Deloitte Office Visit

On Friday February 1st, 2013 we were given the opportunity to visit Deloitte’s office in Rockefeller Center and met a number of successful Colgate alumni who work in the firms consulting division. When we arrived at the office Mitchell Brummer, a Colgate alum, greeted us and gave us an office tour. The office was brand-new and incredibly modern. There are no individual offices, but rather various rooms and lounge spaces where individuals can work. The design is supposed to encourage people within the firm to network. Employees seemed to take advantage of the spaces provided and were seen collaborating throughout the office. Mitchell then introduced us to Deirdre Ryan, another Colgate alum, who works as a Strategy & Operations Principal at Deloitte. Deirdre showed us how Deloitte employees are constantly learning by allowing us to briefly sit in on a training session. She explained that similar workshops are often held in order to ensure that Deloitte employees are informed about their particular division. In addition to on-site training sessions, employees spend time at Deloitte University in Texas ensuring that they are prepared to properly handle clients’ problems.

Deirdre gave a presentation about Deloitte and her Colgate experience. The first topic covered was an overview of what it means to be a management consultant. She explained that consultants generate value by delivering the skills, knowledge, and advice to address various business challenges for their clients. Deirdre gave examples of the problems she is currently working to solve. She is working with a company called YP, which used to be Yellow Pages, to help them rebrand, redesign, and re-launch themselves. She explained that she loved working for Deloitte because she believes they have a broader spectrum than some of the other consulting firms. They not only develop ideas, but also implement them. She also believed that Deloitte was an excellent place to work and explained to us the tradition of impact day, which is a day where every member of the firm volunteers somewhere. Deirdre informed us about Deloitte’s business analyst program, which provides recent college graduates with the opportunity to gain a firm understanding of the consulting industry. The program is a rotational position, which requires individuals to complete four unique projects with three different clients in two industries. Once the employee has completed the necessary requirements they can pick what projects they enjoy working on the most. Finally, Deirdre explained to us the value of a Colgate education. She believes that a Liberal Arts education provided her with a broad background and taught her to question everything, which is critical in the consulting industry. Rachel Miller, another Colgate alum, also sat in on the presentation and introduced herself to everyone. Rachel and Deirdre laughed about their experiences coming back to campus. Deirdre recently returned to campus this fall to interview students in career services. She shared two helpful tips when interviewing: be thoughtful about what you say, and be conscious of your appearance.

I really enjoyed visiting Deloitte, meeting the successful Colgate alumni currently employed in the consulting division, and hearing about various opportunities at the firm. Deloitte definitely appeared to be an excellent work environment full of intelligent and hardworking individuals.

Women in the 2012 Election

Just over one week ago the American public reelected President Barack Obama to a second term. According to a recent article published in the Huffington Post on voter results, Obama received 59% of the vote from unmarried women as well as 59% of the vote for people ages 18-29. This victory, specifically in the eyes of women, was well-documented and predicted.

Among the hundreds of statistics and polls, it’s difficult to keep track of who leads whom in specific states, regions or demographics during the campaign. However, CNN states that by mid-October data showed that white women supported Obama in place of opponent Mitt Romney 52%-46%. It’s clear that certain issues stood above the rest at the voting booths for young, ambitious and independent women.

Most notably is the umbrella topic of female sexual freedoms: the right to birth control, the abortion debate and governmental support for Planned Parenthood centers around the country. Part of Romney’s federal cutback plan included the threat to remove funding for Planned Parenthood, which helps to provide contraception, breast and ovarian cancer screenings and examinations, guidance and medical assistance for women. This was one issue that I, as well as many female college students, are unwilling to sacrifice, political associations aside.

Secondly, respect for women’s equality in business and politics served as a majorly contested issue. Historically the Republican party has been seen as “The White Man’s Party,” and unfortunately, this nickname produces the misconception that it is closed off and uninterested in female participation.  In addition, Mitt Romney lost many female supporters when he alluded to his “binders full of women” as well as his concern that working women should have time to “go home and cook dinner” during the debates. Whether or not Romney’s statements were intentional or mistaken, his platform presented a tangible and recognizable conflict of interest for women.

