Russ Flugel, BS
Degree earned from WPI:
BS, Chemical Engineering
MBA, Purdue University
Why did you choose WPI?
I chose WPI because I enjoyed chemistry in high school, and WPI's well-regarded chemical engineering program offered a great opportunity for me to build my education upon this interest.
How did your experiences at WPI prepare you for graduate school?
WPI prepared me well for a master's in business administration (MBA) at Purdue. I spent five years in the US Army between my WPI undergraduate program and my graduate studies, but I never lost the fundamental analytical skills I learned at WPI. My WPI engineering education allowed me to gain acceptance to Purdue and to excel in the quantitative aspects of a business-oriented curriculum.
How did your studies at WPI prepare you for working in your field?
I currently work as a segment controller in finance for Air Products and Chemicals Inc., where I have been employed since graduating with my MBA in 1998. Air Products is an industrial gases and chemical engineering-oriented company. As a result, while I don't practice engineering in my role, my WPI chemical engineering education continues to provide me with a good understanding of our operations in order to provide financial support for capital investment and operating decisions necessary to grow and improve our business.
How did WPI's philosophy of Theory and Practice, and working with teams, prepare you for facing real-world challenges in the workplace or graduate school?
The philosophy of Theory and Practice was fundamental to the development of my analytical and leadership skills. I am a hands-on person who learns most by doing. As a result, WPI's philosophy really fits the way I learn best. At this point in my career, it is also a philosophy I use to help develop financial analysts as they apply theory learned in the classroom to real-world business decisions, such as determining the financial value associated with opportunities to add new industrial gas capacity in order to serve market demand.
Groups or extracurricular activities in which I participated at WPI:
I was in Army ROTC and a fraternity brother at Tau Kappa Epsilon, where I served as president. Both activities provided me with excellent leadership experience that complemented my technical degree.