Jasmine Steele has to credit her older brother, Calvin Hudson, with an assist.
After he enrolled in the online Master of Business Administration program at Fitchburg State University, Steele, a former Division I basketball player is taking her shot at earning an advanced degree, too. She will graduate from the MBA in Human Resources Management online program at Fitchburg State in May 2020.
"I want to say I was in competition with my brother, and I didn't want him to have more education than I do," she said. "But I did the MBA program so I could have a better education and get the job I really want."
Steele played for one season at the University of Alabama and three more at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration in marketing in 2017.
"Trying to get a job with just my bachelor's degree right out of college was tough," Steele said. "I felt like everyone else also had a bachelor's degree, so I thought I needed to take it a step further and get a master's degree to have better opportunities."
Hudson enrolled in Fitchburg State's online MBA program in January 2018. Six months later, Steele followed suit. She chose the HR Management concentration because she is a sales manager trainee for Enterprise Rent-A-Car at DFW International Airport and also completed a five-month internship at MD Hudson Management.
"I stumbled across Enterprise," Steele said. "I liked their culture and what they believe in. I like how they love athletes, which initially drew me in. They believe we work hard. I want to become a recruiter and travel to find new candidates for the Enterprise brand."
Steele, who is originally from Birmingham, was a star basketball player at Midfield High School, leading her team to three straight Class 4A state championships. An injury she sustained while training to play professional basketball overseas after college ended her playing career.
The skills Steele developed balancing school and being a college athlete helped her make a seamless transition into the online MBA in HR Management program.
"So far, so good," she said. "I pretty much work all day. On the days that I am off work, I complete all of my assignments. Because I played college basketball, I have good time management skills. It was not hard for me to adapt to that life. The flexibility of the online program is nice."
After Hudson told Steele about the program, she did some research and was convinced she would also enjoy earning a graduate degree online.
"I thought Fitchburg State was flexible and able to accommodate the things that I needed," she said. "Because it is an online program, the tuition was cheaper. Also, I was able to do it in one year, which was the reason I chose to go there."
MGMT 9180: Accounting Practices for Managers, which Steele recently finished, is her favorite course in the curriculum, so far.
"I am really good with numbers," she said. "I thought about doing an accounting concentration with my MBA, but the workload of an accountant is not for me because I am really hyper and energetic. I know I wouldn't be a perfect accountant, but I enjoy the course."
Learning about human resources management in the online MBA program has already paid dividends for Steele in her current role.
"I have been able to apply the human resources aspect of my courses to the real world," she said. "I am handling my employees differently and have been able to take what I am learning in class and put it to use at work."
Like Hudson, Steele is giving the sales pitch about the online MBA programs at Fitchburg State to any acquaintances considering a graduate degree. Recruiting is clearly in her blood.
"I tell all of my friends that the program has affordable tuition, it is fast-paced and it's a great opportunity," she said. "My friends want to advance in the world, too. They haven't enrolled yet, but they are thinking about it."
Hudson, who lives in Fort Worth, graduated in May 2019 and made his first trip to Massachusetts to walk in the commencement ceremony. Although Steele will have to contend with New England winter weather when she goes north for graduation day, she is eager to take the journey to the stage.
"I am definitely going to be there," she said. "My brother really enjoyed his experience at graduation. I am looking forward to it."
Steele and her brother remain close. They get together to catch up and go shooting at the gun range whenever they can. Soon, they will strengthen that sibling bond even more as MBA graduates of Fitchburg State.
"I used to live with him when I moved to Texas, but you know how siblings get," she said. "I just moved out. It's still been nice being around him. My mother is really proud of both of us. We are the first college graduates in our immediate family. Being the first ones to earn a degree and an MBA is big."
That's two slam dunks.
Learn more about the Fitchburg State online MBA in HR Management program.
Have a question or concern about this article? Please contact us.