When Patrick Bonds decided to return to higher education to earn a master’s degree, he had one stipulation in mind.
“I wanted to graduate from a University of South Carolina program,” he said. “I have always been a big USC fan.”
Bonds fulfilled that dream by completing the online Master of Business Administration program at the University of South Carolina Aiken (USC Aiken) in October 2021.
In addition to working full time as director of facilities property services at Lexington Medical Center Extended Care in Lexington, South Carolina, Bond has a busy home life, too. He has three kids with his wife, Caroline — Mary Grace (6), Marlow (3) and Beau (7 months).
“The online format made it easy to manage working full time, having a family and going back to school to earn a master’s degree,” he said. “I did some online in my previous degree programs, so I knew what to expect.
“I enjoyed the flexibility of the MBA program, but cost was also a big factor in my decision to USC Aiken. The tuition was affordable.”
In the System
Bonds is from Winnsboro, South Carolina, where he grew up loving the Gamecocks. He earned an associate degree in industrial technology from Midlands Technical College in 2007 and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business management at Southern Wesleyan University in 2013. Five years later, he went back to school and earned an associate degree in healthcare facilities leadership from Owensboro Community and Technical College.
“I started off in healthcare with new construction and remodeling at the facility that I work for now,” he said. “I worked my way up to my current position.
“I planned on leaving the construction world when I got a position that I thought was maintenance, but it was a construction job.”
Operations Management, the final course that Bonds took in the online MBA program, was his favorite in the curriculum.
“One aspect that stuck out to me was a discussion question about lines at different retail stores,” he said. “Some lines are one on one, but some of them have three different checkout people.
“That made me think more about trying to find the fastest line, and how that applies to business … It was a good course. The USC Aiken professors were also good about getting back to me quickly any time I had a question.”
Bonds enjoyed broadening his business horizons and adding to his knowledge after more than seven years of real-world experience.
“I have been able to use the information that I learned in the MBA program at my job,” he said. “It was also great to get a refresher to what I learned as an undergrad student.”
The Third Degree
During the 15 months as a student in the online MBA program, Bonds had much encouragement from his family. He plans to walk in the commencement ceremony in December of 2021.
“They were supportive of me,” he said. “Since my wife and I have been together, this is the third degree that I have completed. My children have always known me to be in school. I am looking forward to graduation day.”
The program’s accelerated pace was beneficial to Bonds, who wanted a quick time to completion. He has all positive feedback about the program that he shares with others, especially regarding the program’s flexibility and accelerated pace.
“This is a short program with seven-week classes,” he said. “You have about two weeks to figure out what the professor wants and how to get it done. After that, it’s not difficult. I adjusted to it right away.”
Bonds loves his current career status but is ready for future opportunities to take on a different position.
“The MBA wasn’t necessary for my position, but it will help me if I ever want to move up to a vice president position,” he said. “It’s nice to have the MBA on my resume if I ever need it.
“Having an MBA will open career opportunities for me. I got very good value at USC Aiken. It was exactly what I was looking for in an MBA program.”
Learn more about USC Aiken’s online MBA program.