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New alum earns bachelor’s degree in 30 months

01/07/15

Just two days after he finished high school, Jared Kahn ’14 of Albany, N.Y., became an MCLA student. From that point on, he was off and running, attending classes year-round, taking between 18 and 21 credit hours each semester and nine to 13 credits during the summer months.

As a result, this recent alum – who graduated last month – completed his bachelor’s degree just two and a half years after he started.

“The biggest reason I decided to do that was to save money,” Kahn explained. “I didn’t want to graduate with any debt. This was easiest way to do that. I just wanted to get in, get out, and start a career.”

He isn’t wasting any time looking for a job, either: The day before he graduated, he interviewed for a position as a budget analyst with SUNY-Albany. After a few years of work experience, Kahn plans to earn his Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) on his way to his ideal career in international investment banking.

In case he doesn’t find what he’s looking for in the job market in the next several months, Kahn – who earned his degree in business administration with an international concentration – has a back-up plan. He’s applied to a few pre-MBA programs, including one at Dartmouth.

Already, Kahn has several internships under his belt, including one that he served in China while he spent a semester abroad – living, working and studying in Shanghai – at the Shanghai Institute of International Business and Economics during the fall of 2013.

“I really loved it. I spent five months there, and it was the best five months of my undergraduate career. The experience of living in Shanghai was really great,” he said.

His internship with the Hauxin Trading Company was “essentially a simulation course,” Kahn explained. “We worked with another class from Europe, and we sold products to be exported from Shanghai.”

Back at MCLA, Kahn served an internship with Lever Inc., a non-profit, economic development incubator in downtown North Adams. There, he joined seven other interns – three from Williams College, two others from MCLA, one intern from Amherst College and another from Bennington College.

Among several projects Kahn and his fellow interns worked on was learning how to write a business plan for Cloud85, a co-working space in downtown North Adams, created for those who normally work from home.

“It gives them their own office space,” Kahn explained. “They’re in a great environment with many other professionals. It’s a great opportunity to talk and collaborate.”

Most recently, Kahn also worked at MCLA as a financial analyst intern for Vice President of Administration and Finance Jim Stakenas. Serving in that office, Kahn examined MCLA’s procurement spending as he looked to identify opportunities to utilize local products and services, in areas such as technology, food, janitorial and utilities. He also assisted an audit, handling the areas of purchase orders and contract vendors.

In addition to his internships, Kahn managed to put in more than 100 volunteer hours a year during the two years he was on campus, helping out organizations such as the Ronald McDonald Charity House, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and Habitat for Humanity. He also traveled to Belize in Central America during an Alternative Spring Break trip, to participate in a community service project for underprivileged school children.

Back on campus, the course Kahn most enjoyed taking was “Personal Investing.”

“That really sparked an interest in the stock market and in investing, which is one of my biggest hobbies now. It really inspired me,” he said.

Would he change anything?

“Absolutely not,” said Kahn. “I had a really great two-and-a-half-year experience. I was provided with really great internships and MCLA really helped me along in the process.”