Lauren Shoaf

Name: Lauren Shoaf

Current Ambassador Position/Program: MBA

Program (Full-Time, Part-Time): Part-Time

Concentration/Area of Emphasis: Marketing

Current Employer: Fitzgerald’s

Position: Director of Sales and Marketing

Anticipated Graduation: December 2019

Undergraduate Institution and Degree: UNC-Chapel Hill (Double major in Public Relations and English)

Favorite Place in Charlotte: BB&T Ballpark

Hometown: Salisbury, NC    

Dream Job: Director of Events for a Museum or other amazing event venue

LinkedIn Profile

Master of Business Administration

What degree are you pursuing and why?

I am pursuing my MBA with a concentration in marketing. After getting my undergraduate degree in Public Relations and English, and working in marketing for several years, I began to long to learn more about business. I wanted more quantitative skills I could apply to my current role as a Director of Sales. I have a passion for event planning and was looking to further my education with a degree that was versatile and could be relevant in a variety of industries.

Why did you choose the Belk College of Business over others?

Working in the hospitality industry, my schedule is extremely busy and inconsistent. I knew if I wanted to succeed in an MBA program, convenience would be extremely important. I love being able to walk right over to the Center City Building from work and not even have to get in the car. I live Uptown as well, so it makes things very easy. I plan on living in Charlotte long-term so I thought the Belk College of Business would yield the most meaningful professional and personal connections.

Once I started looking into the Belk College of Business, the staff made me feel at home. I could tell that they really wanted the students to succeed, and that isn’t something I felt with other programs I considered. Since I am paying for my MBA myself, cost was also a factor. I think that Belk College of Business is the best education for the money.

If you are currently working outside Belk College, tell us about your job. What lessons have you learned in your courses that you were able to apply on the job?

I am the Director of Sales and Marketing for Fitzgerald’s, which is a restaurant Uptown. I am in charge of private events and catering, marketing, social media and many other things that go on behind the scenes.

One of the most useful classes I have taken is Dr. Kohut’s Negotiation and Conflict Management course. Prior to that class, I did not realize that every private event booking was actually a negotiation and should be treated as such. I have been able to use the tactics I have learned with my clients, coworkers and even in my personal life. Sharpening my quantitative skills through Accounting, Economics and Financial Management has also been helpful in my current role. Since starting the MBA program, I have been able to better track my event sales and make the best decisions for the business.   

What can you share about your experience so far being an Ambassador, and what do you hope to accomplish this year in your role?

This is my first semester as an Ambassador, but in a way, I feel like I have been an ambassador all along. I am always talking to people about my experience in the MBA program, whether it is people I know personally, or people I meet at networking events. It is not traditional for someone who wants to remain in the hospitality/event industry to pursue an MBA. I want to encourage people to think outside the box and realize that a business degree isn’t just for people that work in finance. I already feel like I have such an advantage in my industry, since the MBA program has taught me to think in a way many others don’t. The MBA degree is an asset in all industries because of its versatility. I am looking forward to connecting with potential students from industries where an MBA may not be a traditional path.

What has been the best part of your academic experience so far?

I have enjoyed the networking with students and teachers from all different backgrounds. Since I do not work in a traditional office environment, or for a large company, I have enjoyed the classroom setting and relationship building. I also feel like I have gained so much confidence, personally and professionally through the program. It is challenging getting a master’s degree while working (more than) full-time, but now I feel like I can do anything! I have grown so much from when I entered the program in 2017.

How would you describe the Belk College of Business to someone considering a master’s program?

The Belk College of Business is a place that you can grow. It is a great place to connect with your fellow classmates, teachers and even the community. You will learn so much more than facts and figures, you will learn about why people behave the way they do, managing people and negotiating just to name a few.

At the Belk College of Business, scheduling is flexible. You can take as many or as few classes a semester you like, on days that work for you. There are even hybrid classes, where you flip-flop between in-class and online instruction each week.

Anything else you want to share that may help readers learn about Belk College graduate programs?

Soak up all of the information you can. Go to an orientation, go to Preview Day, have coffee with a current student, contact an MBA ambassador, meet with a faculty member. If you have questions, ask. Make sure it feels like home. Getting a master’s degree is a large time and financial commitment - make sure you are ready to give it your all.

As Director of Sales & Marketing at a booming Charlotte restaurant, MBA Ambassador, Lauren Shoaf, values the flexibility, customization and convenience that the Belk College MBA offers. She says, “ The MBA degree is an asset in all industries because of its versatility.”