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How to Do the Career Pivot: The Tuck MBA Edition

Meet four current Tuck MBA students who did the pivot and secured internships in their target industries—consulting, pharmaceuticals, nature conservation, and technology-gaming.

T’22s Jean Rieuthavorn, Jazmine Brite, Matt Wang, and Christine Rohacz entered Tuck with different career goals in mind, but with similar aspirations—to pivot into an industry that would challenge but gratify them, changing their life for the better.

Read on to learn more about their journeys and how Tuck’s famously supportive community, Career Services office, and co-curricular opportunities such as the School’s Centers, helped them discover their path and secure the perfect internship in their desired industry.


T'22

Jean Rieuthavorn

Corporate and Business Strategy Intern, Electronic Arts (EA)

PRE-TUCK

Health Advances, Senior Consulting Analyst; Allergan, Sales Specialist

Undergraduate Education

Bucknell University, BS, Biology

"The pathway to a job in tech is much less straight forward than say consulting. But I learned pretty quickly that, at Tuck, if you have a question or a need, a lot of people will go out of their way to help you."

The path to what you truly want to do in life isn’t always linear. This is a philosophy Jean Rieuthavorn T’22 knows well and lives by personally. “It’s important to try new things and test out what feels right for you. And if you try something out and don’t like it, that’s okay,” she says.

A pre-med major while at Bucknell University, Rieuthavorn spent six years working in health care before she realized she wanted to pivot into a new industry. “In health care, I was passionate about the outcome but I thought there was opportunity to do many things better,” she says. “I wanted to be part of an industry that prioritized innovation, that was faster-paced, and was a space where I could pick up new lessons along the way—tech just held so much opportunity.”

Rieuthavorn knew entering an MBA program would provide the supportive environment, resources, and broadened skillset she needed to do the pivot. At Tuck, she found all that and the personalized experience and intimate network she was looking for. Right away she prioritized networking with alumni, making personal connections with second-year students who understood the industry, and tapping staff and faculty for their expertise on all things tech. “The pathway to a job in tech is much less straight forward than say consulting,” she says. “But I learned pretty quickly that, at Tuck, if you have a question or a need, a lot of people will go out of their way to help you.”

As co-chair of the Tech Club and a fellow with the Center for Digital Strategies, Rieuthavorn was exposed to alumni and opportunities at all intersections of tech, leading her to a path she hadn’t considered: the gaming industry. Alumni like Marcus Morgan T’19, now head of strategy and operations at Obsidian Entertainment, offered their perspective on gaming and what to expect working in a consumer-facing business. Electronic Arts (EA) happened to be on her target company list when exploring internship options, and after an enlightening conversation with another alum currently at EA, it quickly rose to the top. After getting in touch with a recruiter at the company, Rieuthavorn worked with her new network of alumni, students, and the Center for Digital Strategies (specifically Patrick Wheeler) to prepare for the interview.

Her summer internship at EA turned out to be exactly what she had been looking for—a fast-paced environment, full of creativity and energy, at a company at the forefront of modern technology. It was also an exciting time for the industry as a whole: the video gaming industry saw record revenues and engagement during the pandemic, as people were stuck at home and looking for new forms of entertainment. “What I like about the gaming industry the most is that, gaming makes people happy,” says Rieuthavorn. “It’s not necessarily going to change your life, but it provides people with a little bit of happiness every day.” Focused on strategy and development, her summer experience taught her especially just how much people matter—from the customer and their needs, to the team and management. It was also a good hypothesis test for her, solidifying her decision to pivot into tech.

Jean’s recruiting advice

“Finding EA and gaming was unexpected—it was something I found through exploration. Sometimes the search can feel ambiguous because you don’t know what’s coming around the corner. But you just have to persevere, wait and keep an open mind, and be open to risks. If you don’t figure it out right away, that’s okay. … Oh, and ask people for help as often as possible!”

 

T'22

Jazmine Brite

Summer Associate, Bain & Co

PRE-TUCK

Delta Air Lines, Senior Engineer – Repair Process Engineering; Bechtel National Inc, Field Engineer

Undergraduate Education

Georgia Institute of Technology, BS, Mechanical Engineering

"Coming from a nontraditional background, I wanted a supportive community where I could take risks and explore my different interests. At the intersection of all these things, you find Tuck."

Jazmine Brite was working as a senior engineer at Delta Air Lines when she decided to reevaluate her career trajectory. “I knew I wanted to serve in leadership—leading people and organizations,” says Brite. “So I began assessing the skills I needed to move forward.”

