Mendoza School of Business

From Medicine to Management

Discover how a shift to Notre Dame's MSM program launched a successful business career for one alumna

Author: Angela Sienko

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Julia Szepieniec (MSM ’21) had her sights set on a career in medicine when she entered her senior year at Upper Iowa University in 2019. She was a biology major with a focus on pre-professional/health science, and she had just spent her summer as a research intern at the National Institute of Health (NIH), where her work centered on a vaccine candidate for placental malaria.

Julia Szepieniec MSM ’21

However, despite the intrigue and impact of her internship, Szepieniec felt something was missing. “I just didn’t have the same passion for medicine that I saw my classmates exude,” she said. “I had an amazing experience and collaborated with great people, but I didn’t feel I was on the right path.”

Realizing she needed a change before committing to medical school applications, Szepieniec decided to explore her interest in business and began reaching out to her professors for guidance. They helped her focus on the relevant coursework she would need for the transition and encouraged her to study for the GRE, a requirement for admission to business school.

As for her choice of school, her deep-rooted connection to her Irish Catholic heritage drew her to Notre Dame, where she initially applied to the MBA program but found a better fit in the Master of Science in Management (MSM) program.

Tailored for individuals with non-business backgrounds, the MSM program provided Szepieniec with the perfect opportunity to pivot into business. “My background in medicine made me an ideal candidate for the MSM. I was on a non-traditional career path, and I didn’t have a lot of business or work experience,” Szepieniec said. “Everything I wanted to do could be accomplished with this master’s program. It was all quite serendipitous – not only did I find the perfect program for me, but it meant I was going to Notre Dame, which was my dream.”

Coming into the MSM program without business experience can be daunting for some students. But Szepieniec was reassured by the fact that she wasn’t alone: “Everyone in the program is on equal footing because none of us were business experts,” she said. “And the professors did a great job of ensuring the cohort progressed through the program as a cohesive unit.”

Szepieniec maximized the resources offered by Mendoza’s Graduate Business Career Development team to prepare herself for her post-graduation career. She gained exposure to various corporations and industries to refine her career path and received invaluable résumé guidance and extensive interview experience.

“I can’t even remember how many practice interviews I had with my career advisor,” Szepieniec said. “She even challenged me by arranging interview simulations with MBA advisers, who provided critical and constructive feedback. This thorough preparation instilled confidence in me for the interviews that truly mattered.”

When she graduated from Notre Dame in 2021, Szepieniec took her first steps into the business world by accepting a product development manager position for BeautyBio, a Dallas-based luxury performance-based skincare line. A year later, she accepted a new position at Goldman Sachs.

Today, Szepieniec is on the Management and Strategy Team at Goldman Sachs, supporting the Credit and Interest Rate Product Sales and Trading desks.

Reflecting on her journey, Szepieniec encourages others to embrace their unique backgrounds and experiences, leveraging them as strengths in their career transitions. She attributes her success to Notre Dame’s supportive community and dedicated faculty, emphasizing the value of every life experience in shaping one’s path to success.

Learn more about the Notre Dame MSM program today.

Mendoza School of Business