Building your college education on a strong, diverse foundation can prepare you for a career you might never had expected.
Just ask Kelly Peterson. The 2011 Bentley University graduate majored in Information Design and Corporate Communication, and filled in her required curriculum with classes that interested her, or just seemed fun. After graduation, this well-rounded approach paid off.
“When I was in college, I had no idea what web analytics was,” she explains. “It wasn’t until my first job and I started exploring my skill set that I discovered it as a career path. Now that I’m reflecting on my time in college, it’s clear that the classes I took perfectly align with my current position.”
Bentley’s flexible curriculum allowed Peterson to branch out and try something new.
“I majored in IDCC, so I took classes like Digital Media Design and Web Design alongside Marketing Analytics and Statistics,” she says. “In particular, there are two classes that particularly prepared me for my career: Corporate Immersion Marketing Project with Converse and Retailing. Both were taught by a college mentor of mine, Senior Marketing Lecturer Ian Cross. I took both classes for fun and the experience, but turns out I was able to turn what I enjoyed most into a career.”
And Peterson explored Bentley well beyond the classroom. In fact, she points to her extracurricular experience — whether through internships, study abroad, or campus employment — as crucial to her overall development.
“I took advantage of as much as I could while at Bentley,” says Peterson. “I served as an Orientation leader, and had multiple internships, one of which was for credit at Arnold Worldwide, a leading advertising agency. I also participated in service–learning, which was great for getting involved in the Waltham community, and I studied abroad for five months in Australia at Bond University, one of my favorite college experiences. Finally, I held several on-campus jobs at the library and at the Backstage area of the Trees dorm, both of which helped me finance my Bentley experiences!”
THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS
Having the chance to balance required business classes with more adventurous study gives Bentley students the best of both worlds when it comes to a business education, Peterson says.
“I think Bentley gave me an extremely well-rounded education,” she explains. “Business is applicable to every single career path, so no matter what I chose to do after college I knew that what I learned at Bentley would be valuable. I’m happy that I was able to explore learning opportunities that were of interest to me and not just requirements. So even though I didn’t major in Finance or Accounting, I still have a general understanding of those business areas which has helped me in each of my jobs and I’m sure will continue to be an asset as I grow in my career.”
Right now, Peterson’s career is focused on retail giant Macys.com, where she works as a web analyst. Being able to understand and communicate with colleagues in other parts of the organization has helped her become a more valuable Macy’s team member.
“I measure and analyze visitor behavior on the Macys.com site, primarily supporting the product management team to help them understand how features and functionality are performing amongst visitors,” she says. “This includes measuring how well people are getting through the checkout process or understanding what percentage of visitors sign in during their visit. I also support many other teams such as Marketing, Finance, and Development. I get to help answer a lot of questions that drive our business.”
And she’s still exploring, eager to see what unexpected experience is ahead.
“I love everything about my job,” Peterson says. “If I have to pick just one thing, it would be that I get to help solve problems. My business partners will ask me a question, and I use data to provide an answer. Although the solution may not always be clear cut, I am able to educate my colleagues and provide direction so that they can make informed decisions. This means that I am constantly learning as well.”