A common political standpoint for a majority of college students (including myself) is to identify as “fiscally conservative and socially liberal”, which makes the decision to support either the Republican or Democratic party increasingly difficult. In addition, this was my first election in which I was eligible to vote. On the broad political spectrum, I am pro-choice, against war, and in support of equal rights for women in the workplace but I also believe in the superior nature of capitalism, private ownership of business and limited interference from the government in business practices. In this election, there was no perfect candidate to simultaneously mediate my beliefs and win the hearts of the American public. Electing the President, and the political sphere as a whole, presents a clear environment where one is forced support the lesser of two evils.

For more information on women’s influence on the 2012 election, read these articles:

  1. http://www.cnn.com/2012/11/08/politics/women-election/index.html
  2. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carl-jeffers/some-poignant-personal-ob_b_2137023.html
  3. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/07/women-in-politics-break-records-2012-election_n_2088954.html

ISP Lecture Reflection: Julie Kelly ’04

On Wednesday night, Julie Kelly generously donated her time and advice to an eager group of Colgate students. Both at the dinner and lecture itself, Kelly shed light on everything from getting your first job to maintaining and growing investments for retirement. As others have mentioned, she made everything simple enough to understand, even for those of us who didn’t know what IRA stood for. It was refreshing to listen to a lecturer who knew her audience, and moved at a comfortable pace. On so many occasions, career advice can be well-meaning but not catered to a given audience. I’d like to thank her for taking time out of her enormously busy schedule to give back to Colgate and let us soak up some of her vast financial and career knowledge.

What Julie Kelly Taught an English Major

The stock market, Economics 101, graphing calculators and Julie Kelly were four things that made a lover of words, books and open discussion nervous on Wednesday night. The Investment Studies Program brought Colgate alumna Julie Kelly (’04) to speak to students about the basic terminology of finance and explain the importance of understanding these terms. She aimed to enlighten students on how to prepare and handle their own finances once they’ve graduated from Colgate, and for some that date is rapidly approaching. Kelly lectured at a slow pace, ensuring that those who had never taken an economics course could understand what a bond was and how to buy, use and redeem it. She also spoke about mutual investments, which are her specialty, and how one person can invest in a portfolio of different companies that share a common theme. Above all, there were two lessons that stuck out from the rest. First, we need to start thinking about retirement. Although a daunting and faraway place, Kelly urged that it is never too early to begin saving. Second, emotion must be absent when investing in the stock market because those companies that appear to do well one day can change the next. Kelly suggested that it’s much safer and smarter to invest in a company with a history of steady growth and productivity in order to gain, not lose.

Along with a handful of other students, I was additionally lucky to attend a welcome dinner before Kelly’s lecture where she spoke informally about her experiences since 2004. Kelly’s biggest weakness is her intensity, she told us, and she cannot relax and sit back easily. It was obvious that Kelly worked for every dollar and promotion she has earned with both ferocious tenacity and a strong background with her liberal arts education.

During this dinner conversation, Kelly mentioned the most important thing we, as current students and future graduates, can do right now is to set up informational interviews. She understands what it feels like be lost and confused when facing the job market. Kelly suggested sending e-mails, making phone calls and mailing notes to employers of potential interest. Whether they can schedule a lunch date or coffee break, it’s useful to ask questions and get a sense of what people actually do from 8am-5pm every day.

I took many new points of information away from Julie Kelly’s lecture this past Wednesday. Nevertheless, Kelly reaffirmed my confidence in a Colgate education and the tireless work ethic that is born and bred on this campus as two things that will take me far in the career I choose.

Julie Kelly ’04 Shares Practical Financial Knowledge

Julie Kelly ’04 exceeded all of my expectations on Wednesday night at the Investment Studies Program lecture.  Her teaching style resonated with students of all interests.  She not only educated us about financial terms that are often hard to fully grasp, but also provided us with practical advice about how to invest our money at different stages of our lives.

