Workforce Development

My Path to Coursera

In fall of 2019, as I filled out my applications to Business School, one question on the Fuqua application caught me by surprise:

“Life is full of uncertainties, and plans and circumstances can change. As a result, navigating a career requires you to be adaptable. Should the short-term goals that you provided above not materialize, what alternative directions have you considered?”

The question was aimed at better understanding the depth of the candidate’s interest in their stated career path. Unsure of whether I would truly return to Deloitte after school, I answered genuinely:

“After Fuqua, I expect my career to shift in two ways: increased management responsibilities and a narrower focus on workforce development. If not at Deloitte, I hope to pursue these same shifts at a start-up (private or nonprofit) which will allow me to shape organizational strategy, interact closely with stakeholders and partners, and have an impact in my community. I can pursue this path at an organization that partners with governments and private enterprises to build workforce development programs or that identifies key skill gaps and invests in innovative solutions.”

As it turns out, my Fuqua answer was largely accurate, save the “After Fuqua.” When the outcome of several of my applications was not as I had hoped, I was forced to come to terms with what I really wanted to accomplish and whether business school would best propel me on my intended career path. After illuminating conversations with individuals spanning a variety of career paths, and through tremendous self-reflection, I decided to forgo business school admission to explore opportunities aligned to my interest in public-private partnerships. 

My job search centered on start-ups working directly with the government or in heavily regulated spaces. The latter category was mostly occupied by transit / mobility start-ups but I also explored housing and other sectors that popped up on LinkedIn, including EdTech. When an opportunity on Coursera’s LATAM Biz Dev team popped up, I applied, thinking it would be a good chance to hone my story and interview skills. The recruiter coached me into another role, a new job posting in on the industry partnership team focused on workforce development. 

As an Associate Director of Industry Partnerships, I’ll be working with partners across the public and private sectors to build innovative learning programs aimed at expanding access to quality jobs. At Deloitte, I advised Fortune 500 technology companies on the skills, organizational structures, and talent programs needed to successfully navigate massive changes triggered by rapidly changing technologies. My new role will allow me to draw on the skills I developed at Deloitte – account management, relationship skills, and ability to achieve results – to deliver education that will impact the lives of learners around the world.

Many of the developments in this process happened by chance – application outcomes, job postings, being coached into new roles – but the outcome feels natural, even obvious. I’m excited to combine my experience with the Future of Work with my long-standing interest in expanding equity and opportunity. The business school process helped me find my voice, this job allows me to use that voice to advocate for effective solutions to one of today’s greatest challenges.