From Air Force to Finance: How My MBA is Shaping My Career Transition

Adapting to the emergence of AI and machine learning

John Paul Salacup Estigoy MBA 25 with wife and daughter
John Paul Salacup Estigoy MBA 25, with his daughter and wife, says one of the key reasons he chose the UC Davis Part-Time MBA program was to balance his family and work priorities.

Working as an aircraft mechanic in the Air Force, I was responsible for ensuring the safety and functionality of complex machinery, often in time-sensitive situations. The attention to detail and problem-solving abilities I learned helped me transition into the corporate finance world.

One of the most significant parallels between my military experience and my finance career is the emphasis on adaptability and resilience in the face of challenges.

In the Air Force, I learned the importance of effective communication and the value of working closely with a diverse group of individuals to achieve a common goal. I’m putting those skills into play every day in my current role as an assistant finance manager at The Clorox Company.

While my military background provided a solid foundation for my transition into the corporate world, I recognized that the global business landscape has shifted significantly and will continue to do so.

From changes in consumer behavior post-pandemic to the emergence of AI and machine learning, I decided to take the step of expanding my skills and knowledge further by pursuing a UC Davis MBA.

Pursuing an MBA 

There were many considerations in choosing the graduate school that was the right fit:

  • Faculty and program: Learning from a top faculty was a driving factor, but equally important to me were class size and collaboration
  • Flexibility/part-time hybrid schedule: Knowing I would still be working full-time, it was vital for me to choose a program with a part-time, hybrid schedule that balanced my family and work priorities. This was especially important to me as a husband and father.
  • Location: Being able to network with a diverse blend of professionals in person was a crucial decision in choosing a program. I wanted a location with a vast network of professionals from different industries.  
JP Salacup Estigoy sitting in flight engineer station
JP Salacup Estigoy in his flight engineer station in a C-5 aircraft during his Air Force service.

Why I Chose UC Davis

What I was looking for in a graduate school I found at UC Davis. The Graduate School of Management has a globally recognized faculty and is also continuously ranked among the top Part-Time MBA programs at public universities and a Gold Top 10 Military Friendly school.

The convenience of the Bay Area campus allowed me to visit and experience firsthand the one-on-one conversations students had with the faculty, as well as the quality of the in-class experience. From that moment, I was sold on the program, and having finished my first year in 2023, I have no regrets.

I am excited as I think about what the future holds on my professional journey. As I continue to progress in my career, I am grateful for the solid foundation laid by my military experience and the opportunities afforded to me through pursuing higher education at UC Davis.