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Arkansas State University

Brittney Francois Hopes to Fashion Master’s Degree Into Career Change


Brittney Francois enrolled in the Master of Science in Media Management online program at Arkansas State University with designs on increased knowledge and a bold new career look.

“The main reason I went back to school was I wanted to learn something new and different,” she said. “I was looking into it for a while. I did digital at a previous job, and I have grown really attached to e-commerce and digital. Technology is constantly evolving, so that made me want to learn as much as I can.”

If Francois has her druthers, she will apply that newfound knowledge to a job in the fashion industry. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in fashion merchandising from Texas Woman’s University in 2007. Francois is the first person in her immediate family to earn a college degree.

“My marketing teacher in high school showed us videos about different careers as we prepared for college,” Francois said. “I was watching a video and saw a celebrity stylist who was talking about being a buyer and a personal stylist on Oprah. I said, ‘Oh my God, that’s so cool. How do I do that?’

“Sure enough, my teacher said, ‘You can study fashion merchandising — that’s an actual degree.’ So, I went to school for fashion. On the side, I did wardrobe styling. I also worked retail back in the day. I loved everything about it.”

An account manager at the Stephen Gould Corporation in Addison, Texas, Francois added a digital media track to the online MS in Media Management program. She plans to graduate from A-State in December 2018.

Looking Sharp

Francois spent seven years as a freelance wardrobe stylist and nearly two years as an e-commerce buyer, which sparked her interest in learning more about media management and digital marketing. She read about A-State’s program while searching for universities with online degree programs.

“That was one of the top schools that popped up when I was researching digital marketing media programs,” Francois said. “I narrowed it down to two or three, and here we are. The price was very competitive. I looked at other schools that had the same program with slightly different classes and the price was astronomically different.”

Francois, a member of the Junior League of Collin County and a former Big Brothers Big Sisters volunteer, started the online master’s in media management program in October 2017. The flexibility of the format helps make school manageable with a full-time job.

“It’s been going pretty good so far,” she said. “There’s a lot of reading in some of the classes. I wasn’t sure I’d have time to do it, but I am able to balance it all. It’s very new for me — especially after 10 years out of college. I had one online class as an undergraduate, so that helped. I’ve also had no issues at all getting in contact with the professors, whether it was a phone call or an email.”

The ability to work on school at any time of the day has been especially beneficial to Francois, who spends an average of 15 hours per week on her coursework.

“I have a routine where I take a break on Mondays — especially if I’m reading and doing assignments over the weekend,” she said. “Monday is my break day. Then, I hammer it out the rest of the week, reading and doing assignments every day. I do it after work, but sometimes I can do it on my lunch break. I don’t live too far from my job, so I have the option to go home and crack open a book and my laptop.”

On the Runway

So far, the JOUR 5213: Social Media in Strategic Communication course is Francois’ favorite in the online MS in Media Management program curriculum.

“I’ve learned how to apply social media tools and how to mix them in an organization’s strategy,” she said. “We learned about all of the different platforms and everything that they involve and how a lot of organizations are geared toward having a social media site as another way to promote their business and get the word out if a new product is launching.”

Francois believes that the information in the curriculum will prepare her to work in e-commerce, project management, digital marketing and social media in any industry, even if a job in fashion isn’t in the cards.

“I wanted to stay on top of things with learning the latest and greatest with technology and, hopefully, apply that to a new opportunity,” she said. “I’m looking for something new now so I can go ahead and start applying what I’ve been learning to a new area.”

Francois, who grew up in Garland, Texas, still hasn’t told her family that she is working toward a master’s degree in case, she joked, “I quit and left.”

“That secret is going to be out now,” she said. “I let my friends know, and they have been very supportive and praying for me along the way.”

Francois isn’t sure if she will make the trip to Jonesboro to walk the stage at the graduation ceremony, but she looks forward to adding a master’s degree to her resume and taking advantage of future career opportunities.

“I thought my classes would be more related to social media and digital — not so much the theories,” she said. “You have to go in with an open mind and absorb everything that you are learning because it is eventually going to be very helpful. That’s ultimately how I’m looking at it.

“All of these courses are going to tie in together in some way that I’m going to be able to apply to the e-commerce, project management or digital marketing position I hope to have one day. I’m absorbing it all.”

Learn more about the A-State online MS in Media Management program.

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