Explain your career path.
After graduating from SEMO, officially in 2012, I struggled for nearly a year seeking
employment opportunities despite moving to New York right after. However, I finally
found an unpaid internship opportunity with UNICEF in late 2013 and from then until
a month ago (i.e. July 2018) I have been a Human Resources (HR) Consultant with several
HR teams (and functions) across two UN agencies: UNICEF and UNFPA.
I very recently moved to Budapest, Hungary to assume my first UN post as a Human Resources Officer with FAO where I am expected to lead a team managing non-staff contracts globally for the organization.
What was your major at Southeast and what led you to that?
My major was International Business, where most courses I took to some degree had HR elements, therefore it was quite a smooth transition for me to take on the role of a HR professional in the UN.
Why did you choose to attend Southeast?
Almost a decade ago, my sister and I were looking for a good, accredited business school to pursue an MBA degree. SEMO was one of the top schools that attracted us due to its great value for money and is quite well known for its business programs.
Share your best college memory.
All my knowledgeable and compassionate professors, and of course the very warm international student community.
What is the most important thing you learned while you were at Southeast?
To respect and value diversity, owing this to the excellent work of the International Center.
What is your greatest professional accomplishment?
My greatest professional accomplishment to date just arrived a few months ago: after more than four years of working as a contracted consultant at two UN agencies (UNICEF and UNFPA), I managed to 'land' a UN staff position at a Professional level with FAO . This is a very rare achievement for a Myanmar national of my age.
How did your education at Southeast prepare you for what you are doing today?
I graduated with an MBA degree (International Business major). While the degree itself is broad in terms of scope, it did equip me with the capacity to see businesses through the global lens and that prepared me adequately to take my first step into the UN. I was able to immerse myself well into the working environment here.
What advice would you give current students or recent graduates interested in pursuing a career in your professional field?
I would encourage them to dare to dream and make it become a reality.
Practically, I would advise them to be not only persistent and but also to be creative in pursuing their career - i.e. utilize all your channels: social network, academic resources to begin with. Be open to all possibilities, knock at every door for an opportunity as you will never know which door will open and take you towards the career elevator.
Do not give up, and always self-reflect. Look for role models, sometimes do not look so far, just someone at a comparable range with you should do. Revisit your CV time and time again, then ask yourself "How can I make myself more competitive? What skills and work experiences do I have to acquire to achieve this?"
Last but not least, be consistent. While very young, you may wish to switch careers but once you are in your late twenties or early thirties, you should have a definite idea of what you want your career to look like, unless of course you wish to be a self employed entrepreneur. Never underestimate your people skills - they can often be a deal breaker.
As they say 'life is a roller coaster', you will face obstacles but with the right attitude, character and work ethic, you can go far.
What do you wish you had known before graduating and entering the "real world"?
The importance of networking and presentation.