MBA is a steppingstone to dream job
Part-time MBA student Allegra Kipnis made it her job to be a skills collector.
After finishing her undergraduate education with a degree in history in 2009, she went to work in retail sales for Verizon Wireless, selling its phones in a Manhattan store.
It wasn’t her dream job, but the company paid a living wage, offered upward mobility and good benefits. The atmosphere appealed to Kipnis who describes herself as a “natural net worker.” “I talked to a lot of people,” she said. It paid off.
After about two years, she was encouraged by a mentor, to apply for a data sales consultant, an entry-level corporate position that allowed her to gain new skills and prove herself in different ways. She picked up Excel and PowerPoint skills and took on the tasks of creating specialized content for classroom sessions and one-on-one coaching.
“I thought I’m going to do things as well as I can. When a job is maxed out, I’ll look for another opportunity,” she said. “I didn’t worry about the money. I worried about the skills I was going to get.”
When Kipnis was promoted again into the company’s business to business organization in a sales role, she found herself in client meetings where terms went over her head. “I had no knowledge of business,” she said. “It made it difficult to relate to business owners and decision makers.”
That’s when she decided to pursue an MBA at Rutgers Business School, focusing her studies on marketing and global business. ““At Rutgers, I learned to speak the language of business,” she said. “Especially at the beginning, literally every class, I would learn something that I could apply directly to what I was doing at work.”
Over the next three years as she gained knowledge and skills in the MBA program, she was promoted twice more, finally moving into the marketing roles she had been working toward.
Then after eight years at Verizon, she was laid off – “a crazy scary thing,” she said of the experience.
She turned to LinkedIn to express her gratitude for what she had learned at Verizon as well as her hopes for where she might land. “I received an outpouring of support from my colleagues at Rutgers,” she said. Classmates offered to write recommendations and to pass along opportunities.
Kipnis speaks up a lot in her classes, something she said that helps her to absorb what she’s learning. it apparently helped her classmates too. Many of them told her they appreciated the discussions she spurred with her questions and comments in class. “I never realized I was making an impression,” she said.
In a short time, she landed “her dream job” in a communications role at Panasonic. The internal communications specialist role draws on her strong writing and creative skills. She is the consistent “voice and tone” behind communications to the company’s employees.
“The MBA program gave me the tools I needed to eventually land my dream job, but funny enough, after all I had learned, it turned out to be just one more step in the story of my career,” she said.
Kipnis graduates from the MBA program in May. She continues to collect skills and now, she’s also empowered by her business knowledge.
“The Rutgers MBA is a ticket to self-direction,” she said.
For her, it might enable her to begin a “side gig” in addition to her work at Panasonic. She would like to be a professional communications coach, helping people in the work force with communications etiquette, email writing and other personal communications.
“I would love to fill that niche,” she said.
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