Jason Koester and his dog, Olly
Jason Koester and his dog, Olly.

Master of International Business alumnus shares advice for post-graduation career success

Jason Koester (BSBA ’11, MIB ’12) is an Account Executive with Amazon. He has built experience in sales, branded content, customer relationship management, and marketing and event planning throughout his career. While he initially didn’t think sales was the right career path for him, he’s since realized that it was actually a career he was well suited for. We spoke with Koester about his career, how the Master of International Business (MIB) program prepared him for life after college and his advice for students as they make their way in the professional world.

How he came to love his career in sales…

“After graduating from the Master of International Business (MIB), I started my career in South Florida at a travel agency because it was the best job I could find at the time that seemed interesting to me. Back then, I didn’t want to be in sales, as I didn’t think it was a role that would interest me – I was more interested in marketing. However, my job as a travel agent was a straight-forward sales position – making cold calls, selling vacations to people who weren’t looking for them and getting paid commission. After a few months in this job, I realized that I was wrong about sales for many years – it was perfect for me and I enjoyed it.

I then decided to pursue a career in advertising and moved to New York City (where my then girlfriend, now wife lived) without a job. With the help of an MIB alumni (who wound up becoming my mentor), I networked with advertising professionals in NYC and got some interviews. I got my first advertising job at Turner Broadcasting, and after 3 years of working hard and networking internally, I got promoted twice (first to Sales Planner and then to Account Executive).

I then moved to LA with my wife and worked for a small entertainment brand called Movie Pilot and got to experience the startup world. After a couple years there, I decided to make the jump back to corporate America, and I accepted an advertising sales role with Amazon, which is where I am currently. Each role I had prior to coming to Amazon helped prepare me for the position I’m in now.”

How the Master of International Business prepared him for his career…

“The MIB helped me understand the world better, which helps me get by in both my professional and personal life every day. First, learning about how business is done in other countries and understanding the similarities and differences of other cultures gave me a solid foundation to begin my professional life. Then, spending 5+ months abroad in Barcelona opened my eyes to other peoples, cultures and opportunities that I had never experienced before. Understanding the world better has allowed me to be more successful in business, especially as companies and businesses strive to become more diverse and more international.”

Best Master of International Business memory…

“My best memory from the MIB program was our group trip to Prague. For me, it was really special, as it was my first time in Europe. More importantly though, having that experience with the rest of my MIB classmates was a blast. I got to know everyone in a totally different way than how I knew them from class and it was truly a group bonding experience. The craziness of being in a foreign country coupled with the familiarity of doing it with your MIB classmates made for an amazing experience.”

Advice for current Master of International Business and other Warrington students…

“#1. It’s ok to not know what type of career you want right now. You’ll figure it out in time and through experience. It’s really hard to know what you want to spend every day doing until you’ve had the opportunity to do that thing, which leads to

#2. It’s totally ok to leave a job or to get fired. It happens all the time in the real world and it happens to almost everyone at some point in their professional lives. Not every person is going to be a good fit for every company and vice versa. If you start a job somewhere and you’re not happy, you should find another job that is better suited to you. Or if you get fired from a job, it’s not the end of the world. In fact, it’s probably a good thing because it means you’ll get to move onto something better for you quicker. Many people spend too much time in jobs they don’t like just because it’s comfortable/easy. Don’t do be that person. Strive for more. Dare to be happy doing what you do every day and you will be.”

Fun fact about Jason…

“My favorite thing to do in my spare time is to play with my pup, Olly. There’s nothing better after a long day at the office than coming home to a best friend who acts like he hasn’t seen you in years. My wife and I like to take him on bike rides – he rides in my front basket and yes, it’s really cute.”