February 28, 2024

Photayoke King believes in the transformative power of education, and through hard work and persistence, he is achieving the life of his dreams. And he’s striving to live a life of service to others as well.

Throughout his career, he’s held a variety of positions in different industries, including technical support, medical device specialization, production and food operational management, assembly lead, and personal care assistance.

He graduated with distinction last year with a degree in Business Management, with a 3.60 GPA, and earned his membership in the Century College chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society.

Currently, he’s working as a College Laboratory Assistant with the College’s IT Department, and loves helping students. “I’ve had many great experiences here, and enjoy my roles as navigator, troubleshooter, negotiator, and connector,“ he enthuses. “And everyone I’ve worked with across the College has been truly wonderful. I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to work alongside such supportive and talented individuals.”

Persistence and Achievement

Originally from Burma, Photayoke and his mother came to the United States as refugees. (Photayoke’s mother was a member of the Mon ethnic group in Myanmar [Burma], and his father is Burmese.) Their lives were not easy, which made Photayoke all the more determined to succeed, and he is a model of grace under pressure.

Unfortunately, his mother passed away two years ago, and despite his grief, Photayoke did not give up. He has persisted in achieving his education, while serving his many communities as a volunteer, including the Mon Buddhist Temple of Minnesota, Minnesota Myanmar Community, and the First Baptist Church of St. Paul.

Also, while attending the Hubert Humphrey Job Corps Center for his GED, he volunteered with the City of St. Paul as a data entry specialist. Photayoke is thankful for the help he received, and believes in giving back to others.

Business as a Career Path

Photayoke credits much of his Century College success to the help and guidance he received from counselor Charlotte Nordstrom. “I had no idea where and how to start my college life,” Photayoke remembers. “With Charlotte’s excellent guidance, I efficiently completed all my required classes without wasting time. Additionally, I learned much from faculty members Steve Ramsey (Business Management), Kavi Turnbull (Business Management), Carol Libson (Office Technology), and Lynn Smaagaard (Marketing), and am grateful for their help.

“When it came to choosing a career path, I set my sights on the business program,” he notes, “Century’s Associate Applied Science (AAS) in Business Management degree offers more career and occupational courses than other programs, including courses that focus on general education rather than the specific practices of business. I found these courses particularly useful for anyone seeking to enter the business field.”

Photayoke adds, “The course Legal Environment of Business (BMGT-2051) is one example that I found helpful in explaining the laws that a businessman must adhere to while interacting with clients and customers.

“I also learned about two different types of accounting: Financial and Managerial Accounting, which taught me how to manage labor production following a calculated budget.”

Additionally, Photayoke found what he learned in Personal Financial Planning and Introduction to Business invaluable in managing his daily life.

Future Plans

Photayoke enjoys seeing his dreams come to fruition. “I recently started the Bachelor + Master of Business Administration Degree Combination Program at Metropolitan State University, an achievement that fills me with great pride,” he enthuses. “And this was made possible, in part, thanks to twice being awarded with Century College Foundation scholarships, as well as receiving an external scholarship from the Hubbs Center in St. Paul. Without this assistance, it would have been difficult to cover the costs of my college enrollment.”

He easily transferred to Metro and is excited about his new program “I’m fortunate to have the guidance and expertise of my new team of advisors, including Dr. Erica Berte, my undergraduate faculty advisor, Dr. Angela Bowlus, Director of Advising, College of Management as my advisor, and Dr. Allen Bellas, graduate faculty advisor as MBA and Graduate Certificates Program Director,” he says.

Another opportunity that Photayoke is looking forward to is the 2024 Asian Pacific Americans in Higher Education (APAHE) conference in Oakland, California, as he was selected to be Metro’s student representative.

Photayoke credits Century College with his smooth transition to Metro. “I feel confident that I can achieve great success in my technical and professional pursuits,” he says. “Because all of my completed courses from Century College transferred nicely into the BS + MBA combined program, my decision to accomplish an AAS degree in Business Management at Century College was the best decision I could make! My academic experiences at Century College prepared me well for the future.”


Learn more about Century College: