Meet Alum Nicholas Harper ’18, Business Analyst

Name: Nicholas Harper

Class Year: 2018

Position: Business Analyst

Company: College of the Holy Cross

 

1.  In one sentence, what does your job entail?

As a Business Analyst, I work with the HC Advancement department’s data for a variety of applications, such as analysis and reporting, to improve the efficiency of and generally help support the department.

2. What were you involved in when you were on campus?

During my time on campus, I played with the varsity baseball my freshman year and then club baseball my sophomore, junior and senior years.

3. What was your major and how did it affect your career decisions?

I graduated Holy Cross with a double major in mathematics and economics. Economics pushed me towards pursuing a career in the financial services, which I fully intend to do after finishing my fellowship here at HC. Mathematics opened my eyes to the power of statistics and modeling data, which are hugely influential in decision-making. I plan on attending graduate school for computational finance, which is a fairly natural combination of these two fields.

4. What planned and unplanned events connected you to your industry and your first employer after Holy Cross? How did you learn/decide it was a good fit for you?

After meeting with Deb Paquette, she advised me to apply for the role in the Advancement department. Once I met and interviewed with a few people I knew that it was a place that I would have fun working at and would be able to develop a variety of skills at. Those feelings have been vindicated as I am having a great time here at HC and am learning so much that I know will be extremely helpful once I go to graduate school and in jobs after that.

5. What are one or two skills that you developed at Holy Cross that you use in your work?

The most important skill my Holy Cross education imparted on me is to be a sponge for information. Most of what I do in my work and what I hope to do in the future I learned on the job, so being able to pick up new topics, software, etc. for the particular job I am doing has been extremely helpful. While at Holy Cross I also learned to be confident in sharing my opinions or insights, something that I think a lot of people are afraid to do but which is necessary to be productive in any working environment. Being able to speak up and share my ideas, even if they are wrong, was critical for me in developing the confidence to present and stand behind my work.

Meet Alumna Erin DeMarco ’04, Senior Donor Relations Officer

Name: Erin (Smith) DeMarco

Class Year: 2004

Title: Senior Donor Relations Officer

Organization Name: Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

 

1. In one sentence, what does your job entail?

As Senior Donor Relations Officer, I am responsible for creating and implementing strategy and programs to engage and steward donors to the Institute at all levels of giving.

 

2. What planned and unplanned events connected you to your industry and your first employer after Holy Cross? How did you learn/decide it was a good fit for you? 

At Holy Cross, I was a Spanish major in the Teacher Education Program.  After my junior year, I interned at ReadBoston, a children’s literacy nonprofit. I found this internship through the Summer Internship Program at Holy Cross and pursued it because I thought it would allow me to hone my interest in education outside of a traditional classroom setting.  My boss that summer was another Holy Cross alumna (Theresa Lynn ’87). After graduation, I was hired by ReadBoston full time. My plan had not been to work in a nonprofit, but through this internship, I discovered my passion for nonprofit work.  I worked at ReadBoston for almost eight years and Theresa, my former boss, remains a wonderful friend and mentor.

 

3. What were you involved in when you were on campus?

I was a four-year student athlete on the swim team. I was also a member of Sigma Delta Pi (Spanish Honor Society).

 

4. What was your major and how did it affect your career decisions?

I was a Spanish Major in the Teacher Education Program. I intended to be a teacher, but my experience interning at ReadBoston changed my outlook.

 

 5. What are one or two skills that you developed at Holy Cross that you use in your work?

My liberal arts education allowed me to study a wide variety of topics and to think critically about different perspectives. These skills are indispensable every day.

 

6. What advice do you have for students on campus today?

Take advantage of the career center! I went to an info session for the Summer Internship Program and it ended up shaping my entire career in a way I never anticipated. In addition, relationships are so important and valuable, especially within the Holy Cross network.  Go to alumni events and keep up with your relationships with your fellow classmates. You never know when you might need to call on a fellow Crusader.

Meet Alum Nick Elward ’95, SVP and Head of Institutional Product and ETFs

Name:  Nick Elward

Class Year:  1995

Title:  SVP and Head of Institutional Product and ETFs

Organization Name:  Natixis Investment Managers

 

1. In one sentence, what does your job entail?  

I research potential investment products to bring to market, help drive business strategy and lead the exchange traded fund business.

