Reka Anna Lassu, Instructor, UCF
1 March 2019
In order to help current students and recent graduates to find their way in the working world, many of our alumni shared their career story. Here the story of Reka Anna Lassu, Instructor & PhD Student, University of Central Florida/Department of Management in Orlando (US). USI Degree: Master in Communication, Management and Health, 2011.
How did you start your career?
After finishing the Master’s program at USI, I moved back to the USA to be an instructor in the Department of Management at California State University, Chico. I loved teaching and researching employee wellbeing and did this for four years; this realistic job preview solidified my desire to pursue a career in academia. I realized that I needed to learn more advanced research skills to be able to do the types of studies that interest me. Thus, I applied to PhD programs in Management, and accepted the position at the University of Central Florida (UCF).
Why did you choose a career at University of Central Florida?
An important factor when choosing an employer, whether in industry or academia is the fit between the employee and the institution. When visiting UCF during my interview, I got to experience firsthand the culture of the university, and thought it would be a great fit for me. For instance, I liked that professors provide students with a strong foundation through coursework and they involve student in hands-on research projects early on in the program.
What is your current role/duties?
I am participating in a 5-year PhD program, so my current role has three main parts:
1) As a PhD student, I have to complete two years of courses such as Organizational Theory, Research Methods, and Structural Equation Modeling and three years of dissertation writing.
2) As a Research Assistant, I help professors with their research projects pertaining to organizational behavior topics.
3) As an Instructor, I teach an undergraduate Strategic Management laboratory.
In your opinion, what are the qualities necessary for a successful career at University of Central Florida?
The necessary qualities for a successful career at the University of Central Florida as an Instructor/PhD student are a passion for research, intellectual curiosity, an analytical mindset, and adaptability.
What are USI’s positive featuresand qualities?
The best parts about studying at USI were the international atmosphere and the small class sizes. As students, we made friends from all over the world and it was fascinating to learn about different perspectives and ways of life. This opportunity helped us better understand diversity in a globalized world. Moreover, the small class sizes and interactive style of teaching allowed for us to connect with our professors, collaborate in teams, and thus, learn through experiences.
What competences and/or skills acquired in your USI Study Program have been useful/are useful to your professional career?
At USI, I learned to develop a systemic and interdisciplinary view of the health sector. This mindset has helped me to see the big-picture when exploring health-related research and when solving business problems. Furthermore, I believe I gained a great research foundation. My thesis co-supervisor at USI was terrific and she helped me formulate hypotheses, design a study, collect & analyze data, and discuss the findings. I even got to present our study at the Medicine 2.0 5th World Congress in Boston, Massachusetts.
What is your advice to USI students entering the job market?
I recommend that students who are getting ready to graduate spend time reflecting on their strengths and figuring out what they are passionate about, so they can look for a meaningful career. It is also useful to build a professional network by attending relevant conferences and to try out different roles through internships.