As part of the Michigan Ross Executive MBA community, you will work with one of our career consultants to assist you in mapping out a strategy based on your career goals and interests.
Sue Ann Gonis
LOS ANGELES CAMPUS
Sue Ann brings over 20 years of experience as an executive coach, career consultant, and team coach in multiple industries and functions. She also brings real-world experience as an executive for two Fortune 100 technology companies. Sue Ann will guide you as an EMBA student and alum to maximize your leadership potential and establish a career strategy to meet your short- and long-term goals. In addition, she will partner with you in articulating your personal brand, polishing your resume, optimizing LinkedIn, networking for success, interviewing to get the job, and negotiating your best offer.
Sue Ann holds a master’s degree in organizational leadership and a bachelor's in business administration.
“Sue Ann gets my highest recommendation as a career coach and mentor. Her unique ability to identify and comprehend complex business relationships has helped me greatly. I especially enjoy Sue Ann’s unique combination of friendliness and directness, which makes our conversations enjoyable and productive. I consider Sue Ann a very valuable asset to the EMBA program.” - Josh LeDuff, MBA
A Q&A with Donna and Sue Ann
What is unique about a Ross EMBA career consultant?
As Ross EMBA career management consultants, we are embedded within the EMBA program and we interact with students from the time they apply until they become alumni. We serve on the Admissions Committee and conduct interviews, we work side by side with the entire program team, and we are available and on-site whenever students are in residency to meet one on one or conduct workshops. We support alumni events and stay in close contact with EMBA alumni to facilitate networking and introductions between cohort students and the university. We also serve as the liaison between broader Ross and university resources to ensure student awareness and access to support their career objectives.
With what types of employers do your students land positions?
We work with students seeking mid- to senior-level management positions, directorships, and VP-level and above positions. There’s often a perception that business-school career resources are geared for people looking to enter large companies, but we help students successfully land positions with large and small employers, including private, public, and nonprofit organizations.
We have worked with students in a wide range of industries, including healthcare, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, automotive, aerospace, consumer electronics, finance, marketing, entertainment, technology, and manufacturing, to name a few.
Do you work more with students looking to change employers or those interested in advancing within their organization?
About 40% of our students are navigating their current employers in support of advancing or pivoting functions. Twenty-five percent are looking to pivot functions externally or switch industries, and the remaining 35% are a mixture of entrepreneurs looking to start a business or to work with startups in the private equity and venture capital space.
What do you recommend to students looking to make a career change right now?
You have to be more creative and do more to develop credible, relevant experience in a new field. The Ross ExecMAP is a great opportunity to develop experience you can leverage in your job search. In addition, joining professional organizations, speaking at conferences, and doing pro-bono consulting can be great ways to build a narrative around a new professional brand.
If you’re looking to change functions, the wisest strategy is often to do this first within your current organization. The leadership in your organization already knows you and what you’re capable of achieving. In addition, they see the commitment and opportunity inherent in your EMBA experience. If you feel there are barriers to moving within the organization, we can discuss individualized strategies for working through those perceived blocks. Often it comes down to developing an effective strategy for helping your organization see your potential. We’ve helped many EMBAs successfully rebrand themselves within their current organizations.
What’s different about what you do versus what a recruiter or headhunter does?
As your career consultant in the Executive MBA program, we will help you identify and achieve your personal and unique goals. Executive recruiters work for companies and are looking to find talent to fill a company’s next big opportunity. We’ll help you develop a customized, comprehensive job-search strategy and leverage your network to great effect. Working with a headhunter may be one important part of your strategy. And if you do get an offer through a recruiter, we’ll help you assess whether it’s the right opportunity for you.
We always coach students that while many sought-after positions are managed by recruiters, relying on recruiters should not be your only career-search strategy. Headhunters seek candidates whose experience is a direct match with the position they’re looking to fill; therefore, if your goal is to change function or industry, it can be hard to make your pitch to a recruiter. The best approach is to seek to build relationships with multiple headhunters who recruit for your industry, function, and geographic area. This increases the odds that when the right opportunity opens up, the recruiter retained to staff that position will think of you.
What do you see on the executive job-search horizon?
The job market has been strong for mid- to senior-level job seekers. A thriving economy has companies looking for leadership talent, and recruiters are increasingly contacting students with job leads. Executive-level salaries have come back from earlier lean years.