To be able to explain in layman terms what certain financial concepts mean is extremely challenging. To have your audience actually absorb what you are saying is a whole different ball game.  The thorough training I received as a Financial Representative with Northwestern Mutual provided me with the tools I needed to guide individuals towards greater financial security.  I’ve seen some of the best at Northwestern Mutual master this advising approach and language, but I must say that Julie Kelly amazed me.  She not only reaffirmed my knowledge of financial planning, but also expanded it.

It was particularly rewarding for me to meet another successful female in the financial services industry.  I enjoyed getting to know Julie better after the conclusion of the lecture and appreciated her openness and willingness to help.  I look forward to staying in contact with Julie as I already see this Colgate alumna as someone who could be a female mentor in the industry.  Thank you, Julie!  It was a pleasure meeting you!

Lee Woodruff Returns to Colgate

Colgate alumna and esteemed novelist, Lee Woodruff (’82), visited Colgate this past weekend both for the Homecoming celebrations and to speak at the Real World Series. In addition, Woodruff spoke to a crowd of writing and reading enthusiasts about her most recent publication, Those We Love Most, on Friday afternoon.

Woodruff co-wrote her first book, In an Instant, with her husband, Bob (also a Colgate alumnus), about his traumatic brain injury while working as an ABC news anchor in Iraq. Upon receiving momentous acclaim, this book served to enlighten the healing process for injured soldiers and the continuous battle they face once home. Woodruff’s newest book is her first work of fiction about a family struck by sudden tragedy and the emotional toll such an event causes in the aftermath. Yet Woodruff did not publicize her newest book to us, but rather she chose to discuss her method of writing and provided a few tips to the eager, young writers in the audience.

Woodruff believes that less is more, and she strongly suggests that as writers, we leave a bit of mystery and room for imagination for the reader. She said that too many details can bog down a piece and that the very skilled writers can provide snapshots in order to create a collage of characters, plot and dialogue. The words we opt to choose can both adversely affect or revitalize the attitude of a book. As many critics warn to show and not tell, Woodruff added on to this idea by reminding that some words have lost meaning due to their overuse. She encouraged the audience to carry a pad and when we come across a new or unusual word to write it down and save it for later use. Finally, Woodruff admitted to using what she calls, “The Barf Method” in her writing. She prefers to write every detail and idea that comes to her, allowing the inspiration to pour onto each page without second guesses and saving the edits for another time.

To the aspiring writers, journalists and media students at Colgate as well as those whose brains are dominantly creative, Woodruff’s speech served a strong purpose. She was both candid and honest about the world after Colgate for those who plan to avoid Wall Street at all costs and assured us that the media world operates as its own, independent animal. There are plenty of companies that are searching for creative, well-educated writers and thinkers, and Woodruff reminded us that a liberal arts degree can take a graduate almost anywhere, especially one from Colgate.

A Chat with Alan Lafer

Yesterday, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to speak with guest lecturer Alan Lafer of Neuberger Berman one-on-one when I gave him a tour of the Colgate campus. Besides our shared love for the New York Giants, I also learned that Mr. Lafer and I shared a common view on the value of a liberal arts education. When I told him that I was an economics major, Mr. Lafer responded with something along the lines of “So you know everything, and can answer nothing.” I found that to be an astute observation, and in many ways true. There were times last year when I walked into interviews for internships in finance and felt that I was at a disadvantage since I had not learned certain industry-specific information in the classroom. That being said, Mr. Lafer and I agreed that the liberal arts provide students with skills that are transferable to any career field, and in this day and age, it is important to have that flexibility when the job market is constantly changing. In essence, liberal arts students are learning how to think critically and argue their opinions intelligently, and when so many career fields operate on knowledge you can only learn on the job, it is those skills that truly matter. As for the industry-specific stuff, it’s just a matter of picking up the Wall Street Journal. As a senior in college who is inevitably on the job hunt, it was refreshing to hear that from a businessman like Alan Lafer himself.