 

2. How did you learn/decide it was a good fit for you?

I always enjoyed following financial markets and started investing at a very early age.  After deciding law school and accountancy weren’t for me, I came to the realization that my love for investing could become a career!  After 25 years in the industry, I wouldn’t want to have it any other way!

 

3. What were you involved in when you were on campus?  

Intramural sports of all types. I know it seems boring, but the teamwork and work ethic required in sports was a key formative activity that has helped me succeed in my career.

 

4. What was your major and how did it affect your career decisions?

Political Science.  I enjoyed the study of government and thought law school was for me in my first few years.  I later realized my love of investments and business strategy was my calling.   My major forced me to become a very good writer and speaker.  That helps in business.

 

5. What are one or two skills that you developed at Holy Cross that you use in your work?  

Besides my writing and public speaking skills, the extremely strong work ethic that I developed while at Holy Cross has been a difference maker.  A great employee needs intelligence, plus drive.

 

6. What advice do you have for students on campus today?  

Study what you love.  Find a job that allows you to do what you love.  Be the best at whatever you do.  Be happy.

Meet Alum Eric Butler ’06, Director of Development, edX / Founder, Final Bow Productions

Name: Eric Butler

Year: 2006

Title: Director of Development, edX & Founder, Final Bow Productions

 

1.  In one sentence, what does your job entail?

Building relationships with individuals, foundations, and corporations and fundraising and investing in both the nonprofit EdTech sector and the commercial Broadway and national and international tour market.

 

2. What planned and unplanned events connected you to your industry and your first employer after Holy Cross? How did you learn/decide it was a good fit for you? 

The Holy Cross Advancement Office was my first employer! As a recipient of scholarship both in undergraduate and graduate school, I had a first-hand appreciation for the work and mission of the Advancement Office helping provide the college with the resources to make the Holy Cross experience better for each generation to come. Advancement and educational fundraising was an industry that I fell into – but one I grew to love as I developed rewarding, personal relationships with alumni and donors who helped the College and my other alma mater, Saint John’s High School, fulfill their missions. Now, I’m part of a whole new frontier in edTech as I seek funding and investments to transform education and democratize the educational experience at scale, globally. While my career in Advancement was somewhat unplanned, my “side hustle” in the commercial theater has been somewhat more strategic and purposeful with wonderful mentorships, support, and invitations to participate coming from some of Broadway’s most successful lead producers. I’ve found the Broadway community to be incredibly accessible and helpful – everyone remembers what it was like starting out and they are all happy to be part of your future success. Theater is a collaborative art form and I’m happy to see that the same holds true for the business of Broadway.

 

3. What were you involved in when you were on campus?

Fenwick Theater, ACT, College Honors, SPUD, campus ministry retreats, Alpha Sigma Nu

 

4. What was your major and how did it affect your career decisions?

I double-majored in Psychology and Theater. In many ways, the psychology major helped guide me toward business school. Sitting in a Marketing Analytics or Brand and Product Management class was not much different than taking a psychology statistics or research course – the methodology behind studying human behavior and consumer behavior is identical. All the tools (e.g. SPSS) are the same!  I think my experiences fundraising and in business coupled with my passion for the theater helped naturally lead me toward investing/producing commercial theater.

 

5. What are one or two skills that you developed at Holy Cross that you use in your work?

Strong writing skills will be valuable to you throughout your life. Whether composing an email, writing a blog entry, or constructing a 20 page proposal for an eight-figure philanthropic contribution – it is very important to communicate clearly and intelligently to a professional audience.

 

6. What advice do you have for students on campus today?

Take advantage of all that Holy Cross has to offer from its alumni network to its career development office. Since I graduated, HC has really expanded the professional and career preparation opportunities it offers to its students. If there is an industry that interests you, explore it now through an internship or first entry level job. Having experience (even at the lowest level) will make all the difference in the ability to start a career in the industry of your choice.

Meet Alum Nicholas Harper ’18, Business Technology Analyst Fellow- Holy Cross Advancement

Name: Nicholas Harper

Class Year: 2018

Position:  Business Technology Analyst Fellow- Holy Cross Advancement

 

In one sentence, what does your job entail?

As a Business Analyst, I work with the HC Advancement department’s data for a variety of applications, such as analysis and reporting, to improve the efficiency of and generally help support the department.

What were you involved in when you were on campus?

During my time on campus, I played with the varsity baseball my freshman year and then club baseball my sophomore, junior and senior years.

