Joel Bugayong boasts an impressive résumé, highlighted by a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Louisiana State University, various awards and scholarships earned from organizations such as Chevron and Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, and experience serving as an adjunct lecturer and professor at Benedictine College.
A professional chemical engineer from Atchison, Kansas, Bugayong decided to pursue a master of business administration at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln to further propel his blossoming career.
“I chose to pursue an MBA degree to complement my background in engineering and research,” Bugayong said. “Engineers and scientists rely on people with business skills to meet their entry-to-market needs. Having someone with a background in research, engineering and business allows for more efficient transfer of technology and innovation across the value chain.”
In his search for the right program, Bugayong found the College of Business Administration could accommodate his life situation and experience. An outstanding MBA candidate from the start, he was awarded the MBA Frank Hayes Gore Fellowship, a monetary prize made possible by the late May Gore who established the Frank Hayes Gore Memorial Fund in honor of her husband to aid worthy and ambitious MBA students.
Bugayong also earned a position as a graduate assistant in the Center for Entrepreneurship at CBA, allowing him to complete his MBA debt-free. MBA courses are conducted in the afternoons and evenings Monday through Thursday in eight-week mini sessions. The mini sessions allow MBA students to attend school full-time, while only taking one or two classes as a time. This design allows Bugayong to return home to Kansas on the weekends and during campus breaks to spend time with his family, as well as to manage his hours as a graduate assistant, join professional networking groups or pursue other extracurricular activities.
“I was fortunate to be admitted into the program and got the opportunity to complete the degree debt-free,” he said. “Being not-so-distant from my hometown and having a suitable class schedule worked out to my benefit. I also like that I still have considerable time to be engaged in supplementary activities within CBA and around UNL. Having the classes conducted at night and none on Friday has allowed me to pursue other aspects of my career objectives.”
Bugayong credits his on-campus visit for aiding in his decision to come to UNL. He was able to meet with faculty and staff, have a campus tour and ask questions to MBA and Graduate Studies staff.
“Moving to Lincoln was certainly a major adjustment. My prior campus visit was helpful. The faculty and staff are kind and informative. As soon as I started my MBA program, it felt like the missing piece of the puzzle was found,” he said.
In just his first semester at CBA, he has found a more complete perspective into how a business in any industry is operated.
“With engineering, I was trained to understand the principles behind different unit operations and I am expected to identify ways to improve the processes and make them more efficient. With research, I developed innovative skills in material and process development. Nevertheless, I didn’t get to appreciate how they are integrated into the overall function of a firm. While I have just started my MBA program, the two courses I am taking were already providing me a clearer and more complete picture of a firm and its environment,” he said.
Bugayong joined the MBA program in fall 2016 and is anticipating graduation in May 2018. Upon graduation, he would like to continue working in engineering or a materials firm in a strategic leadership role.