Iryna Mckenzie (MBA 2012)
Hometown: Gorlovka, Donetsk Region, Ukraine
Current Job: BHP Petroleum (beginning in September 2012)
International student Iryna Mckenzie knows how valuable being part of a team can be —in March, she and three fellow Bauer MBAs worked together to take home first place in the Rice University Marketing Case Competition. Collaboration is also a big part of being successful in the workplace, she says, a quality that helped her land a job in her chosen industry upon graduation with a Bauer MBA focusing in energy accounting and finance.
Q: What was the job search process like for you?
A: It was very important for me that I find a company that is a good fit for me just as well as I am a good fit for them. At some points I felt discouraged, but it is normal to sometimes feel that way as long as a student realizes that rejection is a part of the process and it goes both ways. Learning from your failures is an enriching process and I considered it to be a valuable part of my job search experience. It is very important to understand that companies also compete for the talent on the global labor market. So it played to my advantage that I knew my strengths and weaknesses well enough to leverage those at the interviews.
Q: What skills from your Bauer courses have been most applicable in your job?
A: The coursework is structured in a way that students, most of the time, work on projects in teams which gave me an exceptional opportunity to further my team player skills. In addition, one of Bauer’s differentiations is its outstanding faculty comprised of top notch industry experts. All of this allowed me to learn from the best professionals and gain real-time experience to become a well-rounded candidate.
Q: What do you think gave you an advantage in the job market over grads from other schools?
A: I am very passionate about what I do, and I strive to be the best at it. Maintaining a high GPA and at the same time engaging in the extra curriculum offered at Bauer helped me to receive an Outstanding Graduate Student nomination at the end of my MBA program. I think it is important for the future employer to see that a candidate always takes on the initiatives, in professional or personal life. Bauer gave me the opportunity to show that initiative.
Q: What advice would you give to graduating students currently looking for work?
A: It’s a lengthy and very challenging process, so I suggest that students start their preparation long in advance. Don’t get discouraged by the rejections but learn from your failures. It is very important to find a company where the culture is a good fit for you otherwise, I believe one will not excel at the work place. At the interviews, show how passionate you are about what you do and know very well not only the company you are interviewing with but also the recent trends and events in the industry the organization is in. Understanding the big picture is key to becoming a leader.