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MPH Student Lands Post-Graduation Job through Hard Work and Dornsife Connections

April 26, 2017

Katrina Obieta, MPH Health Management and Policy ’17, had an ambitious game plan for finding a job after graduation: apply to 50 jobs during Winter quarter to get a job by graduation in June. Her dedication and hard work paid off: midway through finals week in March, Obieta landed a position as Strategy Analyst at Cancer Treatment Centers of America's main headquarters in Boca Raton, Florida. 

"A lot of things are falling into place, and a lot of it has to do with connections made at Dornsife,” says Obieta. She credits her faculty advisor Ray Lum, MPhil, MS, associate professor of Health Management and Policy, career preparation activities offered at Dornsife, and the incredible support she’s received from the team at her Community Based Master’s Project. “They’ve linked me to the right people so that I was able to find opportunities myself."

Obieta currently spends two days a week working on her Community-Based Master’s Project at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, with their Strategy and Business Development team. She found her CBMP position offered through Dornsife’s job board, Symplicity, last summer and came onboard in September. 

Explore Symplicity, the Dornsife Student and Alumni Job Board

At her CBMP, Obieta analyzes internal and external data to help Thomas Jefferson’s senior leaders make business decisions. She’s supporting the team's market analyses, developing competitor profiles and conducting environmental scans. She contributes to their monthly market intelligence report on competitive updates on regional, state and national level. 

Obieta is the third Dornsife SPH intern to work with her CBMP preceptor, Heather Prasad. One of the previous Drexel Dornsife interns, Jared Gorin, MPH ‘16, joined the Strategy and Business Development team full-time after graduation last year. It was Gorin who pointed Obieta to the opening at Cancer Treatment Centers of America, as he saw how closely aligned it was with her CMBP. 

“Important to Have a Game Plan"

Obieta started looking for jobs last October, setting up job alerts to scan every morning. She looked at job descriptions and requirements, keywords for job titles, and spent the Fall polishing her resume, crafting tailored cover letter templates, and going on informational interviews. 

“I spent mornings going through Indeed and Linked In and saving job posts instead of scanning Facebook, Instagram, and SnapChat," she said. At the end of the week, she’d apply to all the jobs she’d flagged. From January 3 through mid-March, she applied to a total of 32 jobs. By February, she was applying to about 5 jobs per week. 

Along the way, she prepared a list of questions for interviews and researched similar positions on Glassdoor. A colleague suggested going through questions and recording the answers. “It helped me prepare to sound more professional, which is especially important on phone interviews,” she noted. 

After applying to the position at CTCA in early February and passing the phone screening, she was asked to come to Florida for a day of interviews in late March. She turned a final paper the day before and took a final on the plane ride down. 

Thanks to her CBMP team and her Financial Management class with Mary Duden, she was extremely prepared for the interview. Her preceptor had dedicated an entire team meeting to conducting practice case studies. Professor Duden had rehearsed interview questions with Katrina, and taught the Financial Management class how to conduct break-even analyses, which Obieta was asked to complete during her CTCA interview. 

When she met with the team at CTCA, she had already conducted a partial market analysis of their organization in Philadelphia and was able to present her recommendations to their analysts. 

She got an offer the next day. After graduation in June, she’s excited to move to Florida and start work.

"Everyone at Dornsife and at my CBMP has been so helpful,” says Obieta. "People are willing to help - you just have to ask.”