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Fred Paul: Certificate Led to Career Change at Caribbean’s Biggest Resort

He is a VIP Manager at the 300-room SLS LUX at Baha Mar as part of the pre-opening team.

Fred - Testimonial Headshot

After finishing his secondary education – the equivalent of high school in the Bahamas -- Fred Paul began a career in commercial banking and earned his way into management.

But the Bahaman citizen had his eye on a career that would take him in a completely different direction: a position at the Baha Mar, a $5 billion glittering new resort just outside Nassau scheduled to open the spring of 2015.

Years in banking, though, didn’t give Paul the experience or education background to jump from banking into the hospitality industry.

“This is when I decided to search for an online hospitality certificate program,” he said. “As a full-time employee I did not have the opportunity or time to sit in a physical classroom, so I knew from the start online would be the only option.”

Paul’s goal was to become part of the largest resort in the Caribbean that sprawls across 1,000 acres with 2,200 rooms in four luxury hotels and plans for a fifth and another 650 rooms, a casino covering 100,000 square feet and 200,000 square feet of convention space.

For Paul, the courses, dedication and ambition paid off. After receiving his Management Certificate in the Business of Hospitality from Michigan State University, Paul received several job offers in hospitality including the one he wanted.

“Today I am a part of the pre-opening team as VIP Manager with SLS LUX and Residences at Baha Mar,” he said.

The SLS LUX at Baha Mar is a top-end property, even among the top-end properties at the resort with 300 rooms that average about $700 a night.

We asked Paul about MSU’s program and what it means to his career.

Q. Tell us about your experience before registering in your certificate program.

After my secondary education I secured a position within the commercial banking industry and worked my way up to management. As a citizen of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas though, I wanted to be a part of the New Bahamian Riviera Baha Mar scheduled to open Spring 2015 which will spread over 1,000 acres and represents the largest single-phase hospitality investment in the Caribbean, and a one-of-a-kind destination resort experience in its operation, range of top-shelf accommodations, services and amenities, and true-to-the-Bahamas setting and design. This is when I decided to search online for a hospitality certificate program.

Q. How has completing this certificate helped you in your career?

After completing the certificate program, I received several job offers locally within the hospitality industry. Today I am a part of the pre-opening team as VIP Manager with SLS LUX and Residences at Baha Mar! The award-winning SLS Hotels, a division of global hospitality company sbe, joins Baha Mar's portfolio of world-class hotels, including Rosewood, Grand Hyatt and the Baha Mar Casino & Hotel, which will cater to an array of upscale international guests.

Q. What made you choose to enroll in Michigan State University’s certificate program?

I decided to pursue my training program through Michigan State University because the first impression is usually the best. From the onset, MSU was hospitable, quickly answered any questions or concerns I had, and provided unwavering support. 

Q. Were you able to apply what you learned immediately?

When I enrolled for the program I was not working directly in hospitality, however I was able to use some of the information learned on my existing job.

Q. What was your most valuable takeaway from the program?

My most valuable takeaway from the program would have to be the teaching method. As a full-time employee I did not have the opportunity or time to sit in a physical class room, so I knew from the start online would be the only option. The information used by MSU always was clear enough for someone like me who had no hospitality experience to understand. Aside from reading materials, the course offered videos which was extremely helpful in learning the information.

Q. What advice would you give to others who are considering enrolling in the program?

My advice to anyone considering to enroll in the program would simply be "Just Do It!" The course is truly amazing!

Q. Do you see yourself taking additional courses or programs and, if so, what are your areas of interest?

Yes, I would definitely complete another program with MSU. My next certificate program will be solely based on management.

Q. What made MSU’s online certificate program the best fit for you?

Flexibility, price and accreditation.

Are you a student or graduate of Michigan State University online degree or certificate program? We would love to share your success story in our Student Spotlight series. Contact us at for additional details. And for more stories like Fred's be sure to view more Success Stories