Eighteen months into completing a master’s degree in counseling, Jasmine Brooks had an epiphany about her higher education path.
“During the pandemic, I decided to change my major,” she said. “Being locked up in the house teaches you a lot about yourself.
“During COVID, I decided to change my major. At the time, I had already spent a year and a half at Avila University, so I wanted to finish a graduate degree at the university since I was already invested in the school.”
Brooks graduated from the online Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in Healthcare Administration program at Avila University with a 3.89 GPA in May 2022.
“It seemed like the MBA fit with my work schedule,” she said. “Because it was all online, I didn’t have to go into classes. That was intriguing to me because I worked full time.”
Although she is now a project manager for Kansas City Public Schools and head volleyball coach at Lincoln College Preparatory Academy, Brooks has worked in healthcare for seven years.
“I actually started in the counseling psychology program at Avila before switching to the MBA program,” she said. “I chose the healthcare administration concentration because of my work experience.”
The flexibility of the online format helped Brooks smoothly transition to the master’s degree program without disrupting her busy schedule.
“It was so nice,” she said. “I loved the online format. There was less pressure. Attending school online showed me it’s attainable to finish while being a full-time working adult.
“The faculty was great. I also had great classmates, which was nice.”
There’s No Place Like Home
Brooks is from Kansas City, Kansas, where she started playing volleyball in fifth grade and continued through high school. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in human development and family science from Oklahoma State University in 2018 and enrolled at Avila University the following year.
“My undergrad has nothing to do with business,” she said. “Therefore, healthcare administration was the concentration I had the most knowledge about.
Marketing Management, taught by Dr. Brian Buckler, was Brooks’ favorite course in the online MBA in Healthcare Administration curriculum.
“We were responsible for creating a marketing plan, which forced me to think in different ways than I was used to.”
“In marketing, you look at people’s behaviors. From there, you use their behaviors to attract them. It stretched me. I felt rewarded by the program and the projects we did. We did a marketing plan for a local bar, and they used the majority of our suggestions.”
Brooks believes that the information she gained in the online master’s degree program helped her land her current role as a project manager, which she started in August 2022.
“Everything I have learned in the program, I can use where I am right now,” she said. “Knowing the business side, like how to read a bank statement and do accounting appropriately, is advantageous.
Game, Set, Match
Brooks wrapped up her atypical journey at Avila University by walking the graduation stage at commencement.
“I loved it,” she said. “I would have been sad if I did not have the opportunity to walk across the stage. My family and friends were super excited and encouraging. They came to graduation, too.”
Although Brooks isn’t sure if she’ll return to the healthcare field, having an MBA gives her an advantage in whichever direction she goes.
“I would like to stay in project management, but hopefully become an executive program manager, maybe a director,” she said. “It would most likely involve working with families and kids in some capacity. Getting my MBA took a lot of courage, so we’ll see.
“I love coaching. I get great fulfillment out of it. Being in the MBA program helped me fine-tune that skill. One day, I’d like to have my own business working with children and mentoring. I plan on coaching as long as I can.”
Brooks, who enjoys reading, traveling and attending concerts in her free time, is glad she earned a degree at Avila. Now that she has, she has some advice for potential students in the program.
“It’s important to utilize your resources at the university,” she said. “You also have to have good time management. And utilize your peers who work in industries you are interested in. You can be a resource for each other.
“Avila also has great faculty that is extremely supportive. Dr. Wendy Acker, who is an adviser, was a huge support. She is the reason I was able to finish successfully. If Avila had a doctorate program I was interested in; I would go back.”
Learn more about Avila University’s online MBA in Healthcare Administration program.