Alysse Rothbaum sits in Barcelona.

Master of International Business alumna highlights the importance of teamwork in school and after

Alysse Rothbaum completed her BSBA in 2011 and Master of International Business (MIB) in 2012. Today, Alysse works as a Demand & Deployment Analyst at Victoria’s Secret.  Alysse spoke with us about how her MIB degree set her up for success in New York City and advice she has for current students.

By Alysse Rothbaum, BSBA ’11, MIB ’12

After graduating with my Master of International Business, I did what most Floridians do – move to Kansas! To be honest, never in my life did I think I would ever live (or even visit) this state. But when I was looking for my first full time job, I was focusing on a position where I could learn and develop new skills with a focus in analytics, regardless of its geographic location. I found an amazing opportunity at Payless ShoeSource headquarters and was very lucky to call it home for two years.

After a few years in Kansas, I was ready to move back to the East Coast and had my heart set on New York City. It was time to trade in BBQ for bagels! I was sad to leave all of my wonderful co-workers but very excited to start my next chapter.

Fast forward to today – I’ve been in New York City for five years, and it’s certainly been a wild ride.

Probably one of the most important (and least acknowledged) lessons I learned in the MIB program was how to successfully navigate group projects with strangers. In most of our classes, part of the curriculum included a project where we had to review case studies or write papers and present our findings as a team. Sometimes our groups were randomly assigned and you had to work with other students you didn’t really know. At the time, I was disappointed when we couldn’t pick the people we wanted to work with, but looking back, it was a blessing in disguise. 

In the real world this situation happens all the time. You are brought in on a project with people you’ve never met and together you need to solve a problem. Part of that process includes building rapport, identifying each other’s strengths, assigning responsibilities, executing tasks, holding each other accountable, reviewing solutions, before finally presenting your recommendations to leadership. 

For current Master of international Business students, here are a few pieces of advice that I’ve learned so far in my career:

  1. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t know how to do something right away. All experts started out as beginners.
  2. Building good relationships at work is just as important as the actual work you’re trying to do.
  3. You can’t control everything that happens to you, but you can control how you react to it.
  4. Don’t worry if your career path doesn’t go straight up. It’s okay to take lateral moves and gain additional experiences that will better set you up in the long run.
  5. Treat every professional experience, good or bad, as a learning opportunity. Things will go right and things will go wrong, just try and learn from them because that’s how you’ll grow.
  6. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. This sentiment goes for wanting to be a part of that special project at work, negotiating a job offer and even deciding on where you and your friends want to go for dinner.
  7. Speaking of job offers, make sure to do your research and negotiate every offer. It might feel uncomfortable at first, but you’ll get better at it over time. (If you’re still nervous, please revert back to #1.)
If you want to boost your business and teamwork skills, as well as your professional development, request information about how the Master of International Business can benefit you like it did Alysse