MBA Student’s Skillset Boosts Pharmaceutical Company’s COVID-19 Vaccine Contributions

By Mia Gleason

Daniel Aughenbaugh
Daniel Aughenbaugh wants to help others in his professional life and make a lasting impact on the world.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Washington State University Online MBA student has helped support the supply chain for Moderna’s vaccine.

Aughenbaugh, 35, was recently promoted to project manager at Corden Pharma, where he helps coordinate the development and manufacturing of the lipid excipient used in the vaccine.

The lipid excipient is like a fatty acid, says Aughenbaugh, who previously worked on the project as an analytical research and development chemist. It encapsulates the vaccine’s active ingredient, protecting it and aiding in the delivery to patients during their injection. Corden Pharma is a critical supplier of the lipid excipient.

“This pandemic has affected many lives, and I am blessed to be part of a large team that cares about making a difference,” says Aughenbaugh, a resident of Westminster, Colorado. “It is both exciting and humbling to tackle such an important issue.”

Selecting the right MBA program

Aughenbaugh’s professional goals involve moving into a senior-level management position within the pharmaceutical industry or a related field that offers opportunities to help both individuals and society. With an undergraduate degree in chemistry, he knew an MBA from a top-ranked program would give him the business expertise to go along with his science background.

He says he chose the Carson College Online MBA program because of the intensity of the capstone project, a final team assignment that requires students to incorporate everything they have learned in the MBA program into a fully developed business plan. Additionally, he wanted to enroll in a top-tier program, so the WSU program’s consistently high national rankings appealed to him.

His MBA studies are already helping him refine his approach as a manager, Aughenbaugh says.

“There are two parts of the program that are extremely valuable—learning how to view the workings of a business with the big picture in mind and learning to work more effectively with teams from various backgrounds,” he says.

During his company’s extensive involvement with the COVID-19 vaccine, Aughenbaugh has appreciated the program’s flexibility so he could continue working full-time and attend his MBA classes in the evenings. His advice to those looking to make the most of their MBA experience is to take the time to connect with their classmates.

“Connecting early and often will help your MBA journey in so many ways,” he says. “And stay proactive about your workload and your own personal goals. Sometimes the amount of work is demanding, but the MBA program has given me the knowledge required to successfully contribute to any company at a high level.”

Learn more about the Carson College of Business online MBA programs