Making the career pivot: An interview away from a global marketing career

Can you successfully switch your career path while working and earning a part-time MBA? Just a decade ago, full-time MBA programs were largely considered the best pathway for those seeking to make a career pivot. Nowadays, part-time MBA programs that allow students to work full-time while pursuing an MBA have seen overwhelming increases in students making successful employer, industry and functional changes during and after earning their MBAs.

Students, faculty, career coaches and employers agree — switching careers in the middle of a part-time MBA requires planning and work. But by leveraging MBA curriculum, network and career advancement services, students have been able to make enormous gains in their careers.

This is one of three stories highlighting University of Utah Professional MBA students who made a major career pivot. Learn about the surprising turns their careers took to get them to where they are and how an MBA helped them land their dream jobs.

Before Ana Slavoff began the University of Utah David Eccles School of Business’s Professional MBA (PMBA) program, she was working as a marketing assistant for an accounting firm. There was not an established marketing department, which Slavoff felt limited her ability to progress within her company.

“As much as I loved the company that I was working for, there was a point where I started thinking the only way to move up was to move out,” Slavoff said.

Since Slavoff had entrepreneurial experience and wanted to move up in the industry, she began exploring options for obtaining an MBA. Her interest was first peaked by the wide variety of elective courses provided by Utah’s PMBA program.

“I think that one of the reasons that I chose the program was because you have the opportunity to customize it through the electives,” Slavoff said. “Having the opportunity to go through classes you really wanted was very important to me. I was really picky about choosing which classes I wanted to take.”

The diversity of courses helped Slavoff tailor her degree to a career she hoped to obtain. Upon enrolling in the program, she began working with Eva Zellman, a career coach in the PMBA Career Advancement Center, to expand her career options.

“I worked a lot with Eva to figure out what my options were,” Slavoff said. “We spent a good amount of time talking about the relationship between networking and job hunting. She said I really needed to get out there and try to find a job by networking because that’s where the majority of the best jobs are. And it turned out exactly like she told me.”

Slavoff attended an American Marketing Association (AMA) conference and spoke with a company, BD, about an open marketing project manager position that matched Slavoff’s interests. She worked with Zellman to prepare for interviews, specifically with formats that Slavoff had not previously experienced.

“Around the same time I interviewed with BD, I was interviewing online for a couple of other companies, and I had never done that before,” Slavoff said. “The program provided a tool that you use to practice interviews online, and that was the exact same software that I used later on in a real interview. The only difference between the real and the mock interview is that I could actually replay my answers, and then try again! It was really helpful.”

Zellman also worked with Slavoff to make sure her answers fully expressed her skill set.

“We kind of role played,” Slavoff said. “She asked me some questions, she listened to my answers, and then she coached me on how she would have answered the questions using the information I had provided. Her feedback really changed and improved the way I approached questions during real interviews.”

Slavoff was offered the position with BD, which included global responsibilities and oversight. The specialized coursework she completed throughout the program aided Slavoff in her position after graduating with her MBA.

“It was really good for me to take the international business class,” Slavoff said. “I look at variance reports every month, so I apply a lot of what I learned in my accounting and finance classes every day, which is something I didn’t think I would do. But it comes with the role, so I am happy that I did take those classes.”

Learn more the University of Utah’s Professional MBA program curriculum and career advancement services. Take your first step by requesting more information, attending an admissions event or contacting our office at 801-581-6836 today. 

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