Witnessing 24 hours of dance moves planted the seeds for Andrew Benner to grow into a two-time Bowling Green State University (BGSU) graduate.
“I knew at a young age that I wanted to go to college at BGSU,” he said. “When I was a kid, my brother participated in the annual dance marathon at BGSU. I’ll never forget how several members of the football team spent the entire day with my brother and me.”
Benner graduated from BGSU’s online Master of Business Administration (MBA) program in April 2021. Three years earlier, he completed a bachelor’s degree in supply chain management on campus.
“I made unbreakable friendships, met the love of my life and became the man I am today during my undergrad at BGSU,” he said. “That sense of community and family that the university offers fully extended into the online MBA program.”
After the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020, Benner seized the opportunity to return to his alma mater as an online student. He earned the degree while working full time as a procurement specialist at O-I Glass in Perrysburg, Ohio.
“There was no better time to make the best of the situation and focus my newfound spare time in the evenings and nights to better myself and further my education,” he said. “The online MBA allowed me to learn at my own pace, complete the degree path in 11 months and propel my career forward.”
Benner credits his parents and his grandparents with providing him with the resources to fulfill his dream of graduating from BGSU.
“I needed to maximize my potential and do everything in my power to further my education to ensure that the sacrifices and hard work the generations before me put in were acted upon,” he said. “The end goal of my education was never a bachelor’s degree.”
Growing up in Oak Harbor, Ohio, Benner learned the ins and outs of his future profession firsthand from his family.
“My mom, grandma and grandpa worked in supply chain,” he said. “I have been exposed to it for a long time and knew it was something I would like to do. I fell in love with it and knew I was on the right path.”
Benner gained experience through internships during his undergrad, and he has now worked for O-I for three years. Troy Stevenson, his professor for the Strategic Project Management for Supply Chain Change course, was senior manager of North American logistics procurement when Benner started at the company as an intern. Dr. Janet Hartley and his MBA advisor, Connie Disbro, were also big parts of his success at BGSU.
“The skills I learned in my undergraduate courses in supply chain management have proven invaluable thus far in my career,” he said. “Courses like Strategic Project Management for Supply Chain Change in the MBA program were exactly what I was looking for in providing real-world case studies from a knowledgeable professor like Troy Stevenson with vast industry experience in leading multiple cross-functional teams on projects. It was incredibly applicable.”
The knowledge that Benner gained in the online MBA program extends beyond his everyday work duties. He is also a member of BGSU’s Supply Chain Management Institute Advisory Board and leads O-I’s supply chain internship program.
“It has been an absolute gift to be able to speak with students at BGSU and other universities, bring them in for internships and give them real-world projects that allow them the freedom to do their best work and apply the principles they have learned,” he said.
“The greatest gift I have been given was being able to mentor students who have the same passion and hunger to succeed in business and help them reach their career goals in being the best professionals and people they can be.”
With an MBA under his belt, Benner is eager to continue to gain real-world experience and work toward achieving his ultimate career goal.
“I want to lead a company someday,” he said. “I love leading a team and working on projects to better the organization and looking for creative solutions to optimize the value chain. BGSU’s online MBA has provided me with the knowledge and skills to chase my career goals, and I’m excited for the journey ahead. I can’t say enough good things about BGSU.”
Although Benner enjoyed his time on campus as an undergrad, he believes that the online format provides greater opportunity for anybody to experience what he believes makes the university great.
“The online MBA program provides the most flexibility to learn at your speed and still have the resources BGSU provides — a sense of belonging and family,” he said. “Lean on your professors. They are willing to help. Learn from your cohorts. There’s a lot of learning from other people you can do in the MBA program.”
Benner, who enjoys hunting and fishing in his free time, is proud to be a Falcon and is especially glad that his brother decided to participate in BGSU’s dance marathon.
“I wanted to expand my knowledge in corporate finance and organizational behavioral theory and enhance skills that I had to become a better leader,” he said. “Every day is a gift, and we all have the same 24 hours to better ourselves. There is no greater university that provides the value and tools for success than BGSU and the Schmidthorst College of Business.”
Learn more about BGSU’s online MBA program.