Christopher Bustillos is stacking up degrees. He is now on college degree number four, and master’s degree number two.
“My family is not surprised. They know I love school,” Bustillos said. “And they know I’m going to continue after this.”
It was that love for school and a passion for learning that led Bustillos to enroll in the online Master of Science in Media Management program at Arkansas State University. He’s pursing a Digital Media Track in the program.
“It’s not really the master’s degree that I’m after. A-State has concepts I want to learn. That’s what draws me to it.”
Bustillos, who is a sales representative at Sherwin-Williams, already holds a Master of Business Administration, a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing, and an Associate of Arts in Accounting and Business. Being the first in his family to earn a college degree, Bustillos is cultivating the family legacy. His parents wonder when he will call his education complete.
“Each time I go back, my dad jokes saying ‘how much prouder can I be,'” said Bustillos. “A favorite phrase of mine is ‘A flower blooms when it’s ready — not sooner, not later.'”
Bustillos enjoys the thrill of learning something new. His return to school feeds this urge while equipping him with the expertise he’ll need to work in digital media.
He took the initiative to connect and collaborate with A-State faculty, Holly Kathleen Hall and Dr. Myleea Hill, associate professors of strategic communication. Thanks to his takeaways from their teaching and lectures, he feels confident of his media expertise.
“I’m great at sales, but I’m much better at marketing,” said Bustillos, who embraces every opportunity to engage in the latter — both in his job and on side projects. He aspires to eventually blend marketing with media in his career and views the MS in Media Management as a step toward his goal.
Curiously, it was marketing that served up Bustillos’ first taste of A-State’s MS in Media Management when an ad for the school topped his Google search for master’s program digital media.
“When I first read about A-State, I was learning about search engine optimization, a marketing tactic. It happened by luck,” he said.
The serendipity sparked Bustillos’ interest in A-State’s Digital Media Management online master’s program. Reviewing the program website and reading the course descriptions led him to conclude it was the ideal degree for him.
“I loved the course names. That’s one thing that piqued my interest,” Bustillos added. “All the classes are independent of each other. In other schools, you have to follow a structured path; here you have more liberty on how you take the courses.”
Bustillos went the extra mile in his research by contacting students and program graduates through LinkedIn. Their positive testimonials provided the final push he needed to enroll.
The online format and tuition rate of the master’s program were added benefits.
“Online makes it more accessible,” said Bustillos. “And, it’s really one of the more affordable programs that I had researched.”
An Inquisitive Mind
Bustillos brings a growth mindset and enthusiasm for learning to his college endeavors. Even when he accidentally registered for JOUR 6243: Media Account Management, a class outside his master’s program curriculum, he found value in the topics covered. “I will be emailing the dean of the university to propose that Media Account Management be a part of the digital media curriculum,” he said.
To maximize learning and get ahead of the game, Bustillos relies heavily on email.
“I’m the person who’ll try to get as much juice as I can from a lemon. I email professors before taking their class to ask for the syllabus,” said Bustillos. “The professors are resources for me. I’m going to learn as much as I can from them.”
Bustillos’ educational journey has led him down many paths. Since he first started out not that long ago, he has changed his major four times with forays into music, medicine and accounting, finally leading to marketing.
“I was doing music for a while, playing the guitar, and then I realized that degree was not going to help me achieve my overall goals in life, so I switched to marketing and I’m complementing that with media,” said Bustillos. “And here I am.”
Playing the guitar is still a strong passion for Bustillos whose priorities now lie in the bigger picture. His continuous learner mindset enables him to set high ambitions for himself and work hard to achieve them.
“One day I will be a chief marketing officer in media,” Bustillos said. “The sky is the limit. Right now, I’m just building my arsenal.”
Learn more about A-State’s Master of Science in Media Management online program.