Christina Kerr graduated high school a year early at the top of her class. A child of German immigrants, she developed a strong work ethic and high regard for academics. Kerr aimed high as a fashion merchandising and marketing major at Louisiana State University (LSU), but when a student assaulted her at an off-campus party, her plans got derailed. She tried to return to school, but the ensuing trauma and legal process forced her to defer her dream of earning a bachelor’s degree.
After a close friend suggested a change of scenery, Kerr relocated to Altamonte Springs, Florida. She began working at clothing retailer The Limited, where she applied the relevant skills she built at LSU. She excelled and exceeded sales quotas but felt hampered by her incomplete education.
“Moving up in the company hinged on possessing a degree, regardless of work experience or success,” Kerr said. “I was promoted through the ranks based on job performance, but my salary was $15,000 less than my peers who had completed a bachelor’s.”
Kerr ascended the managerial ladder at Chico’s, another clothing retailer, before obtaining her real estate license. She thrived in the residential real estate industry, got married, and had twin boys, all the while dreaming about returning to school.
That urge grew stronger when her infant son, born with a congenital heart defect, needed emergency open-heart surgery. What’s more, Kerr’s father passed away in 2000, making her the primary caregiver for her mother. The precious and fleeting nature of life drove Kerr to do everything in her power to achieve her dream before her 61st birthday.
“School was stolen from me, and that theft is a real trigger,” she said. “I knew one day, no matter my age, I would find an academic environment where I could learn on my own terms. Georgia State provided that opportunity.”
As a first step, Kerr graduated from Georgia State’s Perimeter College (PC) in 2018 with an associate degree. Before her final semester at PC, Kerr received a message from Ritu Lohtia, director of the new Online B.B.A. program at Georgia State’s Robinson College of Business. Because of the nature of her profession, a hectic travel schedule, and family obligations, earning a bachelor’s through traditional, in-person classes was impossible. An online option presented Kerr with the chance to finish what she had started.
Kerr’s courses have expanded her approach to her real estate career. For example, in Jennifer Daniels’ Buyer Behavior course, she examined data and psychographics, and developed customer personas to assess the likelihood of potential buyers’ following through with a purchase.
“My experience at Robinson instilled in me a tremendous amount of confidence. I am far more capable than I realized,” Kerr said. “The Online B.B.A. forced me to self-regulate and prioritize my time, which I have applied to my profession.”
With new knowledge and skills as well as many years of real estate experience under her belt, Kerr has set her sights on working for an international developer within the office sector. She also plans to attain Graduate, REALTOR® Institute designation, which will help her stand out in a competitive market.
Kerr will graduate summa cum laude on May 5 and turn 61 on May 15, meeting her goal and achieving her lifelong aspiration.