What was your major and how did it affect your career decisions?

I graduated Holy Cross with a double major in mathematics and economics. Economics pushed me towards pursuing a career in the financial services, which I fully intend to do after finishing my fellowship here at HC. Mathematics opened my eyes to the power of statistics and modeling data, which are hugely influential in decision-making. My majors both contributed to the development of critical thinking and detail-oriented problem solving, both of which should help immensely as I progress in my career.

What planned and unplanned events connected you to your industry and your first employer after Holy Cross? How did you learn/decide it was a good fit for you?

After meeting with Deb Paquette, she advised me to apply for the role in the Advancement department. Once I met and interviewed with a few people I knew that it was a place that I would have fun working at and would be able to develop a variety of skills at. Those feelings have been vindicated as I am having a great time here at HC and am learning so much that I know will be extremely helpful once I go to graduate school and in jobs after that.

What are one or two skills that you developed at Holy Cross that you use in your work?

The most important skill my Holy Cross education imparted on me is to be a sponge for information. Most of what I do in my work and what I hope to do in the future I learned on the job, so being able to pick up new topics, software, etc. for the particular job I am doing has been extremely helpful. While at Holy Cross I also learned to be confident in sharing my opinions or insights, something that I think a lot of people are afraid to do but which is necessary to be productive in any working environment. Being able to speak up and share my ideas, even if they are wrong, was critical for me in developing the confidence to present and stand behind my work.

 

Meet Alumna Nerelly Checo ’18, Teaching fellow at Nativity School of Worcester

Name: Nerelly Checo

Class Year: 2018

Current Title/Employer: Teaching fellow at Nativity School of Worcester

 

In one sentence, what does your job entail?

My job entails teaching 15 5th grade boys, living in a community of 7 additional fellows, coaching a sport and operating as an outreach coordinator.  

How did you learn/decide it was a good fit for you?

I wanted a job in which I can make a difference in the community. This school serves low income boys of color- a community that I myself relate to. Because I was given many opportunities that have helped me get to where I am today, I wanted to also have an impact in the lives of these boys. I knew that this job was something that I was capable of doing with great interest, yet also challenge me to help me grow.

What were you involved in when you were on campus?  

On campus, I served on the executive board of the Latin American Student Organization for 3 years. I was a mentor for the Peer Mentor program and a mentor and program coordinator for the Odyssey program. I worked in the Office of Student Involvement and in the Center for Career Development as a Marketing Peer Career Assistant. I also worked as a caller for the Phonathon and held the job of a Hogan student manager. Additionally, I studied abroad in Argentina for a semester.

What was your major and how has it affected your career decisions?   

I was a double major in Sociology and Psychology. As a result, it has allowed me to become passionate about issues that people are affected with daily, specifically related to social justice. I tend to look at career paths that will lead me to make a difference and change the issues that our world faces. In addition, whenever I interact with a student, I keep in mind the many different societal and psychological layers that go into their lives.

What are one or two skills that you developed at Holy Cross that you use in your work?

One skill that I developed at Holy Cross was being able to maintain strong, interpersonal relationships. My majors and involvement on campus required me to develop communication skills, both written and orally. In addition, I also developed the ability to juggle multiple responsibilities and meet deadlines. Being involved in many different things on campus prepared me for the array of things thrown at me at my job, often times unexpectedly.

Meet Pat Burpee ’17, Equity Sales Trader, KeyBanc Capital Markets

Name: Pat Burpee

Class Year: 2017

Title: Equity Sales Trader

Organization Name: KeyBanc Capital Markets

In one sentence, what does your job entail? 

I trade domestic stocks for hedge funds.

What planned and unplanned events connected you to your industry and your first employer after Holy Cross? How did you learn/decide it was a good fit for you? 

I had a few job offers throughout my senior year but none felt like the right fit, so I actually graduated unemployed. I continued interviewing around the Boston area (where I’m from) and received another offer. I was ready to accept the new proposal, but in the middle of July a HC classmate mentioned an opening within KeyBanc’s Los Angeles office. I put all my eggs in one basket and went for it. I interviewed a handful of times with KeyBanc, and accepted an offer by early September. Essentially it was the perfect storm of events and I am fortunate it all worked out. I have been with KeyBanc since October ’17.

What were you involved in when you were on campus? 

