Once Jack Gusciora reached a higher level in his career, he wanted to do the same with his education.
That prompted him to enroll in the Master of Business Administration online program at Pittsburg State University in January 2019. He began his new role as regional service sales manager at Atlas Copco USA, in the greater Chicago area, around the same time.
"I wanted to allow myself to become more marketable in a diverse and competitive market," Gusciora said. "I also enrolled in the MBA program for personal satisfaction and a desire for continued education."
Gusciora started at Atlas Copco USA seven-and-a-half years ago as an industrial air sales manager after receiving a recommendation from a colleague. Since then, he has steadily worked his way up the chain, and plans to continue that trend.
"Right now, I oversee a $30 million business line," he said. "My long-term goal is to become a VP-level business line manager and/or a regional general manager. Earning an MBA will make me more marketable not only with my company for future promotions, but it will also open doors to future opportunities elsewhere."
Plus, his wife, Kathy, enrolled in the same program at the same time. She is a chief financial officer, office analyst and financial analyst for Zurich North America, where she has worked for more than five years.
"We decided to pursue the MBA program together in order to alleviate having to go through the process separately," he said. "Kathy is also looking to expand on her knowledge and become more marketable with her current job and other potential opportunities in the future."
Coming to America
Gusciora was born in Poland and moved to the United States with his family when he was 13 years old. He enlisted in the Army National Guard after graduating from Fenton High School in 2001.
While in the military, Gusciora worked as an infantry man and was utilized as an interpreter on several missions due to his background. He also served in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan between 2008 and 2009 during his 10-plus years of duty.
"I enlisted because I needed a new challenge and refocused direction," he said. "I also felt the need to serve the country that provided me and my family with many opportunities."
While in the Army National Guard, Gusciora also graduated with an Associate of Arts from the College of DuPage in 2004.
After his time in the military, he graduated with a bachelor's degree in business management from the Colorado State University Global Campus in 2014, so he was already familiar with online education before enrolling at Pittsburg State University.
"I heard about Pittsburg State through a friend, Brian Saunders," he said. "I had also done my research, and PSU seemed to be a good fit for my educational needs. Due to my hectic work schedule, which is filled with constant travel, online is the only format to allow me to complete my MBA."
So far, MGT 828: Leadership and Behavioral Management is Gusciora's favorite course in the curriculum.
"That was a very useful course – especially in my current role as a regional manager," he said. "It touched on leadership styles and practical examples I can use in my day-to-day activities regarding people management.
"I utilize and apply the knowledge I have learned in the program in leading my current team and improving efficiency in my daily tasks."
With Gusciora and his wife doing the master's program at the same time, life will be a little crazy until graduation day.
"Going to school — especially taking on an MBA — is taxing on everyone, as it takes time away from family, friends and other activities you could be doing," he said. "However, we both felt it was the right time to do this together. We have full support from our family and friends."
Nearly one year into the online MBA program, Gusciora and Kathy both believe they made a good decision by enrolling together.
"I would tell anybody considering this program to not be afraid to expand your horizons and further your education," he said. "It is a valuable experience that can accelerate one's growth, personally and professionally. The sense of accomplishment and community exists in the online program."
Gusciora and his wife, who is also from Poland, plan to make the trip to Kansas to walk in the commencement ceremony and celebrate their accomplishment in late 2020. From there, the sky is the limit.
"Based on my current experience, I would highly recommend the program," he said. "I am confident that it will further improve my skills as a manager and help me positively contribute to the company's mission and vision for the future."Learn more about the Pittsburg State University's online MBA program.
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