He has walked across a stage in a cap in gown to receive both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering from West Virginia University. He married the love of his life, recently started a family, and even managed to earn a perfect score on the GRE. Even with all of these amazing accomplishments under his belt, Howard wasn’t quite done.
He always wanted to earn a business degree to supplement his technical engineering background; however, as a new father with a full time job and demanding graduate assistantship, attempting to fit a class schedule in with his already full plate seemed nearly impossible. Enter - WVU Online’s Business Data Analytics program.
Howard was immediately impressed with the technical focus of the program and was happy to put his engineering background to good use.
“The College of Business and Economics isn’t cutting any corners with this degree. My classes focus a lot on the storytelling aspect of data analytics which is something that I think is very innovative,” said, Bugg. “The information that comes from data analytics is something that companies have always wanted, but most employers would hire someone with a statistics or computer science degree to do it.”
West Virginia University is one of the first institutions to offer this unique and innovative degree in a master’s and in an online format; however, this is not the only innovative program Howard is part of. He is also the Project Manager for WVU’s EcoCAR 3 team, a collegiate engineering competition that challenges students to transform a Chevrolet Camaro into a hybrid vehicle. Howard manages a team of more than 40 students that work together to make this challenging goal a reality.
“Being a part of both of these programs has taught me the importance of telling a compelling story,” said, Bugg. “I’m already using what I have learned about data analytics in this competition. Sure, you can have all of the correct answers, but it’s how you present that information that really matters.”
Howard also mentioned the real-world experience that he is gaining from participating in the EcoCAR 3 competition.
“Sometimes there are judges listening to technical presentations who do not have a technical background. They hear the same type of presentation from 15 other teams so it’s the way you present the data and how you explain it that really matters,” said, Bugg. Seeing that its relative scoring in the real world and not absolute scoring is a great lesson for myself and for other students to learn.”
There is one question that still remains. How does Howard balance it all? What is his driving force?
“I never really stop. I’m always going, but I couldn’t do it without my support systems. All of the help I get from my wife at home, and the flexibility of my boss and from WVU is what has really made all of this possible.”