Hometown: Newport News, VA
Undergraduate University: William & Mary
Current Employer: SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment
Position: Vice President of Culinary Operations
Why did you pursue an MBA?
I learned about William & Mary's Part-Time MBA from one of the executives I worked with. I majored in English as an undergrad, and I felt there was still a lot I could learn from a quantitative standpoint. I was looking for growth and opportunity professionally, and I thought maybe an MBA could help me stand out.
How did you balance working with going back to school?
Working in hospitality at a theme part is not a nine-to-five job, so I really had to create a schedule more than I ever had before. It was sometimes difficult because the program has a lot of group work, and my groups tended to want to meet on the weekends. For me and my business, that is our busiest time. I had to be flexible and have that conversation with my boss that this was something I was committed to doing, and I may need to step away for a couple of hours. It required a lot of organization, but I had great professors and teammates who were able to work around that, so it didn't impact my job too much.
How have you benefited from earning an MBA?
While I was in the program, a director position came up with our sister company, Water Country USA, and I got that promotion. I know being in the Part-Time MBA program at William & Mary helped me to be able to get that promotion. I was neck and neck with people who were just as qualified, but the difference being, I was working towards that degree and taking my own time to grow and develop. It gave me more confidence, and I stood out as a candidate.