Mexico-born Daniela Garcia was exploring different majors, trying to find what would suit her best. Most importantly, she was intent on finding a university that would help her grow as a student, individual, and professional.
She found all of this and more at Texas Tech University. First established in 1923, this public research university is committed to providing the highest standards of excellence in higher education and research. It’s this that has attracted over 40,666 students to its halls — a figure that’s only increasing every year.
Today, Texas Tech University has expanded to include 13 colleges and schools that offer 150 undergraduate, 100 graduate, and 50 doctoral degrees. Garcia chose to enrol in the Department of Hospitality and Retail Management (HRM). It’s home to a hospitality programme that is ranked among the top 100 by QS World University Rankings, fully ACPHA-accredited, and consistently well-received by students worldwide.
Garcia felt instantly at home at Texas Tech University. Much of this had to do with the incredibly supportive group of HRM professors — particularly associate professor Dr. Charlie Adams. “Dr. Adams has been the most amazing mentor for me,” she shares. “I felt like I was very lost before I had my first conversation with him and so I’m very grateful for that.”
It was Dr. Adams who gave her the push to apply for graduate school. He’d called her up one day to offer a teaching assistant position with the department. Garcia, who’d always known she wanted to go to graduate school one day, jumped at the chance. She applied for the Master of Science in Hospitality and Retail Management — and got in.
She quickly adjusted to the fast-paced, informative and exciting degree programme. So far, her favourite classes have been in retail buying and category management. “These classes were my first introduction to retail,” she says. “I ended up really falling in love with what I was learning and every day presented something new. I really liked it.”
The level of hands-on industry exposure each HRM student is afforded was central to this. “We make it a point to bring in industry professionals to talk to our students about the latest trends,” shares assistant professor Dr. Leslie Cuevas. “This becomes very important because when we reference books, they sometimes become a matter of historical reference. So we bring people in to talk to our students to learn about the latest in retail and hospitality.”
The highly ranked programme is also available online for the first time at an affordable price of under US$15,000. Students get to choose between a 12 to 15-month programme, in which they will earn a full master’s degree in an 8-week format. It has been built off the success of HRM’s online hospitality programme, which has been ranked as the best online degree for ROI in the US and #6 for the best online bachelor’s degree.
The Master of Science in Hospitality and Retail Management is a great option for working professionals. “An online programme is a great benefit to their working schedules,” Cuevas says. “As we’ve seen from the pandemic, students are taking jobs from all over the state, country, and across the world. An online degree helps them balance their studies, but more importantly, gives them the chance to apply their work experience to the concepts of their learning.”
Perhaps what is most appealing about graduate education at Texas Tech University is the chance to join a thriving diverse and inclusive community. “I came to Texas Tech University because I learned that it was growing its Hispanic student population,” explains Cuevas. “As a Hispanic woman, I wanted to make sure that students had someone who looked like them in the classroom.”
Combined, a graduate education at Texas Tech University helps build academic integrity, prepares students for the working world, and teaches them to communicate with people from all over the world. Unsurprisingly, this has opened doors to a variety of future paths — both locally and internationally.
“There are so many different career paths that students can take with this degree,” explains Cuevas. “For example, becoming corporate buyers, trend analysts, and hotel managers. Many of our students go into a lot of different management positions. We’ve had others go off to work for companies like HEB Corporate, or Nordstrom as buyers. Some even work for beverage companies and have been very successful.”
Garcia hopes to become either a buyer or category manager when she graduates. “I am still exploring both options and I feel very prepared after my master’s,” she says. “The classes I’ve taken have truly shown me what it’s going to be like in the real world and the industry, so I’m very excited.”