Varsity Golf & Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC)

 What was your major and how did it affect your career decisions? 

Economics; I wanted to work in finance after college and figured the economics major provided the best route to ensure employment within that industry.

 What are one or two skills that you developed at Holy Cross that you use in your work? 

Definitely the ability to quickly digest and discern information. HC is not an easy school and there are nights when you are overwhelmed with work. Similarly, there are times during the work day when the stock market is hectic and volatile. Being able to decide what details are important and what items are extraneous is critical when talking to clients. I guess I honed those skills with four years of practice in Dinand.

 What advice do you have for students on campus today? 

A lot of my friends graduated with job security, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t freaking out come May. If you’re one of those individuals who’s still looking for a job come the spring or summer, just know that it’ll all work out. I recommend using the HC alumni network as much as possible. I have never encountered an alum who didn’t have 5 minutes to spare for a fellow Crusader.

Meet Alumna, Sarah Jensen ’08, Director Ad Sales- Crown Media Family Networks

Sarah Jensen, Feb. 18, 2016 Photo by Bruce Gilbert

Title: Director, Ad Sales

Organization Name: Crown Media Family Networks

In one sentence, what does your job entail?

I am responsible for selling commercial time on Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, digital inventory across our digital and social properties and monetizing the many unique sponsorship opportunities that we offer across our platforms during the year, especially within our original movies, original series and seasonal holiday events.

What planned and unplanned events connected you to your industry and your first employer after Holy Cross? How did you learn/decide it was a good fit for you?  

Holy Cross’ alumni network, Crusader Connections, enabled me to make connections with alumni in the media, advertising and communications industries. Through my outreach, I was able to set up many informational interviews with alumni to learn about their roles and responsibilities as I tried to decide the direction in which I wanted to move in my career. Coincidentally, one of my informational interviews with an alumnus of Crown Media Family Networks, which ultimately led me to the opportunity to begin my career in media.

What were you involved in when you were on campus?

On campus, I was a member of Fools on the Hill, the College’s only co-ed a cappella group. I also was very involved in Campus Ministry, participating and/or leading retreats like Escape, Manresa and the Spiritual Exercises. I was also in the MAGIS program and the church choir, often leading the 10pm Mass in song.

What was your major and how did it affect your career decisions?

As a Spanish major, I was unsure about the career path I wanted to take after graduation. Knowing I did not want to be a teacher, I was not sure how to best put my major to use in my professional life. My first job after Holy Cross was at a translation company. However, after soon realizing that it was not the right fit, I knew I may have to open myself up to other industries and opportunities to find my place. Despite not working in a role that obviously utilizes my Spanish major, the skills I developed through my major and experience studying abroad for a year in Leon, Spain positively impacted my career decisions and helped me secure a position at Crown Media Family Networks even though I do not use Spanish on a daily basis.

What are one or two skills that you developed at Holy Cross that you use in your work?

My ability to write and communicate clearly and effectively has been essential to my work every day. It not only helps me internally among my colleagues, but it helps tremendously in my outreach to clients and in my ability to establish better relationships with them. Also, thinking creatively continues to help me find success, especially when it comes to finding solutions for my clients.

What advice do you have for students on campus today?

Work hard and soak up as much information and as many unique experiences as you can. Everything you do at Holy Cross helps prepare you for the professional world. Once ready to look for a job, be as prepared as you can be as you go into each interview and as you communicate with people throughout the process. First impressions stick!

Meet Alum Ajit Bhullar ’18, Intern with Public Citizen

Meet Alum Ajit Bhullar ’18, Intern with Public Citizen

 

Name: Ajit Bhullar

Class Year: 2018

Current Title/Employer: Intern with Public Citizen

 

In one sentence, what does your job entail?

In a time when our democratic process is being undermined now more than ever before, my role with Public Citizen primarily entails serving as a voice for the people through such means as organizing campaigns and grassroots movements.

What if any, unplanned events connected you to your industry and your first employer after Holy Cross?   

Reflecting on what it was I wanted to be doing that could be meaningful is what led to me wanting to enter this line of political work. I genuinely took the time to evaluate what it was that I wanted to do with myself to help establish a more positive impact on our society, which now more than ever is so important as we face a time of extreme divisiveness in politics. Ultimately, my drive to want to work towards this helped bring me to where I am now and paved the path on which I plan to continue.  

How did you learn/decide it was a good fit for you?

