Alum Switches From Biotech to Healthcare Marketing After Graduating with M.S. in Business Analytics Degree

Originally from Bosnia and Herzigovina, Dijana Obralic, M.S. in Business Analytics, ’17 never thought she would switch careers.

SEBA Alum Dijana ObralieDijana Obralic had come to the United States in 2009 to study biochemistry at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana, convinced that scientific research was her calling. Directly after she graduated, she started working in biotech. But after four years working as a scientist at Thermo Fisher Scientific, she realized that the day to day tasks in this field weren’t fulfilling to her on a deeper level. 

She felt stuck in a way she hadn’t before. "Science is creative, but I was looking for something more creative. And for me to keep moving forward in science I would need a PhD. That was not for me." 

Looking for a more viable skill set, she made the decision to attend Saint Mary's College in 2015, starting her degree in Business Analytics in 2016 and graduating in 2017. 

She wanted something different, but didn’t want to give up the skills she had learned during her education and time working in the field. She knew that she wanted to have more autonomy, be more excited and fulfilled in her daily work, and that that did not include being in the lab day after day. 

"I had thought I was going to just be in the field of science," she said, "But I like flexibility. I like things changing all of the time.” Not exactly sure what to do, Obralic went back to the drawing board to look at what she could do using her current skill set within a different field. She decided to focus specifically on jobs with skills she could perform in the healthcare field, that would also be dynamic, compelling, and engaged.  

In her research, she learned that marketing was creative as well as utilized her current skill set. “That's how I figured out what I wanted to do," she said. But as she went out into the world to interview for jobs in marketing, she hit wall after wall. Potential employers agreed she had the skills, but they kept rejecting her for unknown reasons.

"I found jobs that I wanted, but since I was switching careers (and making lateral move salary wise) I didn't know how to make my  work experience in science relevant to any marketing or data position," said Obralic. 

One of her recruiters finally had the heart to pull her aside and tell her that although she had great skills, employers were probably still missing something from her she needed to cultivate. She had no story for why she wanted to switch. She was going into interviews armed with skill but not with the bridge from being a scienctist in biotech to working in marketing in the healthcare industry. They needed to know more about the why. Why did she wanted to switch from being a scientist to being in marketing? What would make her a good fit for them?

Feeling frustrated and losing faith, Obralic sought out SEBA Career Services at Saint Mary's College. Able to discuss her issue in great detail, her counselor confirmed that the skills she had acquired alone weren’t enough. She needed to take the time to develop a believable story to show the why of her wanting to switch fields.  After some work, she came up with a story she could repeat to potential employers, to help them feel comfortable with hiring her in spite of her lack of direct marketing experience in the field. She went out to interview again with new hope.

One month after she changed her story, Obralic met the current director of sales at Healthline through networking. After a brief conversation, in which she practiced her new narrative, the director of sales said she thought she would be a good cultural fit.

"She passed my resume along to the HR team and very soon I had a three-panel interview with the director of marketing and two marketing managers,” said Obralic. A few days later, she had an interview with the VP of marketing at Healthline. Then she got the job.

Obralic has been working since April 10 as an assistant marketing manager, using the skills she learned in the M.S. in Business Analytics program. Though she is finding herself happy with her job, Obralic has her eyes on the future, planning to eventually move up through the ranks to a leadership position in marketing.

“SEBA Career Services helped me come up with the story about myself that clearly explained why I wanted to change careers from biotech science to marketing. I mostly struggled with interviews, but once I had a solid convincing story, everything changed for the better,” said Obralic.