Department of Technology alumna Akzer Yeshmukhanetova, M.S. ’16, returned to Illinois State University February 22 as the keynote speaker for the International Students Career Series luncheon.

Yeshmukhanetova spoke about her experiences applying for jobs for OPT. She applied for hundreds of positions and had a handful of interviews. She took time to research each company prior to applying for positions and researched again prior to interviewing. Her resume and applications were customized for each company and position. Despite the challenges, she persevered.

Yeshmukhanetova graduated from Illinois State with her master’s degree in project management. Currently, she works for the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in Chicago as an implementation specialist for one of BCG’s flagship products.

Before joining BCG, Yeshmukhanetova worked for a small consulting firm where she specialized in CRM (customer-relationship management) system (Salesforce) implementations and consulting. This was her first full-time job after graduation from Illinois State.

While studying project management in the Department of Technology, she served as a graduate assistant for Department of Technology and worked for the Student Affairs information technology (SAIT) organization on campus. Before graduate school and coming to the United States, she was part of IBM’s Global Business Services in Europe, Middle East, and Africa region (EMEA), where she had the opportunity to work on a wide variety of both local and international projects in sales operations, compliance, and process improvement.

Yeshmukhanetova grew up in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Having lived in a city located in foothills of the Ili Alatau Mountains, she always enjoyed spending time outdoors and viewing picturesque spots in and around her hometown. She hopes to to travel to Brazil and Argentina, and also visit her brother who has recently relocated to Prague, Czech Republic. She is fluent in four languages (Kazakh, Russian, English, and Turkish) and is able to speak French on a conversational level.

Yeshmukhanetova is a gold medal winner of a Republican Educational Olympiad, a countrywide competition among school students in eighth–11th grades in Kazakhstan, where she was born and raised. Her subject area was in history and civil rights, therefore that accomplishment had landed her a full scholarship in one of the top law schools in the country. However, after finishing school (Zhautykov Republican Physics and Mathematics Boarding School for Gifted Children) she chose to go with a STEM degree due to her heavy math and physics background and has never regretted her choice for a second. It has been a very rewarding and interesting journey so far!