Panel Discussion: First Jobs Beyond Academia (presented by Microsoft)

by Beyond Academia at UCSB

Discussion Graduate Student Experience

Back to 2022 Beyond Academia Conference

Mon, Apr 11, 2022

12 PM – 1 PM PDT (GMT-7)

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Effective ways of networking, job hunting, and interviewing are changing, especially during a pandemic. Hear from panelists who recently graduated and navigated the new job market to find their first jobs beyond academia.


Kenneth Iwezulu ( he slash him )'s profile photo

Kenneth Iwezulu (he/him)

Technical Program Manager II

Microsoft Corporation

I have a BSc and MSc degree in Mathematics both from the University of Ibadan in Nigeria and a Ph.D. in Operations Research from Florida Institute of Technology in the US. I currently work at Microsoft as a technical program manager where I spend the core of my time Defining and managing the team's OKR based on the business need using statistical analysis of historical data and engineering initiatives. I also utilize data analysis to drive process improvement. Prior to joining Microsoft in 2018, I was an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Eastern Florida State College for 6 years.

Kahkashan Afrin ( she slash her )'s profile photo

Kahkashan Afrin (she/her)


McKinsey & Company

I am an Associate with McKinsey’s Digital Practice, based out of our Southern California office. I work towards bringing advanced analytics and digital capabilities to solve complex business problems, creating change and lasting impact for our clients. Before joining McKinsey, I finished my Ph.D. in Industrial & Systems engineering from Texas A&M University. During my Ph.D., I specialized in using machine learning for clinical applications and building smart wearable devices for chronic diseases such as epilepsy and obstructive sleep apnea.

Ana Guerrero ( she slash ella )'s profile photo

Ana Guerrero (she/ella)



Dr. Guerrero is a PhD graduate from the UC Santa Barbara Department of Education. Her professional, academic, and personal experiences inform her commitment to furthering equity and inclusion in higher ed. For more than 10 years, she has actively advocated and supported first-generation college students in many capacities, such as in volunteer work, student organizations, presentations, work, etc. She believes access to information and guidance is crucial for first-generation college students, thus, she founded FirstGen_Resilience. Grounded in research, practice, and personal experience, FirstGen_Resilience empowers students by providing higher education, information, exposure, guidance, and motivation with a holistic, culturally proficient approach.

Ana Besserman ( she slash her )'s profile photo

Ana Besserman (she/her)

Knowledge Engineer


Ana received her PhD in Linguistics from the University of Southern California in 2021. She is now a knowledge engineer at Amazon in Santa Barbara, working to help Alexa be more knowledgeable and delight customers.

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