Are You a Career Accelerator or a Career Switcher?

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Are you a career accelerator or a career switcher? This was a question that someone first asked me during part-time student orientation. In other words, did I intend to stay at my current company and to obtain my MBA with the hope of getting promoted or was I looking to get my MBA in order to change careers? My response was to get all wide-eyed and panicked. How was I supposed to know what I would be doing with my degree? I had not even started my classes.

I am telling you now that it is okay not to have an answer right away. The greatest opportunity I gave myself when starting the program was to keep my options open. So go ahead. Explore! Network! Take classes outside of your comfort zone! Not knowing the answer right away provided me with the opportunity to learn more about different industries through interacting with company representatives and fellow classmates. Through these actions I realized my passion for the medical device industry and found my answer: I was a career switcher. 

So, what happened next? My realization that I was a career switcher created new challenges. After talking to the Graduate Business Career Center and connecting with alumni and industry professionals, I knew that in order to transition into the medical device field I would need to increase my marketability. I did this by becoming involved with the Carlson Medical Industry Leadership Institute, MILI. I took health care focused classes in medical technology, innovation, and product valuation. I also participated in a case competition and built a recommendation around how a company could assist underserved populations in managing their care. Most importantly I continued to network. I networked with my classmates, colleagues, alumni, and industry professionals. 

What was the result of my actions? I am excited to share with you that I will be transitioning into a marketing internship opportunity with a medical device company this summer. My hard work and persistence paid off.

How is this relevant to you? If you know what you what career path you want to take with your MBA, great! For those of you that remain undecided, my advice is to accept the unknown for what it is; the opportunity to explore new career paths and learn something about yourself that may surprise you. Leveraging and accepting the unknown may be the greatest opportunity you give yourself.