Hands-on learning is key to the hospitality industry.
Jennifer Johnson, alumna of Missouri State’s department of hospitality leadership, knew she didn’t want to wait until after college to start gaining industry experience.
This made online education the perfect fit for her because she earned her degree while working in industry.
“The traditional college experience of going away to a four-year university is not for everyone,” Johnson said. “And that included me.”
Johnson worked in many hospitality operations positions from Mall of America to Walt Disney World.
These impressive roles were only made possible by not being locked into in-person classes.
“Being an online student allowed me the flexibility to take on more work responsibilities,” Johnson said. “As a hospitality manager already, I could also relate to the course work more closely.”
Explore hospitality leadership degrees
Making transfer easy
Johnson began her college career at St. Louis Community College. She earned her Associate of Applied Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management there.
But Johnson wanted to take her education further.
A professor at the college recommended MSU’s online Bachelor of Applied Science in Hospitality Leadership program for continuing her studies.
Transferring to MSU was the best decision for Johnson.
“Before transferring to MSU, I felt like I was just going through the motions so I could graduate,” Johnson said. “Being an online student at the university really made me appreciate my classes.”
What set MSU’s online hospitality leadership program apart from others?
The industry-relevant and manageable course work offered at an affordable price.
“I’ll take the leadership and management skills I learned in the program with me throughout my career,” she said.
Keeping more than just technology connected
Online students can struggle with keeping engaged in their course work.
But this was never the case for Johnson in her online classes at MSU.
She says the faculty at the university helped her feel connected.
“Whether it was by email or by phone call, faculty members were always readily accessible,” Johnson said.
Katie Tucker, Johnson’s advisor, and Dr. Stephanie Hein, hospitality leadership department head, also helped Johnson connect her interests with goals for her future.
This became necessary when it came to choosing an internship and later a career path.
“They assisted me in making the best decision for myself,” Johnson said. “I always felt supported.”
Choosing your own path
Johnson considers the Advanced Hospitality Leadership course taught by Hein to be a must-take class for students.
In the course, Johnson and her fellow classmates dove deep into studies of and discussions about what it takes to be quality leaders.
She stresses that this course – among others in the program – gave her the education she needed. And all with the flexibility she wanted.
“I learned just how important education really is in the program,” Johnson said. “If you want to have the flexibility needed to remain open to all the opportunities this industry has to offer, this is the program for you.”