E125 - Michael Bushong at Juniper Networks

Harry Baily
Michael Bushong

By Harry Baily & Michael Bushong

On today’s episode of The Route to Networking, our host Harry Baily was joined by Michael Bushong, Group Vice President at Juniper Networks. During this episode, they discuss how Michael got into his current role at Juniper Networks and the journey he’s taken to get to where he is today. Michael also delves into his education and whether or not he recommends the college route.

One big transition in Michael’s career occurred when his previous company, Brocade, was acquired by Broadcom. Faced with a pivotal decision, Michael spent a couple of weeks exploring various opportunities. Ultimately, he chose the individual contributor route, returning to Juniper Networks. This transition also presented him with the chance to relocate to San Diego, a change that he was eager to embrace.

Soon after joining Juniper Networks, Michael was asked to step back into a leadership position and lead the enterprise marketing team. Demonstrating his talent and dedication, he was entrusted with an even larger role: overseeing the enterprise and security marketing team. However, when approached to transition into a product role, Michael initially declined the offer.

Despite Michael’s initial refusal, the company persisted for four months, recognising his valuable skill set. Eventually, they successfully persuaded him to accept the new challenge. Today, he is responsible for running the worldwide data centre for the company, showcasing his exceptional leadership capabilities.

The College Route…

Reflecting on his educational background, Michael holds a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. When discussing the value of a college degree, he strongly recommends pursuing higher education. The college experience offers more than just knowledge in a specific field; it teaches important life skills such as independence, the ability to learn effectively, and the discipline to focus and take notes during lectures.

While Michael didn’t complete his degree, he acknowledges the immense benefits he gained from his time at university. The experience helped shape his approach to learning and fostered essential qualities that have been instrumental in his professional success.

Lessons learnt…

While discussing his journey, Michael unveiled an unconventional lesson he learned—one that couldn’t be found within the pages of any textbook. The power of being comfortable with saying “I don’t know” became a transformative force in his career, liberating him to embrace the vast knowledge and opportunities the networking industry presents.

Advice to his 16-year-old self?

Michael’s first piece of advice to his younger self is to get rid of any self-doubt. Doubt can be paralysing, preventing people from taking risks and reaching their full potential. By recognising and challenging self-doubt, you can open doors to new opportunities, embrace challenges, and discover untapped abilities.

Another valuable lesson Michael learned is the role of shame in seeking help. Many individuals feel shame when they need help, believing it means weakness. Michael advises his younger self—and others—to remove this thought. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness; it is a great act that demonstrates a commitment to growth and a desire for self-improvement.

Tune in on the 08/06/2023 to hear the full episode!