In conversations with senior leaders, she learned that an MBA might be the most logical next step. Brite desired an inclusive MBA experience where she could immerse herself academically, socially, and professionally—to build relationships while building skills. “Coming from a nontraditional background, I wanted a supportive community where I could take risks and explore my different interests,” says Brite. “At the intersection of all these things, you find Tuck.”

At Tuck, Brite was attracted to the consulting industry because of the variety and exposure it offered; it provided an opportunity to explore different industries and functions while also rounding out her technical expertise with strategy and leadership skills. During first-year recruiting, she worked with Tuck Career Services and the Consulting Club to explore the intricacies of the case interview, run through mock interviews, and prepare and review interview materials. An intense Fall juggling coursework, recruiting season, networking, and extracurriculars paid off—in January, she accepted an offer to join Bain’s New York office.

Brite was staffed to a Financial Services project during her Summer with Bain. While she says there was a steep learning curve, courses like Analytics, Management Communications, and the First-Year Project helped prepare her to provide value to the team and project almost immediately. “Right away we were considering, ‘How do we tell this story with this information in a way that comes across clearly and concisely?’” says Brite. “I drew on the ways I had learned to build and present a story, and the Excel modeling I learned in Analytics proved especially valuable.”

Brite joined the firm during a particularly interesting time—transitioning back to the office in-person, while getting to know a new city, and a new industry. But a strong support system around her proved to be invaluable. “The support I received from my team and other Bainies while navigating these new challenges amid delivering to clients is something I’ll keep close to my heart,” she says. “I got everything out of my Summer internship that I was looking for—a clear view into what consulting is, and what life as a consultant could be like for me at Bain.”

Jazmine's recruiting advice

“For those coming from a non-consulting background, be sure to read Stephen Pidgeon’s How to Get a Job in Consulting and Case Interviews for Beginners. When I was first exploring consulting, I didn’t know where to begin. These books helped ground me in what the industry could look like and what a case interview was.”

 

T'22

Matt Wang

Summer Associate, Pfizer

PRE-TUCK

West Monroe Partners, senior consultant; University of Southern California, scientific research analyst

Undergraduate Education

University of Southern California, BS, Business Administration and Health Care

"I thought it would be rewarding to help from the business side while the health care providers in my family made differences for patients directly. ... Tuck is a great place to spend two years growing with a network of support around you. It’s made the industry switch a lot easier."

As a pre-med student at University of Southern California, Matt Wang was spending Friday nights alone in a lab exploring the impact of serotonin on fetal mice brain development. “I remember thinking this isn’t for me,” says Wang. “It took my junior year until things finally clicked and I realized I wanted something else. The business classes I took at the time were much more enjoyable so I decided to pivot.”

Wang transitioned to a small consulting firm where he worked for four years until the pandemic suddenly rocked the world. With questions and uncertainty around COVID swirling and a race for a vaccine underway, he saw a unique opportunity to make an impact in health care, particularly in the pharmaceutical space. “I had some life sciences experience and developed a business skillset which could be applied to a global health issue,” says Wang. “I thought it would be rewarding to help from the business side while the health care providers in my family made differences for patients directly.”

A transition into pharmaceuticals is ultimately why Wang decided on an MBA, and at Tuck, he found the immersive, supportive learning environment that would allow him to grow as an individual. Tuck’s small size also afforded him the one-on-one exposure, in and out of the classroom. “I’ve met so many willing mentors here,” says Wang. “Tuck is a great place to spend two years growing with a network of support around you. It’s made the industry switch a lot easier.”

Support from the Center for Health Care, faculty, the alumni network, and Tuck Career Services was critical for Wang as he researched opportunities in the pharmaceuticals space. Through exploratory conversations with his mentors, he realized he wanted to target a larger company, in a major city—where the opportunities for direct impact were many. His search led him to Pfizer.

For his internship at Pfizer, Wang joined a vaccine team working on the launch of a new product to better address meningitis through the consolidation of vaccines. He served as a product owner, understanding the pros and cons of a specific product component, and how to demonstrate to consumers that results would be an improvement on the status quo. The internship culminated in a presentation Wang delivered to senior leadership that outlined a potential campaign for the product and the research necessary to substantiate its marketing claims.

Wang’s biggest takeaway from his internship with Pfizer was just how influential marketing can be in the pharma space and how it differs from traditional marketing for B2B companies. “Ensuring products are accurately represented with supporting data is important when targeting patient populations and providing the best care,” says Wang. “It was a unique experience focusing on how safe a product is, and how it could save and protect a lot of people.”

