All the world’s a stage
Let’s dive into the unique path that Nachiket Karnik’08 walks us through his Beloit years, from being Phi Kappa Psi national award recipient to starring in theatrical productions to pursuing management consulting in the healthcare sector, and much more.
What drew you to Beloit?
As an international student, I had less information about American colleges than my domestic peers. I had to rely on guidebooks like the Princeton Review (the internet did not have as much information back then). I chose Beloit College for its strong professors, small class sizes, and tight-knit community. Beloit also supported me with a generous financial aid package, which was the deciding factor.
How was your transition from high school to college? People often say freshman year is challenging, especially for an international student. How did you navigate your first year of college?
My first year was dedicated to discovering and inventing my true self. My floor mates on Aldrich third were critical early cheerleaders who encouraged me socially and were a support system to fall back on when things didn’t go as planned. Beloit also offered more co-curricular and social opportunities than my high school. I immediately got involved in the student government and my initiative paid off. I was elected as Residential Life Committee chair and later the Vice-President of the Beloit Student Congress (BelCON). I also joined Phi Kappa Psi, which remains the best “internship” I’ve ever had. It built a toolkit of career skills I still use today and introduced me to people who remain my closest friends. I would not be the person I am today if I hadn’t joined Phi Kappa Psi.
As an alumnus now, what would be some advice for first-year Beloit College students?
Don’t wait for the Beloit experience to come to you. Jump in with both feet and maximize your academic and co-curricular involvement. You will never have another opportunity to experience so many monumentally fun things on a day-to-day basis and exercise such a broad range of diverse skills. Beloit isn’t “real life,” but I’d say it’s more than real life. If you take the opportunity, you will be able to do more during any one day at Beloit than you ever will in the “real world.” Invent yourself by participating actively in everything you can.
Could you share with us about your Greek Life experience with the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity?
The most enduring and fondest memories of my sophomore and junior years are my time at Phi Kappa Psi. We had to work hard to reinvent the organization after a move to a new house. Leadership at Phi Kappa Psi built my maturity and added practical skills like public speaking, networking, organizational restructuring, change management, crisis management, and risk mitigation. The social side of fraternity life made my college career much more fulfilling while also leaving me with unforgettable memories and lifelong friends. During my sophomore year, I also declared a double major in Economics & Management and Theatre Arts: Acting.
In terms of academic experience, what were some of your favorite courses at Beloit College? How did these courses shape your career development?
Quantitative Methods in Economics with Professor Jeff Adams and Entrepreneurship with Professor Jerry Gustafson were two of my favorite courses. Quant laid a strong foundation of statistical analysis that would be crucial in my graduate studies and my career. It remains the most important class I took at Beloit. Jerry was a mentor at Beloit and his enthusiasm for entrepreneurship was infectious. Entrepreneurship was the first “management” class I ever took and it was an early step on the path to my career in consulting. Jerry also helped me understand how my liberal arts education equipped me with unique skills that differentiated my candidacy in the career marketplace.
What was the fondest moment of your busy senior life?
My strongest memory as a senior was not the hustle and bustle of senior experience; it was the confidence I gradually improved daily at Beloit. Classes were still challenging, but I felt I had the skills and support system to feel comfortable. I finished my time in the theater department by starring in two main-stage theater productions at Beloit directed by Professor Army Sarno. It was thrilling to step out onto the main stage at the Neese Theater in front of a live audience. It’s an experience unique to my time at Beloit.
I worked at the Center for Language Studies at Beloit College itself. I’d been a student worker there for three years and the department head, Patricia Zody, was also an early mentor. Her meticulous approach to management paired with her patience in dealing with an inexperienced employee made working at CLS a key formative experience.
Could you share with us your transition and journey from academics to marketing and then consulting field now?
After leaving Beloit, I earned a Master’s in Public Policy at the University of Chicago. I had intended to work in health policy after graduating, but the poor state of the economy interfered with my plans. I ended up taking an Admissions position at Macalester College. After seven years working in admissions, I’d seen a great deal of professional success, but felt the opportunities for advancement in the field were limited. So I chose to enroll in the part-time MBA program at the University of Minnesota with the goal of pivoting to a career in private industry. A year-long client project at Medtronic influenced me to pursue management consulting opportunities in the healthcare sector.