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#141 The Mindset to Make a “3D” Career Change – From Wastewater Engineer to Luxury Brand Manager with Laura Pan, SDA Bocconi MBA ’18

Laura Pan, SDA Bocconi MBA

“You need to showcase what you’ve learned in the MBA and apply it to make you stand out. I think a lot of people think ‘I have an MBA on my CV so you have to hire me.’ But unless you prove it, how will [recruiters] understand that this person is worth their time and worth the headcount?”

Are you pursuing an MBA to make a “3 dimensional” (3D) jump into a new geography, function and industry? Laura Pan, currently a full-time MBA at SDA Bocconi in Milan, Italy, shares how she got from a wastewater treatment engineer to luxury brand manager, her dream job. Laura shares what it’s like to study in Italy, as well as the mindset necessary to capitalize on opportunities as an MBA student. Laura also opines on the myth and reality of attending a business school outside the top 10.


  • Laura’s background (4:34)
  • Career goals and shortlisting schools (6:32)
  • Studying luxury business management at SDA Bocconi (12:44)
  • Living in Italy (18:37)
  • Studying at SDA Bocconi and studying business as an engineer (23:44)
  • How Laura landed her internship, despite it being a “3D” change (27:26)
  • Proving your value during your internship to get a full-time offer (38:00)
  • What foreign applicants need to know about career services and job searching at European b-schools? (45:11)
  • The SDA Bocconi alumni network (51:20)
  • What about SDA Bocconi gets overlooked (54:50)
  • The myth and reality of attending a b-school outside the top 10 (57:10)

About Our Guest

Laura Pan worked as a quality control engineer for the Australian government, and then in the oil & gas and rail & automotive industries before going to SDA Bocconi for her MBA. Laura grew up in Australia and got a Double Degree in Chemical Engineering and Food Technology and Nutrition from RMIT University.

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