From a Basketball Captain to a Data Analyst
A former basketball captain to now a young talented Data Analyst, and then an Underwriter at MetLife, Kelly McLean ’20 describes how her Beloit journey helped guide her to the perfect career pathway!
How did you prepare yourself to succeed in college?
During my high school years, I already found myself heavily involved in the Basketball team and participated in the National Honors Society. I learned how to manage my time efficiently by getting involved in those activities. I also realized and understood the importance of community, extracurriculars, and academics. All of these are values Beloit holds, and so I really felt prepared for those things!
What made you decide to attend Beloit?
When looking for a college, I found a place that allowed me to continue pursuing basketball while providing a rigorous academic program. It also came with a tight-knit community where I could form relationships with professors and classmates. So, I decided that that place - Beloit College - would be my perfect fit.
For students that are still considering attending Beloit, what would be the piece of advice you give to them?
To admitted students - visit Beloit and, if possible, take the opportunity to stay overnight there! That is really the way to have the sense of Beloit and, to be quite honest, the people are the best part about it here. So soak it in, ask all the questions, and try to experience it yourself! Then you will have the answer.
Do you feel that Beloit provided you with a good support or transition program in your freshman year?
Definitely yes. For me, it was the basketball team that helped me navigate college life and make the most out of my 4-year experience at Beloit. I joined the Basketball team right after I attended Beloit and continued playing throughout my time there (I was also a team captain during my junior and senior years). It was a great experience, and I was very fortunate to have a team that doubled as a family. Basketball tested my limits in every way, from being physically pushed by Coach Gloria Bradley and Coach Steve McAfee to being mentally challenged by time management to maintain my academic performance while being an athlete student.
Is there anything you wish you had done differently to improve your experience here?
I have found along my career path that having coding literacy is beneficial and would be a valuable component added to the skill set I already was developing. So, I wish I had taken more Computer Science courses during my time at Beloit. Taking a wide range of Beloit courses is also the advice I would give to current students, especially first-year students. Try everything! Even if you are afraid of not being good at it or have the notion that you would dislike it. It is okay! Just try to explore and discover because you will never know what you will be missing out on if you hesitate to try something new.
Regarding your academic experience at Beloit, what are the most important achievements or milestones you have attained during your time there?
I would say that being able to gain hands-on experience while being on campus was my most significant achievement during my time at Beloit. After declaring my major in Economics in the fall semester of my sophomore year, I joined Belmark Associates to apply my classroom learnings to real-life business problems. I was actively involved in working on market research projects for the rest of my time at Beloit! Having experience in marketing was a crucial part of my understanding of marketing as a whole and really helped my understanding of economics outside of the classroom. I also started working with the Admission Office in my sophomore year and continued staying with the office until graduation. With the Admission Office, I was allowed to gain different exposures by rotating between positions. I was a graphic designer, social media assistant, and even a photographer at times. This experience, combined with my marketing background, gave me a unique perspective on marketing tactics, the hot topic of social media marketing, and just the general aesthetic of marketing materials!
Who was instrumental in helping you achieve those achievements?
I would say every connection I have made during my time at Beloit was instrumental in helping me make the most of my experience there. However, my deepest gratitude would be to Professor Laura Grube. She was the one who introduced and encouraged me to apply to the Duffy Partnerships program, where I successfully got accepted to be the intern at Kerry in the Foodservice Brand Marketing Division. This was, without a doubt, the most enriching experience of my time at Beloit. Not only did I learn what I was interested in, but I also had the opportunity to obtain practical and niche industrial knowledge that I could never have imagined. In the Duffy corresponded class, I also learned to reflect on and dissect my internship experiences with other students and Professor Carol Wickersham.
What is your fondest memory of your Beloit College journey?
It is not easy to pin down my fondest Beloit memory. My time at Beloit has been invaluable and memorable; it was the combination of good times (some bad times, but I managed to overcome them quickly), laughter, and some tears (but mostly happy tears). The time I won the Joe Kobylka award for sportsmanship for having the highest team GPA or being appointed as a team captain, and having my performance recognized at my work site is memorable for me. However, it’s the people, especially my basketball teammates, that mean the most at the end of the day!
Throughout your 4-year at Beloit, do you think the Beloit curriculum has prepared you with professional working skills?
Yes, definitely. All the courses I took have provided me with critical thinking and problem-solving mindset whenever taking head-on any obstacles and hardships that come my way. Some of the classes that I found extremely helpful in helping me thrive in my work easier are Game Theory with Professor Bob Elder, Differential Equations with Professor (emeritus) Ranjan Roy, Graphic Design with Professor George Williams (I also declared a minor in Studio Art in my senior year), and most importantly, Business Management with Professor Laura Grube. I want to emphasize the importance of taking the Business Management course while at Beloit: any economics major or anyone who will ever work with data will always have things to do in Excel. Having Excel literacy will help you improve your work output and increase your productivity, but most importantly, it is a must to have on your skill sets when applying for jobs.
What is your current job, and could you share with us a typical day at your work?
I’m currently working as a Data Analyst at Wurkwel Ventures. My day-to-day life is essentially data! I can get a feel for the office furniture market and help to segment the audience we market to. I also look for trends and identify potential opportunities for the company and am heavily involved in our Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, which we use to manage our data and communicate across the organization.