Park Perspectives: Pivoting is hard work

By: Kaitlyn Briggs, Two-Year MBA ’21
Five MBA students pose for a photo

Kaitlyn Briggs with her core team in her first semester

Often people come to MBA school looking to “pivot,” but that can mean something different for each of us. For some, pivoting could be a drastic career switch in industry and function. For others, it might actually mean that our new MBAs allow us to obtain leadership roles in our same industry/function. My pivot was within an industry but it brought me all the way from the “boots on the ground,” supply-chain side to the end product where I now wanted to work in marketing: interfacing with the consumer.

Pivoting is hard work. Within a few weeks of our arrival on campus, the Career Management Center met with us and began preparing us for company events such as briefings, and interviews. This was very helpful, and as a cohort, we continue to be successful in our interviews and internships because of the preparation we received. However, it’s not that easy for some of us; sometimes the specificity of a person’s interests makes it hard to fit into a big bucket group. You might spend your time wondering, “Do I actually like [insert job function here]? Do I really want to do this?” Luckily, there are lots of resources around campus.

Finding and following your passion

3 students wearing plastic ponchos stand together
Kaitlyn Briggs bonded with Park Fellow program peers Danielle and Caleb during a rainy gorge hike.

The leadership development office, my Park Fellowship cohort, and Laura Georgianna, director of the Roy H. Park Leadership Fellows program, have been life saving for me. Within our cohort, we continually support and encourage one another. Because my cohort knows my interests, they have sent me countless job and interview postings they think I might find interesting. Laura has been especially helpful to me because she has encouraged me to consider what I really find important about this career switch I’m making. The entire Park and Leadership group has helped me to stay focused and passionate about my specific career interests and has stopped the fear of missing out that is prominent in professional school.

I was also lucky enough to be accepted into the Marketing Executive Coaching Program, which took place this past November. This is an incredible event where past and current marketing executives volunteer their time to meet with us on campus to give career advice, help us perfect our resume, or just review interview questions. I had three, 45-minute, one-on-one sessions with different executives, and I left feeling positive about my past and excited about my future. These executives gave me confidence that my non-traditional background had transferable skills, and they were so enthusiastic about my story and passions that I found it easy to feel inspired all over again.

I’m continually grateful for the incredible resources that Johnson offers. The number of people who give their time, energy, and support—whether as peers, coaches, or mentors—within these brick walls, is inspiring and energizing. Everyone speaks to the collaborative nature of the Johnson community, but it’s hard to know exactly what that means and how integrally important it is to an individual until you are here, part of this community, living the MBA life.

Kaitlyn Briggs

Kaitlyn Briggs, Two-Year MBA ’21

Kaitlyn Briggs ’13 (CALS), DVM ’17, is a 2021 MBA candidate in the residential Two-Year MBA program. She is one of the rare “triple reds” in the business school, as she has already received her bachelor and doctorate degrees at Cornell University. Prior to returning to Cornell, she practiced production animal veterinary medicine in Michigan. Following her MBA, Briggs wants to work to connect consumers to farmers through transparency and authenticity.

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