Matt's recruiting advice

“If you are looking to make a career switch, make sure you are passionate and convincing about why you want to make a change. Networking is important and can help you win advocates that will stand for you when final decisions are made. Always ask if there is another person to talk to; strong networking, especially when you’re transitioning into a new industry, is key.”

 

T'22

Christine Rohacz

Electronic Monitoring of Fisheries Project Intern, The Nature Conservancy

PRE-TUCK

Chen Zuckerberg Initiative, Senior Site Reliability Engineer; Clubhouse Software, DevOps Engineer

Undergraduate Education

Santa Clara University, BS, Computer Science and Engineering

"I thought, ‘Can I really make a life, a career out of this? Is that even possible?’ But my professors, and especially Caroline Cannon in Career Services, all encouraged me to explore nature conservancy as a career. They were rooting for me."

Nestled in the Connecticut River Valley, surrounded by mountains and thick forests, the decision to come to Tuck was an easy one for Christine Rohacz T’22 who says she has thrived in nature since she was a young girl. “I don’t do well in cities,” she says. “I knew the remote environment Tuck provides would help me think, grow, and reflect.” A former software engineer who holds a BS in computer science and engineering from Santa Clara University, she came to Tuck ready for change and looking to open a vast number of doors to a new career pathway that would not only motivate her, but gratify her.

Fairly soon into her MBA experience, Rohacz realized the experiential learning opportunities she was taking advantage of—a Tuck Community Consulting project with the Hanover Conservancy, a First-Year Project with the Vermont Department of Parks and Recreation—all shared a common theme: the outdoors. It left her wondering how, or even whether, she could translate her long-held passion for nature preservation into a full-time career. “I thought, ‘Can I really make a life, a career out of this? Is that even possible?’” she remembers. “But my professors, and especially Caroline Cannon in Career Services, all encouraged me to explore nature conservancy as a career. They were rooting for me.”

In fact, it was her professors who put her in touch with a couple of contacts at The Nature Conservancy, one of the largest environmental nonprofits in the world, which has impacted conservation in 75 countries and territories. It was the dream opportunity Rohacz had been looking for, but unfortunately, they didn’t have any internship opportunities immediately available. Thinking she’d have to settle for Plan B, she was surprised when she heard from the Conservancy two weeks before summer break—they had the perfect project that called for both her tech background and her newly acquired strategic skillset.

The perfect project, as it turns out, was fairly complex: Rohacz was tasked with investigating and researching future investment opportunities for The Nature Conservancy to grow and scale the electronic monitoring of U.S. commercial fisheries. But why? “There’s a strong incentive to monitor commercial fisheries around the world to ensure fish populations are sustainable but also that they are supporting the economies fishing is built on,” she says. But historically, the government has provided this monitoring service by deploying human observers onboard fishing vessels—as one can imagine, this comes with a lot of challenges and inaccuracies. “For many reasons,” says Rohacz, “electronic monitoring is a promising solution for obtaining accurate catch data of fisheries at scale. Though it’s been piloted and rolled out for the past decade, it’s been very slow to grow as a market.” One reason for this could be high costs due to third parties offering electronic monitoring, but not being able to capitalize on a huge percentage of market share.

The Conservancy was interested in finding ways to lower the overall cost of this more efficient method of monitoring fisheries. So over the course of 12 weeks, Rohacz worked to identify all the barriers that existed to scaling the new electronic method. From there, she identified 30 opportunities the organization could take advantage of to tear down those barriers and help the market flourish. For her final project, Rohacz delivered her raw research findings, a PowerPoint deck summarizing her findings, and a two-page executive summary detailing her proposed solution.

Her summer experience with The Nature Conservancy was a challenge, but one that helped her answer a lot of questions she had coming into Tuck. “This was a very in-depth, strategy-oriented role where you had to look at a complex problem and break it down in a way that made sense, identify areas that you could address that were feasible, and then come up with solutions fast,” she says. “And the truth is, it was really hard, but I really, really enjoyed it.” Rohacz continues to seek opportunities that will help fight climate change in the most effective way.

Christine's recruiting advice

“Not having my internship lined up while my classmates already had firm plans was scary. I was clouded in uncertainty and at points unsure if I was doing the right thing. But in the end, my patience and persistence paid off—it led to one of the best decisions of my life. So my advice is, don’t feel you need to get sucked into the MBA recruiting vortex, especially if you have a passion you want to purse that is a bit outside-of-the-box. Be patient, and keep leaning on your network—the ones who are really rooting for you.”