Shortly after graduating from Johnson & Wales University's Charlotte Campus with a Sports/Entertainment/Event – Management bachelor's degree, Michelle Meehan '13, '15 MBA reached out to the university to explore graduate degree options. With her eye on her dream job of working in the hospitality industry in Manhattan, she knew that she'd need an MBA to stand out in the competitive market. She learned of the new School of Online & Continuing Education and saw an opportunity to move up in her career while advancing her degree. Her friend and fellow JWU alum, Julian Bovasso '13, '15 MBA, applied and encouraged her to apply, too. Not only did she graduate with honors in 18 months (all while earning a new job and promotion to Conference Service Manager at The Hilton), she also spoke at the Providence College of Management undergraduate commencement in May 2015, encouraging new alums to continue their education with JWU. Read below to discover her JWU journey.
Why did you decide to attend JWU as an undergrad?
"I decided to attend JWU as an undergraduate because I fell in love with the Charlotte campus. The city feel was everything I wanted, and the small classes were just what I needed when it came to my college experience."
Describe your study abroad experience in Australia, including how you met and became friends with fellow JWU alum Julian Bovasso.
"When studying abroad in Australia, I earned a concentration in International Special Events Management. I was able to get a global experience by introducing myself to customs that are different than my own (plus, it was a definite résumé booster!). Julian and I met when we decided to continue exploring all Australia had to offer outside of the classroom with a group of friends. We were able to explore without maps and get acclimated to a completely different environment with a group of people we never met before."
Why did you decide to return to JWU and pursue your MBA?
"A master's degree was already in sight for me — I wanted something to set me apart from the job pool. With an MBA, I was able to apply for more jobs and find more opportunities because the needed educational experience was not holding me back. Deciding to go to JWU was an easy choice: The majority of my credits transferred from my bachelor's degree, and I completed the program in just 18 months — all while working 50-plus hour weeks!"
Describe your online-learning experience.
"The hospitality industry is not known for short hours. Working 10-hour days and sometimes weekends, it was impossible for me to get out and be able to go to class. Working online gave me the ability to see friends when I wanted and do work on my own time. There were weekly deadlines to meet and some long nights of writing papers, but my time management improved, as well as my ability to produce great work in less time — something not easily learned without experience."
How has your JWU experience enhanced your current career and prepared you for the future?
"My JWU experience has enhanced my success by giving me the education needed to advance in my career. Currently living in NYC, the job market requires lots of experience and skills to get your dream job. Luckily, JWU prepared me by giving me the degree and résumé work experience. I have moved up in my career quickly, not only through my education and experience, but also with the 100,000-plus alumni network ready and willing to give recommendations and assist with future endeavors."
"My JWU experience has enhanced my success by giving me the education needed to advance in my career."