Danielle Burnett had a couple of options after she finished her college degree: either work in her field and get some great opportunities in 20 years, or earn an MBA now and find those same opportunities in the present.
Thanks to the LSU Shreveport online program, she was able to go with option No. 2 and earn a Master of Business Administration with a General Business Specialization. With the MBA credential in her favor, she has her sights set on something greater in her career.
Burnett, who lives in Fort Worth, Texas, works as a corporate catering manager at a large hotel in nearby Arlington, Texas. She earned her undergraduate degree in hospitality from the University of North Texas (UNT) in 2013. She started the LSUS online MBA program in 2016 and graduated in August of 2018. A practical reason drove her decision to go back to school.
"My bachelor's degree was very focused in hospitality," she said. "I wanted something as a backup in case I ever wanted to get out of hospitality."
Though her immediate career goal is to become a corporate meeting planner, she also wants to keep her options open to have some leverage in her professional path.
"Eventually I may want to shift into a different type of role in hospitality," Burnett said. "I'd like to become a director of catering or something similar. I think the MBA can help me with that."
After working in the industry for a few years, Burnett decided it was time to consider additional higher education. Now she's on track to achieve her career goal of becoming a corporate meeting planner. She became interested in this area after working with other meeting planners.
"I'm a corporate catering manager right now, and I'm in the hospitality industry. I have worked in hotels since I graduated with my undergrad. I work with meeting planners often. It's just something I'd like to do because I love working with people, detailing meetings and events, and the overall aspect of corporate meeting and event planning."
Burnett enjoys her current job, which involves working with pharmaceutical businesses and airlines. She expects the MBA will enable a healthy career transition down the road.
Though Burnett had many options for higher education, two factors drew her to the LSUS online program: price and flexibility.
"LSUS was actually one of the more affordable schools. The price is really what got me," she said.
And as an added bonus, her undergraduate GPA and work experience meant she didn't need to take the GMAT to enroll in the online MBA program.
She cites one of the biggest benefits of completing an online MBA program as being able to work a full-time job simultaneously. "It really helped being able to do it online and come home and do it in the evening, my lunch break, or on the weekends," she said.
A couple of professors required video chats with fellow students, which she found beneficial. The online discussion posts were also helpful.
"I really enjoyed our entrepreneurship course [MADM 751: Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Creativity]. We were graded on our video chats. I really enjoyed the group that I worked with. I enjoyed working on the group project where we had to develop our own company and do a whole report on it. It was nice being able to talk to other people and work with other people and not have to just get online by yourself."
Once Burnett became acclimated to studying at home, she began to enjoy the change of pace that online learning provided.
"Being out of school for three years before I went back, it took a little time to get motivated and be able to motivate myself to do it at home," she said. "Whereas at UNT, I was forced to go to class."
Advice for Students
Burnett offers a few pieces of wisdom focused on goals and career direction prior to joining the program and perseverance once in.
"Do your research on it," she said. "Make sure the jobs you're looking at and where you want to be in five to 10 years require an MBA.
"Stick with it. It will be worth it when it's done, but make sure it's something you really want to do, and that it will be worth the money as well."
Spoken like someone who really knows how to plan.
Learn more about the LSUS online MBA program with a General Business Specialization.
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