Transitioning from student life to the world of work can be challenging for anyone, especially if a new job brings them out of state. It can help employees manage the transition to encounter a familiar face on the first day on the job. For Yongjun Choi, ’14 PhD-BA, that was the case when he joined the same department as Professor Melissa Gruys, ’00 PhD-HRIR, at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio.

“My first reason for applying to Wright State was because Melissa was working here,” Choi explains. “I believe that working with one of our successful HRIR alums is definitely a big plus!”

After graduating from the PhD program last spring, Choi took a job as an assistant professor in the Department of Management and International Business at the Raj Soin College of Business. As he was interviewing for the job, he knew that Wright State was the right place for him to begin his collegiate career in teaching.

“I was extremely impressed by the faculty’s passion for research and teaching,” he says. “They really cared about students and community, as well as research.”

Gruys served on the search committee that was hiring for the assistant professor position, and was excited to see a Carlson School of Management alum on the roster.

“I am absolutely thrilled to have another University of Minnesota grad join my department,” she says.

While Gruys and Choi have not had a lot of opportunities to work together yet, Gruys has been a mentor for Choi as he enters his first full-time teaching job.

“Since my campus interview last year she has given me tons of invaluable advice on how to succeed in academia, which includes research and teaching, and how to balance the two,” Choi says.

As the semester continues, Gruys is looking forward to working more with Choi, and potentially collaborating on research in the future.  “Our research interests overlap a lot,” she says.

Both grads agree the PhD in Work and Organizations program at the University of Minnesota is among the best in the world, and prepares students for great careers in academia. Specifically, Choi is thankful for the amazing faculty who were genuinely invested in his success, and wants to use this positive energy to help his students succeed as well.

“I was surrounded by top-notch researchers and teachers, and had easy access to them which enabled me to grow and pursue my career in academia,” he says. “The Carlson PhD program provided me with a number of great opportunities to develop my professional identity as an educator as well as a researcher.”