Online Program Helps Professional Realize Her Dream

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Before taking on the business world, Hannah Dougherty took on the competition at Loyola University New Orleans.

A track athlete, Dougherty found a passion in athletics both on and off the field.

Upon graduation, Dougherty began work as a property manager and while the job paid the bills, it wasn’t what she truly wanted to do. Knowing her love of sports, she began looking for options that would allow her to combine her business background with a career that touched sports in some way.

“It just wasn’t what I was meant to do,” said Dougherty when talking about the property manager role. “I finally figured out that I wanted to go into sports, so I started looking at programs and at the time I was living in New Orleans. The fact that the Miami online program has flexibility was definitely a defining factor. I did some research. I had applied to the University of San Francisco, and the University of Florida but I ended up deciding on Miami.”

Although most of her experience with the program was outside of the classroom given the fact that it is fully online, Dougherty was able to connect with classmates on projects, networking opportunities, and even opportunities to work events.

“I became friends with one of the women in the program by working on a project together and she had sport management company that managed campaigns and events for athletes and brands,” said Dougherty when talking about the connections she was able to foster because of the program. “She ended up flying me to go work for one of her events. Even though we had never met each other we were able to help each other out professionally.”

Given that many people are worried about online programs because of the fact that you can feel out of touch with your professors and classmates, Dougherty believes that the flexibility and opportunities are really what you make out of them.

“For some people, they’re not sure about online because you’re not in class, and you don’t want to get behind, but if you are someone that is in a full-time position, have a family, or have kids, the flexibility is incredible.”

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After graduating from the program, Dougherty took what she learned to start GenUp Sports, a non-profit organization that provides health and wellness education, fitness classes and sports camps to underserved and at-risk youth in North Texas.

While still in its infancy, Dougherty credits the relationships she built and the knowledge she acquired as a catalyst to pushing her to start her own business.

“You can have the degree on paper and I think that that gives you a lot of tools organizations want and need, but the relationships I was able to build and the people I was able to meet was probably the most important part of the whole experience.”  

*UOnline is a proud partner of Front Office Sports