Renee Stoodt works for a hospital where the business side of healthcare piqued her interest.
She serves as a senior medical staff coordinator at Doctors Hospital, an affiliate of Baptist Health South Florida where she had previously worked in corporate credentialing.
Stoodt enrolled in the online MBA with a concentration in Human Resource Management program at St. Thomas University in June 2019 and is on track to graduate in May 2020.
When she was looking for an MBA program that would suit her unpredictable schedule, the online options stood out.
"Online classes allow me that flexibility if I need to stay late or come in early," she said. "Also, traffic in Miami is outrageous. Online classes make it so much more convenient and flexible for my schedule."
Having completed her bachelor's degree online through STU, Stoodt was no stranger to virtual learning.
"I had an excellent experience and I felt that I might as well continue on at St. Thomas and further my education," she said.
She knew that she would be able to continue working full time while she made her way through the MBA program. Although her interest in human resources motivated her to choose the HR concentration, she would like to steer her career toward business development.
Stoodt majored in organizational leadership as an undergrad, so she found MAN 700: Organizational Behavior in the online MBA program especially engaging. The class has helped her gain a deeper understanding of the ways people communicate.
"Knowing how an organization functions, noticing the behaviors of employees, leadership and executive leadership, and knowing how to maneuver and understand why things are done has been something of an interest of mine," she said. "I work with all different types of people, and I can pick up on body language and understand why things are being said in a certain way."
Stoodt has enjoyed the coursework in the MBA curriculum so far and feels confident that the tools her professors have given her will help her in any career path.
"The faculty is extremely knowledgeable," she said. "They understand that you are a professional, you have a family and you have a full-time work schedule. They provide specific requirements, but they will work with you if something were to happen."
As convenient as the program was for being online, the human touch was evident throughout. One of her professors gave her a chance to resubmit her work when she uploaded the wrong file for a term project.
"Dr. Stephanie Maynard-Patrick was extremely understanding. She reviewed the project and graded me accordingly. That was a huge relief. It would have made a huge difference in my grade in the class," Stoodt said.
Graduation day is on the horizon for Stoodt, about three years after she decided to go back to school for her bachelor's degree.
"I never thought that I would go any further than an associate degree," she said. "I surprised myself many years later with a bachelor's, and now, I'm almost at a master's."
St. Thomas University's accelerated program held great appeal for Stoodt, and the school won out over others with similar curricula when she learned that she could complete the MBA in 12 months.
"I wanted to be able to sacrifice the time now to get my degree instead of dragging it on for a longer process," she said.
Stoodt's advice for making it through an accelerated program is all about tackling it bit by bit.
"One assignment at a time, one day at a time," she said. "I try to utilize any open opportunity that I can before work, during lunch and after work to make sure that I have my assignments done and I have an understanding of what we are learning in these courses."
No matter where her career path might lead, Stoodt believes she'll be up to the challenge with an STU MBA in hand.
"I have been with Baptist Health South Florida for almost five years, so I feel that I would stay within the organization — maybe move to a different department or a corporate position outside of the actual hospital medical setting," she said.
Stoodt has come far — and fast — since deciding to earn her bachelor's. She feels that it has all gone by without a hitch.
"The educational portion of it may seem intense, but in all reality, it's manageable," she said. "It's a great opportunity, and the sooner you start, the sooner you finish."
Learn more about the STU online MBA with a concentration in Human Resource Management program.
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