Keerthana Balakrishnan, Stephen Jones, and Hayley Berry
Keerthana Balakrishnan, Stephen Jones, and Hayley Berry are excited to begin great jobs in fields they love.
Skills, experience, confidence help launch Class of 2020 on career paths
Jun 01, 2020, by Staff Writer

As a newly hired Business Systems Analyst for global marketing firm Epsilon, Keerthana Balakrishnan ’20 joins a group of Bryant seniors from every major and course of study who are embarking on exciting careers. She, like her classmates, knows the dynamic mix of skills, experience, and confidence she's gained at Bryant will help her make an impact.

At Epsilon, Balakrishnan, an Information Systems and Analytics and Politics and Law major, will use what she’s learned in her Bryant courses to develop targeted campaigns using marketing research data. “A lot of it is about understanding and manipulating data and data sets to figure out how we can best serve our clients – and help them best serve their customers,” she says.

Up to the challenge

In her Systems Analysis and Information Technology Consulting course, teams of students developed a plan to build custom computer information systems for companies. “It was a lot like what I’ll be doing at my job,” she points out. In addition to honing her computer and programming skills, it taught her adaptability and how to tailor her work to meet her clients’ needs.

Balakrishnan knows that those skills will especially helpful. “Every single day is going to be a new challenge,” she says, “because I’ll be working with different clients in different businesses and fields – especially now with COVID-19 and how everything is changing.”

“At Bryant, if you want to accomplish something, you can do it. I don't think that there's any limit.”

For Balakrishnan, the job search moved faster than she imagined. At Bryant’s February career fair, she had a great conversion with Epsilon’s representatives. That same night, they contacted her for an initial interview. A little more than a month later she was offered a position.

Her interviewers asked about the classes she took in information systems analytics and the skills she learned. Then “they asked me 'Why are you a Politics and Law major?' I told them that it helps me to think outside the box and it helps me understand the context of my work. You have to look beyond the business aspects and see how it impacts the rest of the world.”

As she prepares for her September start date, she’s grateful her for how her education prepared her for the next stage of her life. “At Bryant, if you want to accomplish something, you can do it,” she says. “I don't think that there's any limit.”

“There aren’t a lot of people my age who have experience with fixed income. It helped differentiate me.”

Ready to dive in

“One of the main reasons I came to Bryant was that I knew that after four years here I’d be able to get the position that I wanted,” says Stephen Jones ’20. A Finance and Economics major, Jones will join John Hanckock’s Investment Division Rotational Program, where he’ll explore different areas of the investment industry, including portfolio management, research, and trading.
 
 “I like that finance is a competitive field,” Jones says. “It’s hard work but it’s very rewarding and no two days will be the same.”

Jones’s experience with Bryant’s student-run Archway Investment Fund, where he was part of a team that managed and invested nearly $2 million of real money, gave him the experience to dive right into his new position. “In Archway, you learn how markets work and It gives you real insight into what the day-to-day job is like,” he says.

“Bryant did a great job preparing me. I grew every year and I made connections with so many people.”

It was Executive in Residence Kevin Maloney, one of Jones’s Archway professors, who first told him about the position at John Hancock. Moloney also put him in touch with a Bryant alumnus who worked there – Jason Frommer ’92, Managing Director, Head of US FICC Trading, to learn more. “It was good to be in contact with people from Bryant,” he reflects. “There’ are so many good people at Bryant who want to help you, and the more connections you make, the more success you’ll have.”

In his interview at John Hancock, Jones’s time in Archway, especially in the fixed income markets field, helped set him apart. “They seemed pretty surprised by the experience I had,” says Jones. “There aren’t a lot of people my age who have experience with fixed income. It helped differentiate me from the other candidates.”

He’s confident he made the right choice coming to Bryant. “From when I first came on to campus to when I left as a graduating senior, Bryant did a great job preparing me. I grew every year and I made connections with so many people.”

“I talk with my friends who go to other schools and they’re amazed at all the things we do here. I tell them, that’s the culture here. That’s just what Bryant students do.”

Trusting yourself

Communication major Hayley Berry ’20, who will be joining cybersecurity firm Rapid7’s Growth Strategy Rotation Program in the fall, came to Bryant not knowing what she wanted to study. She tried several paths before enrolling in Senior Lecturer Susan Baran’s Mass Communication course, which examines contemporary mass media industries and trends, as well as the factors that shaped their development

The subject matter instantly clicked: It would allow her to create a professional path that incorporated both her creative side and her love of connecting with people. “I'll never forget it,” Berry says. “I finally felt like I had finally found an area where I really fit in.” 

She learned a wide variety of communication techniques, from sharing information during a crisis to creating health campaigns. Her education, she says, prepared her for any situation. “Communication is the basis of everything we do,” Berry notes. Her Marketing minor, she adds, is a perfect match that adds a business edge to her skillset.

“I’m not afraid of failure anymore. You just have to trust your education and yourself.”

Her ability to build relationships came in handy during her interview for her position at Rapid7. It helped her connect with the interviewers and showed that she was able to clearly and persuasively convey ideas.

The range of experiences she’s had at Bryant, including internships and leadership positions with student organizations, was also important to her development as a professional. “I talk with my friends who go to other schools and they’re amazed at all the things we do here,” says Berry. “I tell them, that’s the culture here. That’s just what Bryant students do.”

Those experiences and a supportive community of professors also helped her build the confidence she needs to take on the future. “I’m not afraid of failure anymore,” Berry says. “You just have to trust your education and yourself.”

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