Peili Stroud

Transforming from a contributor to a driver

After working as a general manager for Asian chain restaurant Panda Express for almost five years, Peili Stroud (MBA ’19) was looking to make a career transition. She had been running five different stores in Central Florida and knew she wanted to transition into a new career that could help her make a big impact.

Stroud decided that an MBA from the University of Florida was the key to helping her do so. Indeed, one year after she began the UF MBA Full-Time program, Stroud has been able to transform her career into one that she is confident will help her effect change.

“[My UF] MBA helped me transform from a contributor to a driver,” she said. “I was so used to the role of a good child in the family, a model student at school, a good citizen in the organization [I worked for]. There were times when I didn’t speak up to avoid conflict and disruption.

“However, nowadays, the cutting-edge technologies have drastically changed the landscape of the marketplace, and the way people think, work and live. Companies are looking for talents who are bold and courageous enough to create waves of disruption. Aligned with the social trend, the UF MBA program challenges everyone to think differently and drive changes. This is the value proposition I will carry on in my future career.”

Upon her graduation this spring, Stroud will be joining the leading chemical company BASF’s Diversity Leadership Program, a top line leadership development program designed to cultivate fast-tracking leaders to drive changes in the organization.

Stroud notes three resources that helped give her the confidence to go out and get the job of her dreams – her classmates, coursework and the Business Career Services (BCS) office.

The Shanghai, China native felt her classmates and courses helped her bridge the gap she had in communicating.

“One of my biggest challenges is communication, as I am a non-native speaker,” she said. “The UF MBA program sets the tone of a professional communication environment. There are lots of class discussions, case competitions, and presentations. It requires not only clear expression of the ideas, but also engaging and persuasive communication skills.

“I was struggling in the first semester and felt I could not even express myself. However, the courses of Professional Writing and Communication paved the foundation [for improving my communication skills]. Furthermore, I am fortunate to have teammates and cohort members who generously make themselves available to help me practice, practice and practice.”

While her classmates and courses gave her confidence in her communication, the Business Career Services office taught her how to tell her story.

“[For me,] the résumé building process, and the STAR story telling framework helped me present myself in the best way possible,” she said. “Jason [Rife, Graduate Business Career Services Director] and his team have done an extraordinary job in providing top tier MBA career advisory services to students. Starting from the first day of the MBA program, BCS showed us a clear roadmap of training events tailored to different phases of the career search.

“Jason’s personal coaching, the mock interview, peer practice…have prepared MBA candidates well for their dream jobs.”

Stroud learned many other lessons during her time in the UF MBA program. She shared the following tips for current and future UF MBA students:

  1. Know your goals and stick to them. There will be a lot of events and activities going on. You need to wisely choose how to spend your time.
  2. Do your work! A large variety of tools will be introduced to help you build your own toolbox. How much you gain from this program is solely determined by yourself.
  3. Build your reputation and credibility.
  4. Talk with your soul, and find out who you want to be (eventually)!
  5. Be competitive, stay hungry and remain humble.

Want to transform into a driver like Peili? Learn more about UF MBA today.