Jill Buban, the vice president of digital strategy and online education at Fairfield University, was interviewed by Joshua Kim about her career path and goals. Buban joined the Fairfield University community this past spring to work on the new online program for the Stags. She wanted to focus on the growth of Fairfield U, as well as building interpersonal relationships within the team and community.  

“Our initial goal is to focus on online graduate programs in a thoughtful way that remains true to Fairfield’s educational and Jesuit identity,” Buban stated. 

Not only does she want to focus on achieving her own goals within the University, but also on remaining loyal to the purpose of the community. As a fellow Stag, I believe that this is important for all individuals within the community. Not only do we want the University to succeed and grow, but to grow with the intent of continuing to follow the modern Jesuit Catholic tradition. 

During the interview, Buban was asked about her career path and the effect it had on her role within the Fairfield community. For the first six years, she worked with Meg Benke at SUNY Empire State College. This worked well for her because it pushed her to receive her Ph.D. Not only did it push her to follow through with her academic studies, but it created a pathway for her to utilize her talents within the workplace. 

“In my six years working with Meg [Benke], my passion for teaching and learning in the online environment grew, as did some of my natural talents to lead, build relationships and be a visionary thinker and builder,” Buban said.

After working with Benke, she then worked with a for-profit institution, which she stated led her to an “alt-ac career,” also known as  an “alternative academic career.” This led her to new experiences and lessons that would prepare her for future jobs, and life in general. Her strive for success led her to be named an OLC Fellow. This achievement led her to many more great opportunities within the business community. Not only did she gain more opportunities, but more knowledge, which would only help her advance in the future. 

The information gained from Buban’s career path is extremely valuable for students who are looking to be a part of the business world. The advice she emphasizes throughout her speech is to “learn from a variety of people” and “keep your doors open.” 

No matter what career path an individual takes, it will not be easy, which is something that everyone knows or hears from their mentors. A huge part of it is the drive an individual needs to have in order to get to the top. This is what Buban portrays throughout the interview. 

Her experience allows business students to gain a perspective on how the business world works. She stated how she worked for several institutions and explained how each one impacted her life. Buban gained experience, knowledge and interpersonal relationships, as well as interpersonal skills. These opportunities led her to network, which I know is a skill that college students need to utilize to get in contact with the most successful companies. 

“My advice to these newcomers, or those looking for a career shift to an alt-ac career, is the same advice I give my daughter: keep all of your doors open. By that I mean, don’t miss out on an opportunity to learn something new, network or explore your interests,” Buban said. 

Buban’s key points for students are to gain experience and knowledge, and find new interests. She emphasizes the importance of keeping your options open and wanting to build new experiences to grow as an individual. The more you grow, and the more you know, can only benefit you in your professional and personal paths. 

Buban also states how it is important to learn from others, which goes back to her statement, “keep all of your doors open.” The more you allow yourself to open up to individuals, institutions and opportunities, the more successful you will become within the company with which you work. When working in the business world, you need to be able to work with different people, who have different backgrounds. This will not always be the easiest thing, but it can be less stressful if you allow yourself to open up more about yourself and the knowledge that is being given to you by experts. 

Through reading the interview between Kim and Buban, I enjoyed learning about Buban’s experiences within the business world, as well as the advice she expressed. Everything she said is definitely useful for students. The main point I gained from Buban’s interview is to put yourself out there—the more you do, the more you will gain, as long as you do not give up on yourself and the people around you. 

more you do, the more you will gain, as long as you do not give up on yourself and the people around you. 

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