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Becoming Irreplaceable - How a Daniels School graduate stayed relevant in an ever-evolving supply chain industry


Easier. That’s the word Kirrel Anthonette Bongco uses to describe the impact that her MS in Global Supply Chain Management has had on her life since pursuing it.

Many aspiring learners and working professionals hesitate to pursue their further education, fearing it will only add to their already long list of tasks. However, they are often surprised to find that education is anything but burdensome. In reality, it can open doors to new opportunities and make life easier.


When Bongco first moved from the Philippines to the United States in 2019, she found herself juggling various challenges. From unfamiliar faces to the desire for a fresh start in her professional life, pursuing a master’s didn’t initially seem like the obvious next step – but it quickly proved to be the most natural.

With more than 12 years of experience in supply chain management, Bongco has always found the world of import cargo, resource constraints and uncertainties to be exciting. However, since completing her undergraduate degree in 2010, she found her knowledge set to no longer be as relevant, instilling an aspiration for change.

Kirrel Anthonette Bongco with her loving and supportive family, including husband Carlo and son Dylan.

That’s what brought Bongco to the Daniels School of Business: a desire to stay relevant and a commitment to professional growth. Bongco recalls choosing Purdue University to be “a strategic decision,” as she sought a program that allowed education to be a part of her life, and not take it over. Moreover, as a mother, the fully accessible and widely recognized online master’s allowed Bongco to pursue her degree at the intersection of comfort and flexibility.

“Being a working mom and completing a degree like this in the span of two years is amazing,” says Bongco.

Bongco recognizes that global supply chain management is more than just logistics. It deals with one’s ability to make changes within an organization, manage oneself, build a trustworthy team, and create an environment that fosters honest and open communication. All of these aspects stem from a strong foundation of soft skills – one that the Daniels School has helped Bongco build since day one.

"It’s not just about your technical skills, but transferring your soft skills into strong leadership."

Aside from soft skills, what made a Purdue degree stand out for Bongco was the seamless integration of data and technical knowledge. Across programs of the Daniels School of Business, ranging from marketing to business analytics, technical knowledge lies in the backbone of every degree. Bongco gains from this valuably, as she describes how she has used data to make influential business decisions every day.

“I want to be analytical and have people skills that I can use. Purdue has given me exactly that,” shares Bongco. This combination is what has allowed Bongco to thrive, and has helped her to deliver valuable insights as a senior operations specialist.

“My team comes to me for answers because they know I can help them and that Purdue taught me how to help them.”

Since obtaining her MS in global supply chain management, Bongco has noticed a significant difference in her job-hunting experience compared to before earning her degree. Before pursuing her master’s, Bongco described herself as having low confidence, as employers often highlighted her inexperience in certain areas – considering how rapidly the industry evolved. However, she has now bridged those experience gaps and cultivated a strong foundation for her to continuously adapt her skills to the changing demands of the industry.

“In interviews, they notice Purdue right away. Having Purdue in my resume made a huge impact on how I was able to secure my current job and my promotion to senior operations specialist in the same company,” says Bongco.

Apart from the academic benefits, Bongco found the degree to be a pathway for her to deal with the various emotions that came with settling into a new country. From making new friends online and outside of the classroom, to learning how to cope with feelings of not belonging, the degree was more than an educational pursuit, but a form of support that allowed Bongco to graduate as the best version of herself.

“I had this fear that I didn’t belong here. But my electives like Change Management and Leadership really helped me,” notes Bongco. “I learned to recognize my clever stories and re-frame them into better ones.”

"I need to be relevant in this job market. I want to evolve with the industry."

Pursuing an MS online came with various opportunities to network and interact with classmates offline. Bongco remembers being able to meet with classmates regularly, planning out activities together, and the many ways in which professors made courses interactive.

People frequently asked Bongco how she managed to do it all, and upon reflection, she realized that when she was immersed in the learning process, she didn’t find the adjustment hard because the course was genuinely engaging for her. What excited her even more was the realization that her homework wasn’t just about finding answers; it was about extracting value that she could apply in her industry to make calculated decisions.

This led to one of her key philosophies: “If you don’t start anything, you’re always going to wonder and think you can’t do it. But if you’re really into it, if you’re passionate about learning, things will fall into place,” shares Bongco. “I’m so glad I found Purdue and it took me to a point where everything is now so easy.”

If you would like to receive more information about pursuing a business master’s at the Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. School of Business, please fill out the form and a program specialist will be in touch!

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