MBA Degree Pushes Alumna Over Top In Dominican Experience

Whether it was working with a nonprofit in Georgia or helping first-year students feel at home on the Dominican campus, Jannel Mariano B.S. '16, MBA '20 has always been invested in helping and serving others, but a recent MBA degree at Dominican and a new job at SurveyMonkey near Silicon Valley has revealed her real strengths.

Her time at Dominican helped her lean into her strengths.

“My Dominican experience has been incredible. I’ve spent more years at Dominican than any town I grew up in so it will always feel like home to me,” says Jannel, now a recruiting coordinator at the online survey development cloud-based software as a service company based in San Mateo.

“The biggest takeaway I’ve gotten from Dominican is that people want to see you succeed. I am grateful for the mentors, past supervisors, classmates, friends, and co-workers Dominican has given me. When I look at my network of people, I know these are people who align with my values, who truly care about me, and are in my corner. Dominican opened doors for me and opened my eyes to different worlds I couldn’t imagine myself being in 10 years ago. Tell 17-year-old Jannel she would have landed a job in a big tech company and she would have laughed at how much of a far reach that sounded like, and I owe a lot to Dominican for supporting me in my journey.”

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Jannel earned an MBA along the way, which wasn’t in her plans when she first arrived at Dominican in 2012. She jumped into internships, minored in leadership, worked as a social media intern for College Debate 2016, and participated in a Campus Ministry immersion trip to El Salvador. She eventually secured a job as a refugee resettlement specialist with Dominican Volunteers USA through Catholic Charities of Atlanta.

“I knew I wanted to work towards a path of service, and quite frankly, I still feel like I am but in a different capacity. Service was always at the forefront of my mind and as I reflect on my career thus far, I realize there has always been a theme around the roles I take and that is access,” Jannel says.

“Being a public health major taught me that folks can be a product of the system and have the capability to be the best versions of themselves if barriers were broken down for them. Getting my MBA taught me about the system, why these decisions were being made and what the driving forces were. While I was working with Catholic Charities of Atlanta, I began shadowing more operational roles and saw the value in making sure the back end of a company is running smoothly so those doing the groundwork are able to do their best work.”

Jannel returned to Dominican to work as assistant director of undergraduate admissions. She had been a student ambassador captain in Admissions as an undergrad.

“I wanted to come back `home’ and I was drawn to the opportunities that were provided for me at Dominican. I wanted to open the door for other students with similar backgrounds as myself,” Jannel says. “My parents didn’t attend college in the United States and I had to bear a lot of the brunt of having to navigate the college search on my own; the application process, understanding financial aid, what it meant to move into the residence halls, etc. As a 17-year-old, it was a lot for me to figure out, but my admissions counselor was fantastic at answering all my questions.”

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In 2020, Jannel accepted another job on campus as the administrative coordinator to the Dean in the School of Liberal Arts and Education.

“In LAE, I saw an opportunity to support our students in the majors that didn’t have a direct path to a career the same way nursing majors become nurses,” she says. “I wanted to support them in seeing that their highly transferable & desirable skills could lead to meaningful careers with high-paying salaries.”

Then Jannel decided to pursue her MBA. She had classes with Dr. Thomas Cavanagh that taught her how to communicate effectively and hone in on her critical thinking skills.

 “The MBA program helped me see my place in a business setting and helped me see how much of what I had done so far was transferable,” Jannel says. “It challenged me to think beyond what one person can do and how team dynamic is important to the success of a business. I learned how to collaborate effectively with different people, listen and understand their perspective, and problem solve quickly.”

It also led her to Courtney Budesa, director of internships and professional development in the Barowsky School of Business. Jannel mentioned she had applied to SurveyMonkey and Courtney connected her with a friend who had previously worked at SurveyMonkey. That helped Jannel prepare for her interview.

“I got a better understanding of the culture and, with the guidance of Courtney, I was able to land the job,” Jannel says. “I spent a lot of time on the phone and on zoom with Courtney working on my resume, going over potential interview questions, and how to negotiate my salary.

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At SurveyMonkey, Jannel is a recruiting coordinator. She partners with recruiters and candidates to ensure the interview experience is seamless for everyone. She specializes in working with the interns and executive searches.

“SurveyMonkey wasn’t part of my master plan, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised.” Jannel says. “I knew I wanted to make the switch into tech because I wanted to make an impact on a more global scale. SurveyMonkey’s vision is to raise the bar for human experiences by amplifying individual voices. This vision really aligns with the personal values I’ve built through my previous occupations.”

In the end, Jannel is still helping and serving others and trying to make a difference. That has been her method of operation throughout her Dominican experience in a variety of ways. Her MBA provided a big push.

“I was dipping my toes in efforts and causes I was passionate about and knew would have a big impact. It took a while for me to realize what my strengths were,” Jannel says. “I allowed myself to lean into them; logistics, planning, and relationship management. I knew these were strengths that would serve me well, but did not quite know my `place’ yet so I enrolled in the MBA program in hopes of it leading me to a successful career.”

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