM technique.

“TM is amazing,” she said. “It makes life so much easier. I am watching myself get healthier as I practice.” Diane is a single mother who works full time and maintains a straight A average. She even had the time to complete a 200-hour yoga teacher certification last year while doing the MBA program.

Diane started MUM’s online MBA program a year ago and was excited to participate in Consciousness-BasedSM education and study principles of Maharishi Vedic ScienceSM incorporated in the business curriculum.

She also enjoys being part of a live class three times a week, when she and her fellow online students join the on-campus MBA class via web conferencing. “I think it’s important to be able to engage with professors, especially at an MBA level,” she said. “This is missing from most MBA programs I have researched.”

Diane appreciates the exposure to international students and faculty at MUM. Whenever she can, she drives to Fairfield for the weekend to participate in class and meet her classmates from around the world. In the summer of 2019 she also learned the TM-Sidhi® program.

MUM Student Government Aims to Improve Student Experience with New Procedures

MUM Student Government Aims to Improve Student Experience with New Procedures

Student Government members at team building day with Dustin Matthews at Waterworks Park during the 4th Annual Student Leadership Training (front left to right: Enrique Baker, Savannah Boothe, Ahmed Yassien, Dustin Matthews; back left to right: Sherlyne Muigei, Nosiku Mwangala, Sharmila Prajapati, Sean Kirk, Angel Thordsen)


2017-2018 Student Government President Cris Evergreen and Vice President Karen Ballinger


The first annual Solis Festival in 2018


Members of the Student Government during the first ChangeMakers conference in April 2018 with event organizer Michael Sternfeld (photo by Werner Elmker)

When Karen Ballinger joined MUM Student Government five years ago, she embarked on several projects to sustain Student Government for years to come. First she organized a weeklong annual leadership training for Student Government representatives, which recently completed its fourth session.

She also began documenting everything members needed to successfully run Student Government and represent the student body. She and three-time representative Cris Evergreen created the Student Government How-to Guide, helping each representative with their specific role.

Karen, now starting her fifth year with Student Government, serves as active alumni advisor along with Cris. Several other students in recent years also served on Student Government for multiple years, providing continuity. The result has been a more knowledgeable and empowered Student Government that can serve the student body more effectively.

“Student Government members are gaining self-confidence and leadership skills,” said Karen. “They are learning how to deal with different situations, speak up for other people, run meetings, work as a team, and communicate with administrators.”

The goal of Student Government is to improve students’ experience outside the classroom. One of the recent developments is the growth of student club activity. According to Cris, student clubs help build community, which is one of MUM’s eight core values. “Clubs create a sense of belonging, which is key to the longevity of a community and improved retention rates for the university,” said Cris.

Student Government has also created several new traditions, such as the annual Solis outdoor festival, and the ChangeMakers Month. In addition, they arranged to provide evening meals for Muslim students during Ramadan, facilitated the establishment of a student garden, and helped the student club Queer Coalition introduce gender inclusive housing and bathrooms. In addition, Student Government has helped ensure that students can comfortably practice the Transcendental Meditation® technique.

“Students join Student Government because they see others becoming leaders and making changes to improve our campus,” said Karen. “They want to be a part of that.” Student Government’s goal for this year is to organize cultural events that showcase the diversity of campus.

Daniel Ayalew Belay—SAP Finance and Personal Growth

Daniel Ayalew Belay—SAP Finance and Personal Growth

MBA student Daniel Ayalew Belay


With fellows students and faculty members in Dr. Andrew Bargerstock’s Enterprise Performance Management course


Daniel in Tanzania during an assignment

MUM student Daniel Ayalew Belay had already earned an MBA from Edinburgh Business School. However, he wanted to become an expert in SAP enterprise software, so he joined MUM’s MBA in SAP Finance Program.

Daniel, who is from Ethiopia, worked for the African Union Commission for over ten years, first coordinating the financial affairs of 12 offices located in various countries in Africa, then overseeing the financial and administrative activities of the African Union Mission in South Sudan.

For several years Daniel and his brother also ran a printing company in Addis Ababa. They even published several issues of their own magazine called Armemo, which means “silence” in Amharic, referring to Daniel’s interests in self-reflection and personal development.

At the beginning of his career Daniel wanted to discover how to live “a useful and successful life,” so he began reading personal development books. Over time he decided to share what he had learned with his friends and other youth by volunteering to give short courses on self-esteem, goal setting, and personal finance. So Daniel finds MUM’s focus on self-discovery and inner growth helpful.

“Being here in Fairfield is a break for me, since I have been working for 15 years,” said Daniel. “Now I can reflect on what I want to do in the future. I am enjoying my courses, but I don’t feel stressed.” In his free time, he is writing a book for young people on how to adapt to their environment, select the direction they want to take in life, and find the courage and motivation to accomplish their goals.

Daniel especially enjoyed participating in the Capstone online business simulation, where his team placed in the 94th percentile. He also gained valuable experience from doing a research project on how to support the accounting needs of Fairfield’s small businesses through mentoring, networking, and internship programs. “People are very supportive and cooperative here,” he said. “Everyone wants you to succeed.”

After completing his studies Daniel wants to return to Ethiopia, start his own consulting company, and continue writing about personal development.