OSU MBA students receive advice
to help prepare for a career

by Taylor Mullan 
(February 23, 2017 at 1:49 pm)
Mackenzie Wilfong

Mackenzie Wilfong

Oklahoma State University MBA students learn quite a bit of material to help them in their professional careers. On Feb. 17, Mackenzie Wilfong shared with the OSU students some things she wished she knew before starting her career.

Wilfong earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Oklahoma, graduating Phi Beta Kappa. She received her Juris Doctorate degree from Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law. Following law school, Wilfong practiced litigation at Spencer Fane Britt and Browne, a national law firm, where she specialized in education and employment law, practicing in Kansas and Missouri.  

After leaving private practice, she joined the United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights as an enforcement attorney investigating allegations of harassment and discrimination in educational institutions. She is the Associate General Counsel for the Board of Regents of the Oklahoma State University and Agricultural and Mechanical Colleges, located in Stillwater. 

Wilfong begins with the importance of elevator speeches that include your name, degree, major and what you are working on professionally. At the end, she recommends asking the person about themselves or what they are wanting to do.

“Mackenzie Wilfong gave insightful advice relevant to young professionals. I found her advice about perfecting your elevator speech to be particularly beneficial,” Tess Hollopeter, MBA student, said. “She highlighted the importance of getting to know people quickly through mutual commonalities and striving to show genuine interest in people. The MBA program was grateful to have her speak to our students.”

Next, Wilfong directs a thought to the women in the room. In a man’s world, as a woman, find what your thing is to be noticed and remembered. This led to strategic self-disclosure, especially in social media.

“Know your audience and what you are disclosing about yourself when you are talking about events and politics and their sources,” Wilfong said.

Wilfong then goes on to share advice on preparing for interviews. The hardest part in preparing for the interview is doing research beforehand. Research the company and employees in press releases, and read all the way to the bottom of the biography.

“Show interest in people from the company, learn about them and ask questions,” Wilfong explains.

After conducting research, prepare interview schedules and an outline of the topics you want to discuss during the interview. To conclude the interview, make sure to have a list of questions to ask the interviewer.

Wilfong gives general tips to apply to everyday life. Be respectful, mind your manners, and understand that work (like life) is not fair. Mentor relationships are important, but you need a friend who will tell you what you don’t want to hear.

“I don’t ask people to come to me, I go to them,” Wilfong said.

Wilfong leaves students with a final thought to remember, where you are, is where you start.

MBA students engaged in the information Wilfong shared.

“It was such a great opportunity to learn about the different aspects of job offers and how to negotiate,” Niloufar Mehrafza, MBA student, said.