Roadtrip! Earning a Degree While Traveling the Country
Two UAlbany students finished the evening MBA while journeying in a campervan.
Kyle Bucklin finished his MBA in entrepreneurship while traveling the country in a camper van.
ALBANY, N.Y. (Feb. 6, 2018) – Two UAlbany students chose a unique path to earning their MBAs, a winding route that took them through more than 20 U.S. states.
Kyle Bucklin and Elena Brondolo, a couple in the evening MBA program, spent last semester road-tripping across the country in a 2002 Chevy van, along with their dog, Marbles.
After a job layoff and with questions about the future looming, Bucklin said the timing to take a road trip seemed right; plans quickly fell into place.
“We decided last minute we were going to do it for the fall term,” he said, saying that they both had been thinking about how to more meaningfully deliberate about their post-graduate plans.
With help from Brondolo’s father, Bucklin spent three weeks gutting and renovating the van, installing a bed frame, kitchen cabinetry and a heater.
Brondolo, whose concentration is in management, said that even sorting through the academic logistics were not as daunting as they first thought.
“We were able to register the whole semester online in a couple of weeks, which made the trip possible,” said Brondolo, who concentrated in management.
Not surprisingly, finding dependable wifi was a challenge, as was keeping up with the ever-changing time zones. But working towards a degree gave them a sense of purpose, Bucklin said.
“I didn’t so much feel like we were on vacation, but more like we were working on the road and being able to experience a new thing outside every day,” he said.
New things included biking, exploring national parks, paddle boarding and surfing.
Bucklin, who earned his degree in entrepreneurship, said the trip was also an opportunity to meaningfully reflect on his coursework.
“I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how businesses create their competitive advantage,” he said. “It was fun to be taking a strategy course while driving around the country and thinking about all these businesses we’re passing and going into.”
Brondolo said experiencing so many different cultures within the United States enriched her research on how values affect workplace dynamics.
Her trip highlight? Making a vegan Thanksgiving meal at a campsite in Texas, complete with a made-from-scratch pumpkin pie and Mushroom Wellington.
Though not all evening MBA students decide to pursue their studies on the road, the program is designed to provide the flexibility and support needed to earn a degree as a busy professional. Classes are typically one to two evenings a week, and can take two to six years to complete.
The couple celebrated Thanksgiving on a campsite in South Padre Island, Texas.
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A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany-SUNY offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, public health, health sciences, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.