Yulia Yevsukova: From People to Promotions, a Rewarding Journey

Yulia Yevsukova grew up in Kazakhstan and emigrated with her family to the U.S. in 2005. Four years later she graduated from UC Davis with a bachelor’s degree in managerial economics. She has worked at River City Bank, the largest community bank-based in the greater Sacramento area, since 2009.

When Yevsukova began the Sacramento MBA program, her business card read “Credit Analyst,” and she was already well on the way to becoming a portfolio manager of a diversified and well-established commercial client base. She handily reached that goal. While in the MBA program, she  she was promoted again, this time to an assistant vice president role.

“I attribute my success to my UC Davis MBA experience. My managers recognized my dedication to growing my career—and this opened opportunities for advancement.”

How did your professional experiences lead you to the Graduate School of Management?

As a commercial lender, I constantly interact with business owners. I get to see how they make strategic decisions, what they do to become and stay successful, and how they manage the challenges and downturns. It truly fascinates me. To better understand how my customers operate, I wanted to learn more about entrepreneurship, strategy and marketing. The UC Davis MBA program has not just provided the knowledge I was seeking—it has also inspired me to own and manage my own business someday.

Where do you want to be post-graduation? In five years?

Equipped with increased knowledge, I will be able to understand and serve my customers better—and be able to lend to bigger and more complex companies. I will also be prepared to make better and more complex decisions in the realm of commercial lending. In the long term, I hope to be in a key management position, making and implementing strategic decisions, either as a part of an executive team or as a business owner.

What are you passionate about in your future career?

Through the MBA program, I have discovered that strategy and general management intrigue me. I have also become interested in social entrepreneurship, and I want to explore that further. After getting enough work and management experience under my belt, I hope to lead a business in a social entrepreneurship arena, possibly a nonprofit.

How will the MBA help get you there?

I’m gaining the startup capital of knowledge and the tools to keep learning, expand my experience and keep honing my skills. I’ve also grown a rich network of bright minds, and I will be able to tap into that network to achieve my professional aspirations.

What’s most valuable about being in a part-time MBA program while holding a full-time job?

Applying the knowledge I just garnered through lecture and discussion the following morning.

What’s most challenging?

Getting the most out of the program. My job is my priority, and it’s only too easy to skip the reading or the student club meeting because I’m so busy in the office. I work hard to avoid the mentality that simply “being present” in class is enough. I always keep in my mind that I did not enroll into the program just to spend three hours at night at a lecture. That would be a waste! I want to get out of the program as much as possible, and the only way to do it is to put in as much as I can. Then comes another challenge: getting enough sleep.

A breakthrough or A-ha! moment in the MBA program?

My organizational behavior and strategy courses were not simply A-ha! moments, but the most eye-opening experiences in the MBA program thus far. I used to think that having a great product or service was the key to having a successful business. Now I understand that the most important factors are the people, their management and their interrelationships. These can make or break the company, regardless of how great a product or a service it provides. I can also appreciate the challenge of being an effective leader in an organization.

What’s been your most rewarding experience in the program?

A better understanding of how the world operates. The School does not only teach business. It teaches critical thinking, decision making, negotiation, power and influence, which are applicable in any sphere in life—business, politics, personal relationships, you name it. Every day I witness decision making or a certain tactic at River City Bank or at a client’s business. It is rewarding to know that after putting so much effort into my education, I now have better understanding why it is being done that way, and what role I play in the system. I also find the friendships I have made and the extraordinary people I have met at the School deeply rewarding.

How do you unwind?

Play tennis, cook, take a walk and spend time with my loved ones. If I have a bit more time, escaping to Tahoe or to the ocean is the best way to recharge.

What’s important to you, personally? Who has been most influential in your life?

It is very important to me to be able to build a strong and healthy family while working toward my career goals. I constantly search for inspirational examples among successful women, and I find them among my family, my professors and my customers. Unfortunately, I don’t think there is enough public support in our society for women like that. The constant search for that balance will shape my future career and life.

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