Interview with Mario Elizalde, iMSA graduate from the Gies School of Business at the University of Illinois.
When Mario decided to switch from being an entrepreneur to working in accounting, he knew he’d need some additional skills before he was fully prepared for a job in his new chosen field. Mario first thought about the skills he already had. He felt confident in his organizational and managerial skills, and he had some basic accounting knowledge as well. After identifying these transferable skills, he was ready to move forward.
Overcoming challenges along the learning and career journey
To build the rest of his skill set, Mario began looking at different learning programs and eventually decided a master’s degree was the next step that was right for him. But this introduced a new challenge. Mario didn’t want to leave his current job or relocate to a new city. Fortunately, his wife pointed him to Coursera, where he discovered the online Master of Accounting (iMSA) from the Gies College of Business at the University of Illinois. It was exactly what he needed. With the iMSA from Illinois, Mario could work on his own schedule and balance learning with the other parts of his life.
However, the iMSA program also had prerequisites that Mario couldn’t quite meet because his bachelor’s degree is in engineering and economics (not accounting). But having discovered the flexibility of learning on Coursera, Mario enrolled in and completed the courses he needed. Then he applied and was accepted into the iMSA program.
Seeing the results of combining current skills with new ones
While still in the program, Mario started actively working on his new career plans. With the combination of his transferable skills and the latest capabilities he was developing in his master’s program, he felt confident about pursuing new opportunities. With three months to go before his graduation, Mario received a job offer from Plante Moran, a tax solution group based in Denver, Colorado.
For anyone considering a career change, Mario’s story shows the importance of building upon your existing skills and experience. It’s also an inspiring example of how the flexible learning and world-class offerings on Coursera can make it possible for you to achieve your life and career goals on your terms.