Meet Kira! She’s based in Salt Lake City, Utah. After being passed up for several promotions at her librarian job, she decided to invest in new leadership skills through courses on Coursera. After initial success with these courses, she then applied to the iMBA program at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign through the Performance-Based Admissions Track (PAT). She was accepted! Follow along as she details her learning experience with Coursera and how she successfully changed careers to project management.
Hi, I’m Kira! I’m sure we’ve all felt the disappointment of being passed over for a promotion. Well, I became very familiar with this feeling as I kept getting passed over for Assistant Manager positions at my library job. Rather than letting frustration consume me, I decided I could work on further developing my leadership skills. I signed up for Coursera and enrolled in courses with a focus in leadership and engagement. I had concerns about my eligibility, so I applied as a Performance-Based Admissions Track (PAT) student for the iMBA Program at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and was overjoyed to find out I had been accepted. The PAT is an alternative pathway into the iMBA program for students like me who have concerns about their application profile.
Not only did I learn valuable skills through the iMBA program, I also gained useful knowledge from my fellow colleagues. As I went through the program, I picked the brains of students who were further along to get advice on how to succeed. I learned so much about myself and leadership, and also gained a solid knowledge of business. Throughout my iMBA journey, I leaned into leadership focused modules but later, I started to shift my focus to project management. I ended up getting four project management certifications in one semester as a result of the iMBA elective class.
By my last semester, I landed a highly competitive IT Project Manager position in Salt Lake County.
By implementing most of what I’d learned in the program, I gained the skills I needed to enter the job market with confidence. The hard work and perseverance eventually paid off!
From a librarian to an IT position with the county, I completely changed the trajectory of my career by taking that first step and enrolling –- and you can too! For those wanting to make a career change or advance their education, I have some advice:
1. Try new things. I went from being a librarian to a project manager, a path I never thought possible.
2. Make new friends. Meet them in person if you can.
3. Make mistakes, get messy, and learn from those mistakes.
4. Live sessions and office hours are your best friend. Attend them.
5. Always start Coursera ahead of the week and stay ahead on tasks. Also, get used to 1.5 to 2x speed on Coursera. You’ll thank me later.
6. Week 4 and 8 for most classes can be challenging. Plan for it and reward yourself when you get past those weeks.
7. Enjoy the journey. Happiness isn’t a destination and neither are MBAs. It’s what you learn about yourself on the way that will differentiate you.
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