Early in our first residency, the associate dean of Executive MBA programs and the Fuqua Career Management Center imparted keys to success in the Global Executive MBA (GEMBA) program.

Do not move. I moved.

Do not change jobs. I did.

And you can change your industry, or you can change your function, but it’s nearly impossible to do both at the same time. Check, check, and I did both.

I was a senior manager, leading a global data and analytics program for a manufacturing company when I joined the GEMBA Class of 2020. And when I graduate, I will be working in operations for an environmental organization, The International Small Group and Tree Planting Program (TIST). Two Fuqua programs have been instrumental in my career transition, allowing me to do all these things—the Fuqua Client Consulting Practicum (FCCP), and the Fuqua Volunteer Corps (FVC).

Through FCCP, I had the opportunity to supplant one of my elective term courses with an impactful real-life consulting project. I found TIST on the project list and immediately saw an opportunity to gain resume experience working with a non-profit organization that aligned with my personal and desired career aspirations.

Despite travel restrictions related to COVID, the FCCP team had an immediate impact on the development of a remote user experience for TIST farmers. It was particularly rewarding to participate in a remote experience during which the Kenya, Uganda, and India leadership council held the first ever joint meeting. Through these interactions with the client, myself, and one of my classmates who was on my team for the practicum, Jim Gibson (a former innovation project manager and experimental test pilot from a large U.S. aerospace company), were offered the opportunity to join the organization.  

Since then, the network of Fuqua programs has continued to play a significant role in my organization. Shortly after joining TIST, I learned about FVC, a program created to support 501c organizations and help current students and recent graduates continue to develop their skill sets while they look for a job in this challenging climate. Through FVC, TIST submitted three projects in data analysis, blockchain, and marketing. Our seven Fuqua volunteers have now doubled our full-time U.S. team capacity! Their work as volunteers will help build the foundation of TIST expansion projects for years to come.

It has been one year since I started the GEMBA program and looking back, I never would have imagined how much my life has changed. If I could offer one piece of advice to any new students it is to take advantage of every opportunity. You never know where it may lead!