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Poole Class of 2021 Spotlight: Erika Kido

Erika E. Kido, Jenkins MBA Program

Mothers everywhere know it can be a real challenge to reenter the workforce after staying home to raise young children. Erika Kido is no exception. And it’s why she looked to the Poole College of Management Jenkins MBA Program to jump start her career.

Kido, who is half Japanese and half Ecuadorian, completed her undergraduate studies in Japan, where she studied law. Afterward, she came to the United States to pursue her master’s degree in public health (MPH) at the University of Michigan.

“After my MPH, I worked as a health educator, HIV test counselor and project coordinator,” Kido says. “Recently, before starting my MBA, I worked part-time as recruiting specialist, medical interpreter – Japanese and Spanish – and as a senior clinical research specialist at Duke School of Nursing for breast cancer survivor research. All of them at the same period of time while watching my youngest at home.”

As Kido looked to get back into the workforce full-time, she found it challenging.

“It was impossible to get in the positions I was interested in,” she says. “Getting my MBA had been on my bucket list and I thought this was the time to do it and kick start my career.”

Kido entered the Jenkins MBA Program in 2019 and immediately saw the importance of creating connections with her classmates and professors.

“Teamwork is the key, as the MBA program is rigorous and it can be very stressful,” she says. “Having a great team where you can face the challenge while still keeping good humor and kindness toward each other can make the experience much better and help you accomplish more.”

Kido, who had a lot on her plate, needed that encouragement over the last few years.

Erika Kido and her family

“I had a full-time internship at IBM in the summer of 2020 when everyone was home, so I needed to juggle work, home, kids, school and whatever else was on my plate – all remotely,” Kido says. “I also served as the president of the executive committee at the Japanese School in Raleigh, and as a board member for a local childcare nonprofit.”

Kido describes 2020 as an unimaginable year where she learned the words innovation, time management, and leadership. 

“How did I manage all of these things? Well, I am not sure how I found time to sleep but we did it. I believe the key was again, teamwork,” Kido continues. “At home, my husband was always willing to take on more responsibilities and continue to encourage me while he also had a challenging year with everything shifting suddenly to remote. At other places, I always had people I could trust and delegate tasks. I could have not done any of the things alone, so I have immense gratitude toward everyone who surrounded – and continues to surround – me. And my kids’ encouragement was wonderful too. One thing that kept me going is the belief that my kids will remember this time and know that if you have a will, you can find the way to achieve anything.”

Kido is also thankful for the opportunities provided to her as part of the Jenkins MBA Program.

“I was awarded a graduate assistant position, which was crucial for me to even continue dreaming about getting an MBA. And the Owens Graduate Fellowship was a great help to support my dream,” Kido says. “Not only that, but the McLauchlan Fellowship Program also allowed me to shed one more layer to further develop my leadership skills. Thank you to all the donors for making my journey possible and successful.”

After graduating with her MBA this May, Kido will begin a full-time position at IBM – and she will take with her many important lessons learned from her time at Poole College.

“I learned a lot of things in these two years at Poole, but more than anything, I learned that information is everywhere. We just need to know who and how to ask when we need it,” Kido says. “I was able to dramatically increase my network in these two years thanks to the push from the career center coaches. I learned that most people are willing to help you with advice or information, and I want to be ready to provide the same to those who are looking for guidance as well.”

This post was originally published in Poole College of Management News.

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