I recently started a new role at Microsoft as a Corporate Trainer, focused on helping make sure our customers are effectively utilizing different Microsoft applications and services. I also co-founded the DC chapter of our Asian Employee Resource Group (ERG). Prior to my time at Microsoft, I was a middle school math teacher for 10 years.
I wanted to create a new career path for myself, not just another job, and the MSBA was part of this plan. I could have just focused on analytics, but I felt like I also needed to have the business perspective in order to create more options for myself. I thought UVA’s program did a nice job combining these two disciplines.
I had a friend who did the UVA MSMIT program, and she had nothing but great things to say about her experience, which was also a positive. When I thought about my learning style, I knew I could not do a fully remote program, and I liked the fact that there are regular in-person touchpoints over the course of the 12 months of the program. I felt like this cadence would allow me to really absorb what we were learning in class.
I have definitely learned a lot of technical skills and different tools, but I’ve also been surprised by all of the soft skills I’ve picked up over these first few months. Topics like leadership and communications are woven into the curriculum, but I also find that I spend a lot time talking with my peers about these sorts of things – how to work with others, how to communicate your ideas, how to do it persuasively, etc. – during breaks or team meetings.
Get to know your classmates! People in this program are so supportive, and the cohort is so diverse. There are so many different companies and industries represented, and everyone is at a different point in their career. Of course, you’re going to learn a ton from your professors, but there is also so much learning that happens from your classmates. Make sure you give yourself space and time to develop these relationships.
Also, recognize that the full impact of this program is not just technical – it also includes things like leadership and communication. Embrace this opportunity to sharpen both your hard and your soft skills.
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