When the global pandemic shut down the travel element of Cortney Campbell’s business, she seized the opportunity to return to college. Her higher education stay has been much longer than she anticipated.
After graduating from Boise State University’s online Bachelor of Business Administration in Management in 2020, Campbell began a new phase of her career by becoming an instructor at the College of Southern Idaho.
“I was ready for a change,” she said. “I was looking for something new, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do for a career.
“The professors at Boise State inspired me to want to teach. They stood out because they had different life experiences that they were willing to share. I wondered if I had those things to share with students.”
Campbell returned to Boise State as a full-time faculty member in December 2022. She recently became a full-time resort and hospitality management lecturer for her alma mater. She also still teaches digital marketing at the College of Southern Idaho.
“It’s like a dream come true to go into the department where you loved being a student and becoming a teacher,” she said. “It still blows my mind.”
With her busy schedule running her business, Infinity Lights, the online format provided Campbell with the flexibility to add school to her life.
“Online was an incredible way to get it done,” she said. “I could learn at my own pace. We learned in stacks, so we took something we learned the previous week and built on it. I was a big fan of listening to the books. I would drive to a trade show and listen to our readings for the week.
“The way the online, asynchronous format is set up enables a lot of people who aren’t able to fit in a synchronous meeting component to get their bachelor’s degree.”
Campbell, who was born and raised in Twin Falls, Idaho, enrolled at Boise State as a multi-ethnic studies major when she was 19 years old. She left to start her business, where she manufactured and marketed many products including the popular Infinity Lights, and built a successful career.
“Being in my forties and thinking about going back to school, I thought I wouldn’t fit in, or I was on the fringe,” she said. “The business management program is so welcoming for working professionals who can work at their own pace with an opportunity to network.”
After graduating with a Master of Business Administration from Idaho State University in 2021, Campbell enrolled in ISU’s Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) program. She continues to gain experience while working toward completion of that degree.
“I went back to school to pursue my dream of fulfilling my education,” she said. “I am so much more appreciative of education now.
“It’s amazing how all of your life experiences carry you to where you’re meant to be next. It guides you based on the knowledge you gain along the way.”
While in the online BBA in Management, Campbell enjoyed the entrepreneurial courses. However, the capstone course proved to be especially valuable and applicable.
“We had to take a problem we saw in a business and turn it into an opportunity,” she said. “I didn’t have an exit strategy for my business. I had semi tractor trailers and a warehouse full of stock. I decided I am going to teach, so I used the capstone course to streamline my business and go to an eCommerce format.
“I also loved watching students who either have an existing business, who are using the program as a vision board for a business they want to open, or who were utilizing the course for companies they work for as intrapreneurs. That’s awesome.”
Once a Bronco, Always a Bronco
Because of the pandemic, Campbell’s commencement ceremony was virtual. That didn’t stop her from celebrating her accomplishment of earning a bachelor’s degree.
“The ceremony was beautifully done online,” she said. “The president of the university spoke. We were watching it on my iPad.
“My little Chihuahua was running around, going crazy. I think he could feel the excitement. The college did an incredible job during the pandemic.”
Campbell said that her parents, Suzan and Roger Campbell, are especially proud of her for going back to school, then embarking on a second career.
“I am incredibly close to my mom and dad because I am an only child,” she said. “I am also a first-generation college student, so it meant a tremendous amount to my parents.”
Now that Campbell is teaching at Boise State, she can pass on her personal experience of being a successful online student.
“It is easier to work around your schedule than you think,” she said. “I had an amazing advisor. She told me it would be easier to meet my schedule needs than I thought, and she was right.”
“You have to do the work and studying, but you can mold the program around your life. You can find value in activities that you are probably already working on at work. It can be part of your learning experience in the classes.”
Campbell is grateful that a return to Boise State led her to a second career. She has no plans to leave any time in the foreseeable future.
“No one meets the spirit of Boise State in terms of the community it creates for students, faculty and alumni,” she said. “I would recommend the BBA in Management to anyone looking for professional growth and personal growth. It was an incredible experience. It’s a thriving program.”
Learn More About the Online Business Management Degree
Want to learn more about Boise State’s online Bachelor of Business Administration in Management? Join us for an online information session or contact a student success coach.