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Pam Hove and Kevin Gonzales, MS in Management, Strategy and Leadership

By Bisk

Watch this video of online MSMSL classmates reuniting at graduation.

Michigan State University’s online programs are designed to encourage interaction and teamwork among students. While earning their Master of Science in Management, Strategy and Leadership degrees, Pam Hove and Kevin Gonzales found collaborating on coursework led them to a long-lasting friendship.

“Kevin is one of my teammates in our cohort,” said Hove, who has been an employee of Steelcase, Inc. in Grand Rapids, Michigan for 34 years. “He's from Texas. We were assigned as part of a team in the second class during the cohort, and we've just kind of became study buddies, and helped each other out throughout the program.”

Hove now holds three master’s degrees. Over the years she’s been with Steelcase, she has worked as an engineer, consultant and development director. Almost every week, Hove found new tools in the MSMSL program that could be applied to her current role developing a talent management support system for Steelcase’s independent dealer network.

Meanwhile, Gonzales traveled the United States for years building wind farms with Granite Services International. He now helps run his family’s automobile business, which he hopes to take over after his parents retire. Gonzales wears many hats: buyer, salesman, marketing strategist and more. For him, the MSMSL program meant new ideas, new ways to lead and a better view of the big picture.

“I got to collaborate with a lot of different students,” he said. “Some have been in a management role for 20-plus years. It's invaluable to me since I'm not as well-seasoned. And Pam? She's a wonderful person. I met her through the program just chatting and then we exchanged email addresses and phone numbers. She's been with her company for over 30 years, has a lot of management experience, and is just a great person overall.”

While both Hove and Gonzales benefitted from learning together, they discovered even greater value in their personal friendship.

“I made a new friend because of this program,” Gonzales said. “We share similar morals and values. Pam is a very caring person, she's honest, and demonstrates great integrity. She's a good friend on both a personal and professional level.”

Hove agreed they both gained more than a study partner.

“We talked football and March Madness. And what’s really nice is, because Kevin is much younger than I am, I gained a better perspective of people in his age group. We grew up in different times and our experiences have been very different, so I think we each learned a lot from the other.”

Reputation and Flexible Scheduling

Why did Hove and Gonzales choose MSU’s Master of Science in Management, Strategy and Leadership program? They gave a variety of reasons, but both noted the school’s reputation.

U.S. News & World Report ranks MSU in the top 20 for Online Graduate Business Programs, and Forbes named Michigan State among the top 25 for U.S. Business Schools. The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Ranking 2018 places MSU in the top 8% of universities in the United States.

For busy professionals like Hove and Gonzales, the flexible scheduling of MSU’s online programs can be equally important. Students can watch recorded lectures, work on assignments, take exams and interact through chat rooms and message boards at any time, from anywhere they have an internet connection. 

“The way the platform is set up, it’s easy to interact with one another,” Gonzales said. “Not just the students, but the professors as well. The technology is great, it’s easy to navigate throughout the website. To me, it’s been a great learning experience!”

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

Category: Student Spotlight