Courtney Lockshaw is having a blast.
Five months before completing the hybrid Master of Business Administration with a Specialization in Leadership online program at Youngstown State University in March 2020, she landed a marketing and advertising position at Phantom Fireworks, the nation’s largest consumer fireworks company.
“Earning a master’s degree was something I always wanted to do,” she said. “Coming out of my undergraduate program, I knew that I would eventually go back to school. I wanted to get a few years of experience under my belt first. I waited almost five years until I decided it was time.”
Lockshaw worked at the Jewish Community Center of Youngstown for six years. She started as an intern and became their membership manager before leaving to work for her current employer.
“I’m lucky to work with multiple departments at Phantom Fireworks,” she said. “I have the opportunity to learn many aspects of this exciting business. Every day is a new adventure. During my undergrad, I also worked the summers as a cashier for Phantom Fireworks, so it was neat to come back.”
Lockshaw talked with MBA program coordinator Monique Bradford one year before she enrolled in 2018.
“I realized that it wasn’t the right time for me,” she said. “The following year, I was more confident in my decision to go back and ready for the challenge. YSU’s flexible program made the decision even easier.”
The online courses were especially ideal for Lockshaw while she transitioned into a new job.
“For the online portion, you have to be very motivated — that’s me,” she said. “I can motivate myself to do the work. The online courses gave me flexibility while I also juggled a 40-plus-hour work week.”
Bang for Her Buck
Born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio, Lockshaw graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration from Kent State University in 2013.
“I double majored in entrepreneurship and marketing,” she said. “My goal was to open my own business one day.”
Once Lockshaw decided to return to college for an MBA, she knew that her hometown university was the place she wanted to be.
“When I was growing up in this area, I had many family members and friends who attended YSU and had great experiences,” she said. “The MBA in Leadership fit exactly what I was looking for in a graduate program.”
In the YSU MBA with a Specialization in Leadership online program, Lockshaw gained knowledge about many areas of business that she has applied to her former and current roles.
“Even the details I didn’t think I was going to be able to use at my job were applicable,” she said. “I am still using them now. I enjoyed the networking opportunities in the online and in-person classes, too.
“I still keep in touch with many people from the program. It’s fantastic. I was lucky to meet and become great friends with one of my classmates. We ended up completing the MBA program together.”
Although Lockshaw does not have a specific long-term career goal in mind, she believes that having an MBA with a Specialization in Leadership will be extremely beneficial.
“I would like to continue to progress in my career,” she said. “There is a lot of growth potential where I work now, and this degree will open doors for me.”
Lockshaw, who enjoys spending time with her family and friends, and walking Rex, her rescue dog, took 24 months to earn her master’s degree.
“My family and friends were very excited and supportive of my decision to go back,” she said. “I applied to graduate school without telling them. I walked into the house one day and said, ‘Guess what? I am going back to school.'”
Two years later, she wore her gown for the virtual commencement ceremony.
Now that Lockshaw has completed the MBA with a Specialization in Leadership program, she has a few words of advice for anyone who is thinking of enrolling.
“I would tell them that you need to be passionate about learning,” she said. “You can’t just fly by. You have to put in the time and hard work. You also must be a go-getter and want it for yourself. In the end, it’s well worth the effort and long nights.”
Learn more about YSU’s online MBA with a Specialization in Leadership program.