Meeting a guest speaker in the classroom helped Bailey Wilson, MBA ’23, land a fulfilling job position in a new career path.
When Bailey Wilson began her MBA track at George Mason University in January 2021, she had no intention of switching careers. She had been working at Turner Construction Company since graduating from the University of Virginia in 2011 and had been fortunate to experience multiple roles with Turner, ranging from project engineering to cost analytics. She decided in late 2020 to pursue her MBA and found the George Mason University MBA program to be flexible and accessible, with a major perk of being able to complete courses online while still working full time. “I filled out the application in November and then started in January,” she says. “I really liked the way the courses were structured as well as the fact that I could get it done in two and a half years.” It did not even take those two and a half years for her to leverage the experience and land a coveted new job at Walmart Global Tech.
Less than a year into the program, Wilson began to get a sense that it may be time for a professional change and began to casually look around for other opportunities. “Not only was I starting to feel restless after working years in construction, but my husband was also going back on active-duty orders in the military, and I needed a little more flexibility than what being an engineer for a general contractor was able to provide at that time,” she says. While trying to decide whether or not to stay within the construction industry, Wilson says a pivotal moment for that decision came during Professor Kumar Mehta’s management of IT course (MBA 662) when featured guest speaker Rob Duhart, MS Technology Management ’16, addressed the class. Duhart, vice president and deputy CISO at Walmart, has remained friends with Mehta after graduating from Mason and relishes the opportunity to speak with students. “I always enjoy opportunities to talk to future leaders and hopefully pay it forward for all that helped me get to where I am in my career,” says Duhart. “Even more so when we can support and strengthen bonds between Walmart Global Tech and great programs like this one and in Northern Virginia and beyond.”
Duhart’s message that evening to Mehta’s class hit home for Wilson. “His story really resonated with me. He described how he had worked for the government for a long time and felt he had hit a ceiling there. This led him to switch paths and that eventually led him to his current role with Walmart,” says Wilson. Duhart concluded the talk by expressing that his team was hiring and would love to talk to anyone interested from the class about career opportunities at Walmart Global Tech. Wilson took him up on this offer, sending him an email to thank him for speaking to the class and expressing interest in learning more about the opportunities presented. Just a few months later, Wilson began her new chapter at Walmart Global Tech working as a project manager for the information security team. She looks forward to continuing to grow within the company as her work ethic, experience, and wealth of knowledge open more doors for her.
Drawing from her own experiences, Bailey Wilson advocates not being afraid to pivot from a job or career field if it is no longer meeting your personal or professional needs. “If it’s not working out, don’t hesitate to look at other industries as you can use your skills in other ways,” she says. Wilson did just that when she enrolled at Mason and then again in her new career path at Walmart Global Tech, an opportunity that brings her joy and a promising trajectory. She also encourages MBA students to make connections and try to secure a job before graduating. She made her connection with a year and a half to go in the program and has not looked back.
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