Pivoting Careers with an Evening MBA

78% of Evening MBA students changed jobs before graduation

Students enter the UW Foster School of Business Evening MBA program as working professionals with promising careers in a wide range of different fields. Over the course of the three-year program, they learn skills that expand their capabilities, meet new people, and are presented with opportunities that would have otherwise been impossible. As a result, many students change roles or even industries as the next step in advancing their career. According to the program’s latest data, 78% of Evening MBA students changed jobs before graduation.

Julia Robinson (MBA 2021)
Pathway Manager at Amazon

One such Evening MBA student was Julia Robinson. Robinson immigrated from Ukraine and started her career in operations at a local seafood company. While there, she developed an interest in human resources but knew she had to expand her business acumen to achieve her goals.

“I got to the point in my career where I realized that I really want to advance, (and) it was time for me to grow and get on a different level,” she says. That led her to the Foster School of Business, which provided Robinson with an in-depth, immersive education. She grew her skill set, and ultimately came to the conclusion that HR was not the field for her.

Amazon is one of the Foster school’s business partners, and the online retail giant was recruiting on campus for a program that sparked Robinson’s interest. The first program Robinson applied for at Amazon wasn’t the right fit. But her network alerted her to a different opportunity, and today she is a Pathways Manager at Amazon.

Chris Leffler (MBA 2021)
Senior Replenishment Manager at Walmart

Chris Leffler grew up in Seattle and later found success working at tech startups in the Bay Area. He wanted to return to the Pacific Northwest and earn his MBA to increase his business skills, but needed a program that would enable him to get a degree while continuing in his career.

“One of the benefits of attending the evening program is that the courses I took on a Tuesday night, I could apply Wednesday morning,” says Chris.

Those skills also proved to be transferable. As Leffler progressed through the program, he landed a new position. “The job that I had at the beginning of the program was in the consulting space, and the job that I had near the end of the program was in the corporate strategy space.”

Richard Zong (MBA 2021)
Program Officer at the Gates Foundation

Career pivots for Foster Evening MBA students aren’t limited to related industries. Richard Zong is a “Double Dawg,” having graduated from UW as an undergrad with a degree in Biomedical Engineering. He began his career as an ultrasound engineer.

“I loved the engineering role and worked with fantastic folks. (But) I also was more curious and interested in that holistic picture, and where engineering fits within the broader picture,” he says.

At Foster, Zong studied economics, accounting, finance, strategy, and marketing. Having such a broad range of skills opened up new avenues for Zong, and he transitioned to a position with the global consulting giant McKinsey & Company. Today he’s combining all his skills and experience with a role as a Program Officer at the Gates Foundation.

“All the core classes are fundamental skills that I use on a day-to-day (basis),” he says. “The biggest piece of advice that I give to an incoming student is to … be present and bring who you are as an individual.”

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Foster School of Business

The Foster School of Business offers hands-on programs for future leaders who want to accelerate their impact, build meaningful connections, and grow in the innovation epicenter of the Pacific Northwest.