Evening MBA transformers: Alicia Boaz

Alicia BoazOnce: human resources generalist
Now: business manager

Tell us about your previous career: The first six years of my career were in human resources, which was a logical step after ten years of experience coaching figure skating and completing an undergraduate degree in management and psychology from University of North Carolina. My previous career began at ATA Services, Inc., a staffing agency headquartered in Denver, Colorado that provides business and technical services to U.S. government agencies like the United States Geological Survey and Sandia National Laboratories. Then I spent over three years with a Seattle-based renewable energy department of a large Norwegian risk management company, Det Norske Vertias (DNV). Over my six years in human resources, I gained experience in mergers and acquisitions, recruitment, employee development and compensation.

What are you currently doing in your role? My role as a business manager gives me the opportunity to lead the business planning process, land strategic go-to-market initiatives and manage the internal and external communication plan for the Platform team of Microsoft’s Learning Experiences Department. As a member of the Platform leadership team, I impact the broader strategic and operational needs of the team, with a particular focus on managing the annual budget.

How did the Evening MBA Program help you transition to your new role? When I started to consider a career transition, I utilized the MBA Career Management to strengthen my resume and highlight the experiences gained from courses, case study competitions and MBA consulting projects. During my second year, I participated in the Mentor Program where I met with a local business leader who helped me understand how to take my career to the next level in business. Since most of my previous experience was in human resources, the first two years of core classes helped me understand the foundation of business so I could incorporate that knowledge into the next stage of my career in business.

What advice do you have for part-time MBA students interested in making a career transition? My advice is to figure out what’s important to you in the next step of your career. When joining the MBA program, I was anxious to join a leadership team where I could have a bigger impact on the business than I was able to in my human resources role. Your classmates ask what direction you want to go next with your career, so it helps to have an answer. You never know when one of your classmates will have an open role that fits the next step in your career.