For Butch Ferguson, completing a four-year degree is more than a goal. It is his way to resolve a piece of unfinished business. "I left college in 1983 with more than 140 credits, but no degree," he said. "So choosing to go back to school was a very personal thing for me."
As an account manager for Caterpillar since 2002, Ferguson was doing well. But when he learned the company offered tuition reimbursement to complete his bachelor's degree, he immediately looked into online learning options. Capella University—which offered a marketing specialization that was directly applicable to his job—was his top choice. "At Capella, it seemed like every class offered something of value that I could immediately use."
Ferguson's learning experience has been one of give and take. For example, he played a lead role in coordinating a new training program for Caterpillar, and used that experience as a case study in a human resources management course. On the other hand, the veteran account manager was amazed at the new ideas he has been able to apply at Caterpillar from his Capella marketing classes.
"It's exciting to develop that kind of new knowledge," he said. "I've been able to go back and question some of our strategies and day-to-day practices, which sparks creativity in how we approach our jobs."
As part of the Caterpillar University network, Ferguson is identified as a peer resource for employees with questions about Capella and its programs. When he has those conversations, he suggests that co-workers take a close look at what each program emphasizes.
"Some online universities are very interested in how many hours a week you spend online. At Capella, the most important thing is to keep up with your course work and make substantial contributions to the class discussions. If you do that, you will succeed."
"At Capella, it seemed like every class offered something of value that I could immediately use."