It’s no secret that Johnson & Wales online students are go-getters. Whether it is studying or in their professional lives, an online student’s potential is limitless. Don’t believe me? Let me introduce you to Kristi Bogunovich. She’s currently on track to receive her MBA - Business Administration in Hospitality this December. But, that’s not the only thing she has going on. Kristi is working her magic, not only pursuing her degree but also working full-time at the most magical place on Earth.
After graduating with her bachelor's in 2004, Kristi took some time off from school, pursuing a full-time career in the hospitality business. Currently, she works as a resort-duty manager at the Walt Disney World Resort. It’s her job to make sure guests are having the best time possible and from the sound of it, Kristi has her hands in, quite literally, everything. From working with the crews in food and beverage to the front desk to the recreational team, it's easy to see she has a lot going on. This begs an obvious question, why go back to school now? With this curiosity, I sat down to talk with Kristi (on one of the rare occasions she has a free second) to find out more about what drives her.
What inspired you to go back to school?
For me, I have always had a love of learning, I've always loved learning new things. So when I was going through a new transitional role, I realized that I wanted to go back to school. I had graduated with my bachelor's from the University of Wyoming in 2004 and I had always said I wanted to go back to school and get a Master's degree and an MBA but I just kind of kept putting it off and putting it off. I finally had a kind of an epiphany and said its time, it felt right. I felt like I was in a really good place professionally in my career, I was looking to take that next step and knew that education would help me.
What made you choose to get your degree at JWU?
One of the first rolls I ever had at Disney— I was on a professional internship where we offer a culinary program. I happened to be supporting one of the chefs who was one of our recruiters and I know that he goes to Johnson & Wales quite frequently and I kind of got introduced to Johnson & Wales that way. I also had quite a few friends who had also gone to Johnson & Wales. I was thinking about schools and was thinking about hospitality programs and also which schools had a rigorous coursework and what I felt like was going to be courses that were going to inspire me, to challenge me, and to help me truly become the best hospitality professional that I could be.
As I spent more and more time looking through the coursework through multiple different areas, I realized that the coursework and flexibility that Johnson & Wales offered from an online standpoint and just the course load, in general, was just going to be a good fit. I think Johnson & Wales just does an amazing job of laying out the structure to the courses so that every course is kind of the same setup. It's great that it's consistent with every single course versus having to change it up every different course. It helps you organize and prioritize your work.
Working full-time at Disney World and pursuing your MBA can be a lot, how do you balance that?
Balance is something I think everybody struggles with no matter what they’re doing in their lives. Whether it be professional or personal, I think balance is something people tend to struggle with and I’m no different. For me, my schedule tends to change. I may close some nights, I may be a mid, or I may open, I don’t have a consistent nine to five schedule. I have had to really prioritize my time and ensure that I am incredibly organized to what I need to do and where I need to be. A lot of that is understanding that when I get my work schedule if I’m closing three nights then I need to spend my time in the morning or early afternoon focused on my schooling so when I go to work I’m fully focused on my work side of things. But I also look for opportunities to maximize my time so if there is a lot of reading that week, I might take that article into work with me and I might read that article on my lunch break.
Graduation is right around the corner, what do you hope to see next for you?
The amazing thing about working for Disney is that there are so many different opportunities and so many things and roles we can do here. Because my focus is strictly in hospitality and really in the resort realm of things, in the future I want to take some of the applications and things that I’ve learned, I really want to apply that to truly know that I am making a bigger impact to our company. So looking at using what I’ve learned through Johnson & Wales and through the coursework and applying that to work on strategy and being out in the operation I hope to see myself moving into the role of being a proprietor for a location and eventually general manager and down the line a senior vice president. I'm able to use that education to help pull some of those general textbook concepts and actually put them into real-life applications.
Want to learn more about earning your online MBA — Business Administration in Hospitality degree from Johnson & Wales University? Complete the “Request Info” form on this page or call 855-JWU-1881.