Student Name: Amanda Bartschenfeld
MBA Concentration: Integrated Marketing Communications
Current Employer: Medtronic
After several years within technical communication at Medtronic, I knew I wanted to get back to my roots. I have a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication, and I had not planned on creating instruction manuals for medical devices. But now what? I grew to love my industry, and I needed a new communications role within it. In mid-2013, I began applying and interviewing within the company but was encountering setbacks — not enough experience or transferrable skills.
I analyzed my resume and identified gaps. I scheduled informational interviews with people I wanted to meet and learn more about. I began taking on stretch assignments and creating new projects that would give me the experience I was lacking. I joined the board of directors of a nonprofit organization and was elected the media relations chair. I joined the advocacy committee of my local American Heart Association. My extra at-work and volunteer projects were invaluable in helping me gain real skills that my new job would require.
Well, not every hiring manager saw it that way. I continued to hear that my countless hours of above-and-beyond accomplishments didn’t count as experience. Ouch. And I heard that a lot. Over and over for two years.
But I persevered. I started being deliberate in telling my network — and sometimes anyone who would listen — my specific career aspiration. That was the turning point. Just when I felt like I might not be able to keep forging on with my career search, one of my informal mentors offered me a three-month stretch assignment managing communications for a highly visible corporate program. It boosted my confidence and gave me real corporate communications experience.
At that point, with a fire lit within me, I decided to go back to school. (Like I wasn’t doing enough already.) I had always planned on going to graduate school, and the momentum was driving me to keep making positive changes happen. Having earned a Management minor at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, getting my MBA there was the obvious next step.
To ensure I was making the best decision, I researched all MBA programs in the Twin Cities. I knew online-only wasn’t for me, and a hybrid program would be ideal. When I found the St. Kate’s MBA with Integrated Marketing Communications concentration, I thought it was too good to be true. I had previously thrown away my dreams of a communications graduate program because an MBA was more practical, and I wasn’t willing to do both separately.
And now I wouldn’t need to! I get the best of exactly what I had dreamed of in one program.
Just over a month after beginning my first MBA class, I received an email from a hiring manager who heard I might be interested in internal communications at Medtronic. My hard work was paying off, and people were taking notice. I finally found a new team that understood my unconventional career path and viewed my breadth of experience as a bonus. It took two and a half years of working my butt off, and I landed my dream job.
I now lead internal communications for the largest business within the company, and I am essentially a journalist and communications consultant for our 85,000+ employees. I am loving it.
But I’m not stopping there. I see myself as an inspiring leader but not quite an effective people manager — yet. The St. Kate’s MBA program is developing my management ability and business acumen. It’s helping me network with brilliant people from diverse backgrounds and forcing my brain to think in new ways. I’m only a couple of semesters in, and I already approach work differently. I come to the office each day and am able to implement ideas from class the night before. I am becoming more strategic with my projects and planning, and I can feel myself turning into a manager.
I am so glad I found the St. Kate’s MBA program. I am ready to keep working hard to make my dreams come true. Who’s with me??
Amanda is in Cohort 4, which began in Fall 2015. She plans to graduate in 2017 before taking over the world. When she’s not working and schooling, you can find her kickboxing, wedding-singing, or snuggling with her cats. Connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.