8 min read

ALICE Celebrates Customer Success Specialist, Josh Whalen, Graduating from His MBA Program

Josh is ALICE’s Customer Success Specialist based in Rhode Island. Last week, he graduated from his Masters of Business Administration with a focus in Hospitality Management program from Johnson and Wales University in Providence.

We interviewed Josh about his experience attending school and working full time and how he's applying what he learned to his work here at ALICE. 

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What made you want to get your Master’s Degree?

When it comes to analyzing major decision making, there are many intrinsic and extrinsic factors. As a person, I have a constant desire to learn and explore things; I always want to better myself and do more. Externally, the influences of the competitive work market definitely motivated me. I wanted to enhance my career and I was motivated to find the best way to do that, and in this case it was earning my Master’s Degree.

 

Where did you attend?

I attended Johnson and Wales University in Providence.

 

Who was your biggest influence there? 

During the process, my biggest influences were my fellow grads, the same people working hard in the trenches. I wasn’t the only one, I wasn’t alone, they kept me going.

 

What made it all worth it?

There really are two sides to this, the costs versus the benefits. There were obviously a lot of costs to it, I had to pay the tuition and suffer the hardships of learning and putting in hard work.  There have been a lot of sacrifices and opportunities lost. The flip side though, the benefit, is undetermined yet. It's the ultimate thing you get out of it and really it can’t be known yet. As they say the future is still unwritten.

 

How was learning during the pandemic?

The learning experience shifted, a lot of grad students are learning differently and increasingly more people opt for the online programs. However, I specifically chose this in-person program because I felt safer and more comfortable in this learning style. I was forced to do something I tried to avoid, but it ended up drastically helping me. I emerged from my degree with the ability to adapt and the skills and tools involved in this new way of learning.

 

 

What did an average day of working and learning/studying look like for you?

Long, many many long days. I am fortunate and proud to claim that I have never been unemployed. I always took two classes per semester and worked full-time. The average day two days of the week was work all day, then commute to Johnson and Wales and take my classes at night. The other three days I would work then study and write papers in the evening. It was exceedingly rare to get eight hours of sleep a night. Since I began my studies, a lot has been added to my life so it became more difficult to juggle. I got married, and my daughter was born so things became more complicated. I really admire the people who started their MBA with these responsibilities from the beginning, it's hard work to manage.

 

How did your courses help prepare you for working at ALICE? 

First thing you learn in graduate school is how to think critically, how to take things to the next level. I'm learning to question, dive deeper, and seek things out. I use this decision making knowledge everyday in ways small and large at ALICE. It has helped me to make decisions in a meaningful and purposeful way. I find it has shaped my outlook and work ethic. Through this process I have been able to apply high level analysis anywhere.

 

What do you hope to do with your degree?

I didn’t enter into my graduate program with a specific career goal, it was a big picture idea. I have specific goals relating to my life and key goals relating to my career. This was a goal that bridged both. Overall, I was hoping I would advance quicker and have a more refined skill set. Without this journey, I probably wouldn’t be at ALICE now, so I have already put it to use. 

 

What was your favorite class?

An MBA encompasses classes from ethics to finance, so there were a lot of areas covered. As I progressed I found my strengths, I found that I really enjoyed and excelled at macro-level strategy marketing classes and I would have to say the class that really stuck with me was Marketing Strategy and Hospitality and Tourism Global Issues. It focused on the hospitality field and its interactions with geopolitical, environmental, technological, and socioeconomic issues.

What does being in the Class of 2021 mean to you?

I am a part of a very strong and resilient group of individuals making up the class of 2021. We went through a lot in the past year, we all have a lot of grit and I respect that. We were able to persevere and adapt through the challenges and still make it.

 

What inspires you?

I wish my daughter was sitting next to me, I’d hold her up and say she is my inspiration. Daisy Ann, I really do see that the inspiration I have comes from her and my firm belief in knowledge. I have a grasp of the fact that I can have a positive impact on her future, the future is important and if I can better it in any way, I will.

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Elizabeth Bourque

People Team at ALICE