Q&A with Communications@Syracuse Student Candace Neff

At a recent Communications@Syracuse immersion we met Candace Neff, a student in the program from Columbus, Ohio. She is an account manager for Congressional Bank and a member of the July 2015 cohort. Big into sports and family, she’s interested in cultivating a career in management, ideally in the marketing industry. We asked her to share with us her story—how she learned about the program, what she likes most, and what her plans are for the future.

How did you learn about the program?

I heard about the program through social media. I was running through my Facebook feed, saw the ad and clicked on it. I had been searching for a marketing program for my master’s so it was perfect. Plus, it’s a huge name; Syracuse is one of the best communications schools in the nation. After doing a little research, I felt like it would be the best place to earn my master’s degree.

As a recent undergrad, why did you decide to go back and get your master’s degree?

I’ve always wanted to further my education and better myself. At first, I wasn’t sure how quickly I would go back to school. However, after taking a year off and working in a position that wasn’t “me” at all, I knew I needed to take that step to get myself into a better position where I can do something I love to do—and this is going to get me there.

What sets this online program apart from some of the others you considered?

The reason I chose Communications@Syracuse is because of the reputation. It is such a great network of people. That was a major factor for me. But also, I like the synchronous component. I value the ability to be “in the classroom” without being physically in the classroom. I can work my full-time job and still make time for my education—and still be able to interact with people. That concept of having a face-to-face interaction and still being online was huge.

One of my classmates logs in from Belgium. For him, that’s usually 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning. I really love that dedication. He’s getting up in the middle of the night to attend class from a whole different country—and the program makes it possible for him to do that.

What do you think about the immersions?

The immersions were definitely a big incentive for me. Having the opportunity to come to campus and participate—I’ve been saying it’s been cool to see everyone come alive. During the school year, you see everyone on the screen and then you get to the immersions and it’s like, “Wow! You really do exist!”

Plus, the professors seem really interested in learning what we want and that’s big. It’s not just an online program where you feel like you’re another number. We really feel like we’re joining the Syracuse family.

What were some of your favorite sessions during this immersion?

I don’t want to be that person to say all of the sessions were my favorite, but all of them were so informative. I really liked the Arnold presentation. I thought the video they put together was really inspirational. I would love to be in a position to contribute to something like that. You can tell they love what they do, and it seems like such a fun job.

What did you do after the sessions were finished?

Even before we got here, we knew that after the sessions were finished we wanted to separate ourselves from the schoolwork and have a chance to get to know each other better. We went to a local bar and had a blast. We had a chance to sit down, talk and ask questions. I’m getting to know a lot of really cool people.

Do you know what you want to do when you graduate?

No, I don’t exactly know what I want to do, though I’m sure I will a little further down the road. I feel like this is a good endeavor for me because I have the resources I need—as far as access to alumni, career services, etc.—to figure it out. I know that when I reach that point where I say, “I think this is what I want to do,” there will be opportunities, and I’ll hopefully get to pick what I want to do.

What’s student support like?

I’ve had to call student support quite a bit. They are always so helpful, and I don’t feel like I’m bothering them when I call. They also follow up with me, too, which is huge. I won’t expect to hear back from them, and then someone will reach out and say, “How’s it going?” That means a lot.

Describe what it’s like to be part of the Syracuse family.

Even though I hadn’t attended Syracuse prior to doing my master’s, I feel like I’ve been here forever—mainly because of the relationships I have built with my professors and classmates. It’s hard to describe, but you can tell that we are all part of Syracuse, and we are going to be there to support each other.