From Friday Night Lights to LA Sights
Trinidad, Texas, native Ahmad Jenkins defies expectations, excels at Baylor and pursues a career in business and consulting, making a positive impact.
By Justin Walker
Ahmad Jenkins, BS ’11, MBA/ME ’13
Engagement Manager; McKinsey & Company
Los Angeles, California
Deep in the heart of East Texas lies the small town of Trinidad, with plenty of trees and lakes and one traffic light that was a big deal when it went in. With roughly 1,000 people, the community was a great place for Ahmad Jenkins to grow up.
“You can imagine that it’s a town you go through, not go to,” Jenkins said. “But I loved it. It molded me into what I am today.”
Jenkins was the youngest of eight children, and almost everyone was involved in sports. When one of his older brothers wanted to attend Baylor’s summer football camp, he and his family drove to Waco to drop him off. His oldest brother, standing at 6’3″, was spotted by one of the Baylor coaches and, before too long, was recruited by the Bears. His middle brother followed in his footsteps and, in 2007, Jenkins also joined Baylor playing cornerback.
While at Baylor, Jenkins majored in Mechanical Engineering as a Bill Gates Scholar. The balancing act between a demanding degree and playing collegiate football was a challenge, he said.
“It felt like two full-time jobs,” Jenkins said.
Luckily, Jenkins had incredible advisors and the football team’s resurgence behind Robert Griffin III as quarterback meant a lot of academic resources opened up to the players. As his playing time ended, Jenkins decided to stick around for graduate school.
Jenkins enrolled in the MBA/Master of Engineering program through the Hankamer School of Business and the School of Engineering and Computer Science. He was intrigued by the dual focus and the opportunities it could open.
“I learned a lot through the Baylor MBA program,” he said. “It was almost like a ‘CEO Coaching School.’ It set me up to go down a completely different path for my career.”
Had Jenkins left Baylor with only his bachelor’s, he believes he would have been in a more technical engineering role. Instead, with the MBA in hand, he gets to pursue business and consulting.
Upon graduation in 2013, Jenkins began working with ExxonMobil in strategic planning roles. In 2018, he moved to Los Angeles to work in strategy and consulting for Accenture. Today, he is an engagement manager with McKinsey & Company, where he feels he can make a difference in the world.
“The things that give me joy are seeing people smile,” Jenkins said. “I get really happy when I see people thriving I feel like, in my career, I can play a role in helping make the world a little bit better of a place for everybody.”