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URC Keynote: Shifting Career Gears

04/05/17

Inspired by a teacher during her sophomore year of high school, Kaitlin Hallet ’10 decided to major in English and education. But after she graduated from MCLA, she decided to do something different, and used her English and teaching skills to transition into a career in finance.

Today, she’s a program manager at Fidelity Investments in Boston, Mass.

On Thursday, April 20, Hallet will return to MCLA to deliver the keynote address, “How to Prepare for a Career in Finance by Going to School to Teach English,” at the 15th Annual Undergraduate Research Conference (URC).

In addition to addressing the benefits of having English and education degrees while working in the financial industry, Hallet will talk to students about what they should do if they find they no longer want to pursue the career they studied for during college. She wants them to know that they can completely shift gears after they graduate, land on their feet, and find success.

“A liberal arts education is the best kind of education you can get,” Hallet said. “If you graduate and you realize you want to do something different, like I did, you’ll still be able to apply the skills you’ve developed.”

At MCLA, she learned a wide variety of communications skills, including how to think critically and analytically and about the power of the media. “This helps me today directly in my communications work, as well as my daily personal communications with my project teams.”

As an undergraduate, Hallet participated in the URC twice, presenting one paper in 2009 and three in 2010. She also gave PowerPoint presentations based on several of those papers at a state-wide undergraduate research conference.

Through these experiences, Hallet learned that she loves presenting to large groups: “Whenever I got the opportunity to enrich others by doing so, I would take it,” she said. However, her biggest takeaway was how much she enjoyed “working alongside really smart people with so many varied interests – there’s nothing like a conference atmosphere.”

After several jobs following her MCLA graduation, in 2011 Hallet began work as an administrative assistant at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. This role quickly expanded into the financial realm when she took over the management of 15 individual and four group accounts, in addition to approving faculty and staff purchases and student timesheets.

After two years at MIT, she accepted a training coordinator position at Fidelity Investments. Now, as a program manager, she oversees highly visible and complex programmatic courses, and works with a team that focuses on building and sustaining a positive environment for Fidelity’s current and future leaders through advanced management training programs and initiatives.

MCLA, Hallet said, was without a doubt the best choice for her.

“MCLA is for people who want to really dive into their education, who are passionate about taking part in their classes,” she said. “There are a lot of amazing, artsy people there, and the faculty and staff are all incredibly supportive and encouraging.”