English Alumni Working in Business, Marketing, and Human Resources
Kevin Fay '90
I work for a small marketing strategy and research consultancy. We are in the business of marketing science, brand analytics, and strategy development, using both quantitative and qualitative tools. My work is very left brain and right brain, employing quantitative skills as well as the ability to distill and interpret information and present it to clients in a relevant, compelling manner. Clients hire us to help them understand and solve marketing problems, so it is a valuable skill to be able to communicate effectively. To that end, the most useful takeaways from my English studies at Stonehill are 1) critical thinking, analytical, and communication skills, and 2) the ability to write effectively. While they're not the same as skill sets as accounting, biology, etc., both abilities can set one apart in the workplace, as I often encounter people with MBAs who cannot construct a cogent sentence, much less a paragraph. While in school, I would advise those majoring in English to consider expanding the scope of their studies to incorporate some coursework in other disciplines, such as Econ, Bus, etc. Further, if your interests lie elsewhere, don't limit your perceived career options to "traditional English major" disciplines like teaching, editing, etc. Based on my experiences and those of other liberal arts majors I've encountered in my career, I do find that sometimes those who study English pigeonhole themselves; instead, they should realize that their abilities to think, analyze, and communicate are valuable skills in a wide array of careers.
Colleen Kilfoil '85
I graduated with an English major and Communications minor in 1985. I have always worked in the business world and attributed much of my success to the fact that I can read, write, and speak well. I was hired by ADP (the payroll company) through on-campus interviewing. So my first job put me in the business world one month after graduation. I could never believe how many of my supervisors couldn't write coherent letters, articles, etc. I was often the person who rewrote things to make them sound intelligent. I was promoted many times in my 5 years there and my last position was training clients in a classroom setting on using our software payroll programs on their computer. I enjoyed it very much. During the next 12 years of my life, I was lucky to work 3 days a week as a Human Resource/Payroll/Accounts Payable manager for a company on Cape Cod that had 90 employees. I say I was lucky because not only did I enjoy my job and I worked directly for the owner of the company, but I was also spending most of my time raising 3 awesome kids and loving that. One of them is now attending Stonehill! After 12 years, that company was sold and the owner and I started selling real estate on Cape Cod. In July 2007, I opened my own real estate company, ACapeHouse.com, LLC. I love owning my own company and I've been very successful on many levels. I do everything, which involves a lot of business expertise and a great deal of communication, both verbal and written. I measure my success financially where I am exceeding goals even in a slower real estate market, professionally where I pursue continuing education and attend conferences and join committees, and personally where I am happier than ever and barely even call what I do work because I truly enjoy it so much. I absolutely believe an English major lets you go anywhere, do anything, and have no limitations. I'm 45 now and am so grateful for the 4 years I spent at Stonehill. My life is better than I could have imagined and each day is a treat.
Cheryl Josler '91
I am currently the Director of Shared Services, HRIS and Payroll at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH. As the Director I have oversight of the implementation and management of HR systems and administrative management for Payroll operations. I have been at Dartmouth College for 14 years, starting as an administrative assistant in HR, then working my way through the ranks as a Project Coordinator, Information Processing Manager, HRIS Project Manager and HRIS Manager. Prior to Dartmouth I worked at Killington Ski Area as the Manager of Customer Service for three years as my first professional position after college. Having the luxury of looking back, I can clearly see how my degree in English has served me well. While at Stonehill, my favorite English classes were 18th Century British Literature. The depth of understanding gained by studying the human relationships in great literature has given me wisdom that is applicable to any career choice. Critical thinking and the ability to communicate effectively were also significant tools in my toolbox when leaving Stonehill. Considering that I am still not sure what I want to be when a grow up, I'm not sure that I would put a lot of emphasis on preparing for a career while still in college. My advice would be to think about your passions and your gifts and use them in a way that will make a difference.
Tom McCarthy '76
My current job is as a National Sales Manager for one of Warren Buffett's companies. Previously, I was General Manager for the same company. I had sales/production/distribution/management responsibility for multi-million dollar business. I have been in various sales positions since 1978. Choosing English as a major turned out to be one of the best things I ever did. I pursued a business career that has been focused on sales. At first, I was at a disadvantage due to not having any business background. However, my ability to take good notes and then follow up by doing my own "homework" brought me up to speed on most issues/concepts pretty quickly. I took graduate level courses in accounting and marketing to compensate, and I would recommend anyone majoring in English to take a few undergraduate courses in business. Such courses will give you an understanding of fundamental-level vocabulary and concepts. Understanding how any business works is essential, as we all have to sell one way or another. My ability to read a lot of information and summarize key points quickly is in part a function of having been an English major. I am able to write those key points in succinct, readable passages. This was and is one of the key advantages I still have over others; the ability to think critically and communicate without rambling is huge. I am able to relate to all sorts of people/cultures/situations due to having read about them. Some other skills I learned as an English major are:
-I am able to use metaphors/similes/analogies to explain concepts -I am able to write a quick poem; AABB or ABAB rhyme scheme - very helpful in a playful sort of way. I'm happily married to Ann Lacombe (class of 1977) due in part to my ability to write a quick, short poem….
-I can write copy that is persuasive.
-I'm comfortable in presenting to others, and in "thinking and talking on my feet." The skills of reading, thinking, summarizing, and empathizing that an English major provides gives me the ability to put all my material together in a logical format, presented in a competent manner. I'm also able to comfortably deal with questions/objections/need for clarifications -I am able to easily learn other languages (Spanish) due to my understanding of root words.
-I have a solid English vocabulary, which allows me to be clear and precise. I'm not intimidated by others who have good vocabularies.
-I am able to compete at Scrabble and other similar word or trivia games (hey…it all adds up….!)