Knowing what my passions and interests were really helped make this decision easy. For me, it was never about simply having a job; but rather, I wanted to do something where I felt I was having an impact and helping bring about real change in our world today. I knew this think tank group in particular would be a good fit for me due to the fact that despite the ever changing dynamics of the political realm, Public Citizen remains focused and true to their mission statement of always working as an advocate for the people and for the well being of society. In today’s politics, you just do not see enough openness, honesty, and transparency and because of this, I knew Public Citizen was the group for me.

What were you involved in when you were on campus?  

I was a member of and captained the mock trial team, served as an Odyssey mentor, led a manresa retreat, volunteered with Working for Worcester, and studied abroad among various other activities during my time on the hill!

What was your major and how has it affected your career decisions?   

My major of philosophy had a profound impact on helping me pave my career path, as it taught me to always be in pursuit of knowledge and answers to some of the biggest challenges and fundamental questions we face in life. Philosophy as a major has had a positive effect on my decision to enter political work for this very reason. As part of my work, there is not simply a “one size fits all” solution to many of the issues, and because of this, it becomes important to truly and honestly evaluate everything and work towards getting to the root of the issue in order to handle and understand not only the problem itself but what then becomes necessary to fix the problem.

What are one or two skills that you developed at Holy Cross that you use in your work?

One important aspect I attribute to Holy Cross is understanding the importance of always being in the pursuit of justice and working for the well being of the community. Rooted in Jesuit values, acquiring this knowledge over the course of my Holy Cross education has only begun to manifest itself in the work I do. I hold this tradition in high regards when evaluating problems and seeking solutions to the various issues I am working on. Another important skill is to have a nice balance between both being confident and being humble. Learning to find the harmony amongst the two allows you to gain an honest understanding of not only your strengths, but also, on areas of yourself that can always be improved upon. This skill has been useful in my work as it has allowed me to not only be able to make a contribution from day one, but also, to sometimes sit back and understand a different perspective that I may otherwise have not realized. While I could go on for much longer about ways in which Holy Cross prepared me for the real world, I believe these are two important factors that Holy Cross helped instill in me which in turn allowed me to find and pursue my passions in life while also always seeking to gain a better understanding of the world around me.

Meet Alumna Michelle Schefter ’16, Graduate Scientist at AstraZeneca

Meet Alumna Michelle Schefter ’16, Graduate Scientist at AstraZeneca

 

In one sentence, what does your job entail?

I participate in a rotational research program at AstraZeneca, where I choose three 8-month rotations in three different departments of pharmaceutical research.

 

What were you involved in when you were on campus?

I was a chemistry lab teaching assistant, as well as a student researcher in Professor Petty’s lab. I studied abroad at Trinity College Dublin for my junior year, where I participated in various activities. Upon my return, I avidly encouraged students, particularly in STEM, to consider studying abroad too. I was also a member of the club soccer team.

 

What was your major and how did it affect your career decisions?

 I was a chemistry major, and I had a hard time deciding what to do with it. I liked the idea of many different career options, particularly in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries, but I did not feel ready to commit to medical school or a PhD program. Overall, my degree in chemistry made me eligible for entry-level jobs in both of these fields, and it also showed employers that I was competent in problem solving and other quantitative skills that are important in any industry.

 

What planned and unplanned events connected you to your industry and your first employer after Holy Cross? How did you learn/decide it was a good fit for you?

A summer internship at a small biotechnology company opened my eyes to an industry that I had not known much about at the time. I later searched for full time positions at similar biotech and pharmaceutical companies until I eventually stumbled upon AstraZeneca’s program. It stood out for several reasons: I would get broad exposure to an industry I did not have much experience in, I would have an impact on active drug projects, and I would have the opportunity to participate in a professional development program. In other words, I saw an opportunity to learn a lot, expand my resume, and grow professionally.

 

What are one or two skills that you developed at Holy Cross that you use in your work?

While it is important to be a diligent scientist while working at a pharmaceutical company, it is just as important to have good ‘soft skills.’ Whether it was assigning group presentations for a class or sending students to the ACS conference in San Diego, Holy Cross provided several opportunities to develop presentation and interpersonal skills and ensured that I was not only a scientist, but also a well-rounded individual upon graduation. At work, I often use these same skills to present ideas to my colleagues and network with the wider scientific community, all of which contributes to being successful in my position.