When Clarkson alumnus Cristina Liquori (M.B.A. ‘11) completed her undergraduate degrees in English and Spanish in 2010, she found herself with some difficult choices to make. Despite facing one of the worst job markets in U.S history, she was one of the fortunate ones who actually had job offers. At the same time, she says she knew there would be advantages to finding a more explicitly practical degree to pair with her liberal arts education. As she decided whether to continue her education or enter the job market, she found herself wondering what opportunities might open up to her with an M.B.A. Even in a bad economy, would it be worth her while to walk away from job offers and continue her education? In Cristina’s case, the answer turned out to be ‘yes.’ Her decision to turn down her immediate job offers and get her M.B.A. at Clarkson allowed her to start a career she loves, and one that has taken her around the globe.
Soon after starting the M.B.A. program, Cristina secured an internship at G.E., which she says was an eye-opening experience. It was her first experience in a large corporate environment, and also made her start considering what other opportunities might be available with brands that already meant something to her. Her research led her to a position as a Marketing Assistant with the Lego corporate office in Connecticut, which she started two weeks before completing her M.B.A. It was a job that she says would not have been available to her without her graduate degree.
Since then, Cristina’s relationship with Lego has defined her career. She spent more than six years at the office in Connecticut before a position opened up in the London office, and Cristina says she loved the idea of working abroad. She is now the Digital Marketing Manager for Lego UK/Ireland, and she’s been living in London since March.
Even several years post-graduation, Cristina believes her education continues to serve her in her career. She sites the “cross-functional, holistic” nature of the Clarkson M.B.A program, which she says is particularly helpful in the 21st century business environment. She says, “Many positions in today’s corporate world require cross-department knowledge. It’s not unusual for there to be blurring lines between sales, marketing, product development, etc. My M.B.A. gave me a general understanding that allows me to feel confident in my knowledge regardless of the situation.” Cristina also credits great relationships with professors who she felt were invested in coaching her on principles applied in real-world situations with helping prepare her for success.
When asked what advice she’d give to current students who are considering furthering their educations with an M.B.A. from Clarkson, she says, “If you don’t know exactly what you want to do, research brands that mean something to you and see what opportunities exist. Students may not realize how many disciplines actually exist within a company. An M.B.A opens doors to those worlds.”
Ultimately, Cristina says it was her decision to pursue her M.B.A at Clarkson that made her path possible. As she puts it, “Business is one of the most dynamic careers out there, and an M.B.A is a great way to make sure it’s accessible to you.”