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After the pandemic shut down her industry, Willamette MBA helped Mandy Han MBA’23 change careers

by Melanie Moyer,

In 2020, Mandy Han MBA’23, earned a degree in hospitality amid an industry shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic. Knowing she needed to broaden her business skill set, Han applied for Willamette’s Early Career & Career Change MBA, a program designed for transitions in students’ vocational fields through the development of strategic management knowledge and professional experience. Han will graduate from the program in May with a job lined up at Micron Technology as a Stock Plan Analyst starting this June.

Mandy Han MBA’23

Han’s accomplishment is made even more impressive by the difficulties many international students face finding a job post-graduation. Originally from Tawain, Han needs a special visa to continue pursuing a career in the United States. International graduates must find an employer who will pay the expensive cost of visa sponsorship and then endure a notoriously difficult lottery to obtain one of the 85,000 H1-B visas US Citizen and Immigration Services issues each March. “Winning the H1-B lottery was probably one of the most challenging and stressful experiences of my life,” Han says. “Only international students can understand how difficult and stressful it is to find an internship, a full-time job, and finally win the H1-B lottery.”

Amongst her many talents—including her fluency in Mandarin and experience in international hotel asset management and finance—Han also brings many skills learned during her time at Willamette MBA to her new job. She credits her general business courses with helping her understand the ins and outs of the business world. “Courses that include topics, readings, or examples from many different industries supported a smoother transition from one industry to another,” she says. Additionally, the Career Change MBA’s emphasis on networking had a considerable impact on her success. Aimed to help students accumulate real-world professional experience through collaboration with non-profit clients, Han adds that the first-year Practical Application for Careers and Enterprises (PACE) course contributed to her networking skills. “Networking helped me expand my relationships from only hoteliers to all types of business people in the world,” she shares. “I finally felt that I am no longer limited to the hospitality industry.”

Han’s journey with Micron began after she landed an internship in their Stock Department. There, she helped the team with data reconciliation, employee inquiries, and the Employee Stock Purchase Plan webinar, becoming an asset with her fluency in speaking, reading, and writing Mandarin. “Micron’s stock team receives employee inquiries from different locations such as Taiwan, China, Japan, Singapore, and more,” she said. “I help the team with inquiry response efficiency and effectiveness.”

As the President of the International Graduate Students Association at Willamette, Han believes hard work, being determined about pursuing a path for the future, and selling yourself are integral parts of landing a desired role after college. She also advises international students to look for big companies. “They are more experienced in sponsoring students who need to work on curricular practical training and optional practical training, and are more willing to further sponsor students with an H1-B and green card.” Most importantly, “Work with OIE (Willamette’s Office of International Education)! Work with OIE! Work with OIE! Things can get really complex for international students and processes can work completely differently as well,” she says. “Most international students lack experience in these processes, and the Office of International Education really supported me throughout mine.”

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