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MBA Jobs: How My STEM MBA Helped Me Switch From Unilever To Microsoft

From consumer marketing in Ghana to working at Microsoft in Seattle, Susan’s career switch was a big one. A STEM designated MBA certainly helped her do it


Thu Nov 21 2019


With a combination of STEM and leadership skills, Susan Sasu's MBA job prospects were significantly advanced. Here's the story of how she landed a job at the world's biggest tech company, Microsoft. 

Working at Unilever in Ghana and South Africa, Susan was operating at the center of Africa’s rapidly growing consumer markets.

She was working in the customer marketing department, branding and developing some of Unilever’s biggest care products. But Susan had even higher aspirations.

“I wanted to step up into a more dynamic space where things are changing so quickly that you have to adapt quickly and dynamically,” she remembers. 

Her industry of choice—tech. Her country of choice—the US.

A strong sense of community

6e083652a7d7b56a1595b7fa2ec7355a15ebfd78.jpg Choosing between the different top MBA programs, Susan knew exactly what she was looking for. 

“I was looking for a place with a strong sense of community, with people who genuinely cared about your wellbeing,” she notes.

At an MBA fair, she stumbled across the table for Duke’s Fuqua School of Business. The team and alumni exuded a warmth and enthusiasm, and instantly she knew this would be the place for her to go and study her MBA. 

Fuqua’s MBA class is smaller than other top MBA programs, making for a tighter knit, closer community. 

Developing a solid grasp of tech

Susan’s decision to choose a US program didn’t come lightly, and she knew that she would need a competitive edge to continue her career in the US after graduation.

The MBA gave Susan the vital tools to help her transition into the tech role that she desired. 

She enrolled on the Management Science and Technology Management (MSTeM) track on the Fuqua MBA, which gives students proficiency in digital and technological fields to prepare them for a career in tech. 

“It gave me a lay of the land, particularly in terms of how the technology industry is evolving,” she notes. 

As Susan’s focus and experience was marketing, she wanted to explore the ways that technology is affecting marketing, as well as the different considerations that tech companies make in marketing their products and services. 

The MSTeM focused on strategic marketing through innovative technology, looking at how to deploy new data and analytics tools to make marketing more efficient. 

This is something she uses in her current role at Microsoft, as a product marketing manager for surface devices. She is developing new insights into how their products are performing on a global scale, as well as exploring the next market frontiers that Microsoft could be expanding into. 


A diverse and rewarding culture

The multicultural environment at Duke also helped to expand Susan’s knowledge and experience.

From a bachelor’s program in Ghana, which was mostly native students, Susan was launched into a program which is 37% international—a huge asset to her studies. 

“It gives you exposure to great discussions inside and outside of the class, [which] really impacts you and shapes the way you think about the world, about business,” she stresses.

“Hopefully I had this affect on them too!”

Susan also benefitted from the supportive atmosphere and mentoring that she got from second year students, so much so that she wanted to give back herself. 

In her second year, as a Fuqua Coach K Center of Leadership and Ethics (COLE) Leadership Fellow, Susan mentored 12 first year students, through structured leadership sessions as well as one-on-one sessions.  

“Those interactions really let me take a step back and adopt an empathetic, listening position,” she recalls. “A soft skill I was keen to improve during my time there.”

She also had a chance to input into the culture of the MBA class, working on a team of admissions ambassadors who interview prospective students and feed back to the admissions committee. 

As well as giving her these tech skills, the MSTeM also helped Susan in being able to stay on and work after she had completed her studies.

The STEM designation that the MBA program has offers international students like Susan two additional years on top of the one-year optional training period (OPT). 

“Duke really helped giving me that edge in terms of the whole immigration process,” she highlights. 

Now based at Microsoft’s headquarters in Seattle, Susan’s career transition has paid off, well-poised to continue a career in America’s tech industry.

Student Reviews

Duke University Fuqua School of Business




On Campus

Supportive atmosphere

The professors at Duke university exhibit exceptional commitment to the success and well-being of their students by ensuring their academic growth and fostering a supportive social atmosphere. Moreover, the entire community is recognized for its amicability and inclusiveness.




On Campus


The people or the students are without a doubt Duke's greatest asset. While all students are driven to succeed, they are also enthusiastic about a variety of hobbies. You run across a huge lot of diversity. It is the ideal example of a school with well-rounded students and the ideal balance of campus life in a metropolis.




On Campus

Happy to school

All I could ever hope for is Duke University. That really epitomizes the "work hard, play hard" philosophy that elite colleges frequently pursue. Even though you'll have a lot of schooling to complete over the week, it's simple to keep focused because all of your friends are putting in similar amounts of effort. Many events taking place on and around campus on the weekends provide a great way to unwind. The combination of demanding academics and traditional college fun strikes the perfect balance.




On Campus

Good schooling

Living, eating, learning, and developing who you want to be as an adult are all fantastic at Duke. I participated in student athletics, and I couldn't have asked for a better interaction with the faculty and other students. I appreciate all of the help I get from the Duke community more than anything. Furthermore, the teachers take the time to get to know you, and the lectures are diverse and demanding (if you do the same). I'd give it a 10 out of 10.




On Campus

Beautiful School, Nice Classes

DU remains one the greatest and best universities that I have ever stepped in. The school is beautiful and neat. The classes are spacious and also very nice. I enjoyed attending my Lectures in those lecture halls. I also loved the Lecturers because of the good work they did. The university also has very good dorms that are given to students on first come first serve basis and they are affordable





Amazing experience

I received my B.S. in Biology and B.A. in Global Health with a minor in Chemistry from Duke University. I was able to grow as a student, scientist, and global health advocate with the help of my friends, professors, and other mentors I met along the way. A lot to learn if you look and ask, a great place to learn for those who want to learn.





whirlwind of growth and change

An amazing 2 years, with covid and everything else happening Duke has been a place of growth for me. The courses , classes were one of a kind, online and on campus. But the valuable lessons learned in the classes are irreplicable. The students are amazing here, so much diversity , I had no problem fitting in. The teachers are down right brilliant and so helpful. Don't be afraid to ask them anything. Graduated with my MBA with Duke and now my future awaits.




On Campus

One of the best for Business students

Graduated with an MBA. The classes were very insightful and engaging. The staff are very easy to deal with. The teachers and students, are truly amazing people. Grateful to all the people I've met along the way at Duke. I've learnt a great deal that will help me in my future endeavors. The campus itself is a marvel, it is beautiful.




On Campus

The university campus is awesome

I graduated with a masters degree in Religious Studies from Duke University. One thing I really liked about the university is its huge campus. It is spread in a large area with a lot of greenery and also have the facilities of reading rooms for single person also. My department building was very well taken care of. The library is immensely populated with books for all your needs. The faculty is very nice to students. The classes are equipped with latest technology to cater the needs of students. The University also provides room rentals for international students. They are very well maintained and priority is given to the International students for a comfortable stay there. There are weekly events conducted by the University as well as Student clubs for the entertainment of students. Anybody can take part in them and show their talents. I enjoyed my degree and I graduated in 2021 and was very happy that I had graduated from a reputed University.