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Juan Camilo Gomez Turns Severance Package Into Master’s Degree

MBA student Juan Gomez
Juan Camilo Gomez

Although Juan Camilo Gomez faced the dark cloud of leaving his job, there was a blue and orange lining.

“My company was going through a merger,” he said. “I had two options — severance or a different role to stay with the company. I took the severance option.

“I thought it would be a few thousand dollars I could use for some sort of specialization or course, but I found out that I could pay for a master’s degree, so I decided to go to school full time.”

Gomez will complete the online Master of Business Administration (MBA) with an Emphasis in Management program at Boise State University in August 2020.

“Online education is amazing for me,” he said. “The program is exactly what I wanted. It’s one of the primary reasons I went with Boise State. I enjoyed talking to my advisors in the early stages as I was trying to make a decision. It was an easy choice.”

Being able to specialize in management and complete the program in 12 months by doubling up on courses also piqued Gomez’s interest.

“As I reviewed the different electives, I enjoyed the ones that focused on technology and operations,” he said. “Boise State was good for me because I got answers right away, and I was able to get on calls and talk to people about my questions.”

Gomez lives in Lincoln, Nebraska, where he worked as a senior process manager for Capital One/Cabela’s Club for almost four years before enrolling in the online MBA in Management program in Summer 2019. He believes the degree will open doors in his career.

“A lot of the roles that I liked always preferred a master’s degree,” he said. “Now that I have gone through the program, I can see why.”

The Online Experience

Gomez was born and raised in Medellin, Colombia, South America, but he has lived in the United States for more than 15 years. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in advertising and market research from the University of Nebraska in 2010.

“I did some online courses during my undergrad,” he said. “It was a little difficult my freshman year. I was not as focused on what I wanted, so I slacked off a little bit. Now, with years of experience, online is a good fit for me.”

Although BUSMBA 535: Information Technology and Business Alignment is Gomez’s favorite course in the program so far, he found BUSMBA 515: Corporate Finance and BUSMBA 525: Managerial Accounting to be the most beneficial.

“I wouldn’t say that they were my favorites, but they were the most helpful to me because I never had a lot of training in those areas in my undergrad,” he said. “They were challenging and tough, but I liked being able to learn more about those two topics. I had some experience in those areas, but it makes so much more sense when you have formal training.”

Gomez also enjoys the relationships he has forged with his fellow online classmates from different parts of the world.

“I like that it is easy to build partnerships with the other students,” he said. “In every class, I found one or two people with whom I had a good working relationship and could exchange questions. That was better than I expected from an online program.”

Becoming a Bronco

Once Gomez completes the online MBA in Management program, he plans to pick up where he left off in the workforce.

“The number one thing that I want is a job that will let me work remotely,” he said. “I am not tied to a certain industry, but I am hoping for a role in the areas of operations management, product management or business analytics. Those are the fields I worked in previously.”

When life returns to normal from the coronavirus pandemic, Gomez plans to return to indulging in his passion for travel.

“I try to go to as many places as I can — domestic and international,” he said. “I am a budget-savvy traveler. I get good deals on airline tickets and hotels. I also love riding my bicycle around town and on trails and working on DIY home improvement projects.”

Hopefully, one of those trips on his agenda will be to Idaho in December to walk in the commencement ceremony at Boise State.

“Things are weird now, but I hope to be there,” he said. “Most of my family is still in Colombia. They are happy I am working on my master’s degree. Both of my parents and my uncle, who recently earned his master’s degree, are attorneys. They always want me to try to continue my education and push myself.”

Although moving on from a job was not an easy decision, Gomez is happy to make the most of a tough situation and enhance his higher education and business acumen.

“There’s a baseline, but there’s a way for you to make the MBA in Management program your own and make the best that you can out of it in your areas of focus. I am happy with it.”

Learn more about the Boise State online MBA in Management program.