Professional Development: Making a Successful Career Transition

Will Campbell (MBA ’11)

Will Campbell (MBA ’11) made a successful transition from chemical engineer to human resource management.

Making the decision to go back to school full time to pursue an advanced business degree is not one to be taken lightly. Neither is the decision to change career paths completely. These were two choices that Will Campbell (MBA ’11) made.

After working in several different industries, Campbell, a former chemical engineer, realized his true passion was not on the operations side of the business, but on the corporate side— more specifically, human resources. To make his passion a reality, Campbell put his career on pause and enrolled in DePaul’s full-time cohort MBA program with a concentration in human resources.

Campbell, a husband and father of three, knew both the rewards and risks of quitting his job to go back to school. “It was an enormous decision,” says Campbell, “But it was something that I knew I had to do. We made sacrifices, but I remained focused on the end result.”

This decision paid off for Campbell, who was able to get a job in his new field at Jones Lang LaSalle, a commercial real estate company, soon after graduation. Four years after graduating, he has been promoted to director of learning and development. “As we grow older, we assume more responsibility ranging from home ownership to family accountabilities,” says Marty Martin, associate professor of management at DePaul, who specializes in human resources.

“As such, it is much more difficult to make a change and the risk is much higher if the change does not work out. But the reward of finding career fulfillment can make it worth the risk.”

Advice for Career Changers

Martin gives the following strategies for landing a full-time position after deciding to make a career change:

• Widen your networking circle in your new field by joining different associations, volunteering for committees in these associations and making contributions to LinkedIn discussion groups.

• Conduct informational interviews to learn about the industry and ask for feedback on your resume.

• Consider earning a badge, certificate or degree in your new field. If you intend to earn these credentials at a university, be sure to fully leverage its career management office to connect with students from your desired industry.

• Try to get projects or assignments at work or by volunteering in your future career field to add achievements and accomplishments on your resume.

By Andrew Zamorski

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