How pursuing an MBA in a foreign country helped me to become the critical change agent of my career

“Successful careers are not planned. They develop when people are prepared for opportunities because they know their strengths, their method of work, and their values. Knowing where one belongs can transform an ordinary person—hardworking and competent but otherwise mediocre—into an outstanding performer.”

I started working in User Experience Design fourteen years ago. It was called Information Architecture (IA) at that time. My undergraduate degree is in Computing with an emphasis in Business Management, and I have a master’s degree in Information Architecture. This master’s degree changed my whole career. I chose my undergraduate degree based on my pragmatic philosophy, but rapidly, I realized I wasn’t satisfied with that. So, becoming an expert in Information Architecture perfectly mixed two passions: technology and design. 

User Experience Design changed drastically during the last decade. At the same time, it got more important in most companies’ decisions; it started to compete with adjacent areas such as marketing, customer service, and ethnography research. I love what I do; I love where I am. It is immensely gratifying to work with the bleeding edge technology, with the best engineers I’ve ever met. I like the challenge. I like how it is huge. All this scenario lighted up a question inside me: what should I do to keep moving forward my career without compromising my values?

I moved to the US almost three years ago. Even though it was a great opportunity, it was also a tough decision. I came as a UX Designer for a VERY engineer-driven company. And my husband didn’t come with me at that time, so I spent one year by myself struggling to adapt to a new culture. One year later, more established, I decided to start this MBA program. It was nine years since my last graduation, and it is my first degree in a foreign country. Because it wasn’t challenging enough (just kidding), at the same time I had the opportunity to move to a new team, and of course, I accepted.

The Willamette MBA for Professionals has a crucial role in all this transition. It was the best decision ever. With it, I have experienced American culture more deeply and learned from different professional expertise. As Sam and Seile said, we are just in the middle of the whole program, and we’ve learned so much: Finance, Accounting, Statistics, Leadership, Strategy, Management… Most of this I still can’t apply on a daily basis in my current role. However, it opens my mind and helps me to keep the focus on the big picture and broader impact every decision has within the company strategy.

I’ve been at Intel advocating for developers for almost six years. I’ve learned and developed as a professional significantly during this period. Currently, I’m the Community Manager for Clear Linux* Project; an Open Source Linux Distribution optimized for Intel platforms. It looks a perfect match between my User Experience background and a strategic and influential role I was looking for. As a Community Manager, I’m highly focused on Open Source and Developer Experience through strategic community design, I’m the brand’s ambassador, engaging with potential contributors and building relationships with existing ones, using social tools to monitor feedback and engagement. I’m eager for the ‘whys.’


Steven Pousty @ DevRel 2019
http://bit.ly/kickasskathy

I want to share a piece of one of the most significant courses we’ve had so far, in my opinion. All the discussions, material, and reflection have had a massive impact on how to drive my career at this new phase. Thank you so much, Professor Polly Rizova. For everything. It was an incredible semester!

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

The “Managing Oneself” article guides us through several uncomfortable and intriguing questions to help in this solitary journey to discover our purpose and the best way to combine our strengths and self-knowledge to achieve real— and lasting—excellence. 

Beyond that, Drucker affirms:

“Successful careers are not planned. They develop when people are prepared for opportunities because they know their strengths, their method of work, and their values. Knowing where one belongs can transform an ordinary person—hardworking and competent but otherwise mediocre—into an outstanding performer.”

Managing Oneself (Harvard Business Review Classics)
BOOK Peter F. Drucker

We are the critical change agent of our careers. We should advocate for ourselves, and the only way to do that is by cultivating a deep understanding of who we truly are.

I’ve worked from startups to multinational companies, but nothing was so challenging and enlightening as living in another country and pursuing a degree in a second language.

New challenges highly motivate me. I’ve just started this journey. There is still a whole world to conquer.

Apply now to Willamette MBA and starts yours journey too

Have you enjoyed this? Check out Sam and Seile’s point of view:

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