|Current Job:||Category Manager at Unum|
Caitlin Michaelis is currently employed at Unum as Category Manager. Her previous professional experiences include Senior Strategic Sourcing Consultant at Anthem Inc. and Strategic Buyer at Rolls-Royce North America. Michaelis has also participated in a variety of volunteer experiences as members of the Human Society of Indianapolis Board and the Institute for Supply Management Affiliate Advisory Council. She is a Certified Professional in Supply Management and she has received a variety of honors and awards including the Rising Star Award for Excellence in Purchasing Indirect Categories (EPIC), Values in Action “A” Award, and 30 Under 30 Rising Supply Chain Star.
How did Tech and/or the Nunn School help you get where you are in your career?
It is hard to know where to start with this question. As we all know, graduating with a degree from Georgia Tech (in any major) inherently means that you must have an extremely strong work ethic and this has certainly been an asset to me in my career. Having a degree from the Nunn School adds an additional facet to this work ethic in that it taught me to have strong critical thinking skills. Analytical proficiency is beneficial in many fields and has certainly helped me to excel in my current role. When I am approaching a complicated problem from a business unit or analyzing a complex contract, I rely on that strong foundation to approach the problem with a big picture perspective while still maintaining an eye for the details which are equally as important. It is worth noting that the majority of my colleagues in my current organization also have liberal arts degrees although we are in a profession which traditionally consists of employees with business degrees. Our senior leadership has noticed a trend of liberal arts graduates achieving success at the organization and keeps an eye out for them when recruiting new hires.
What has been a particular impact of studying International Affairs at Tech on your career?
In addition to the critical thinking skills that all Nunn School degrees instill in their students, my International Affairs degree has given me a broad view of the world which has had a positive impact on my career. The beginning of my career involved numerous international experiences both in my first position after undergrad and when I chose to go back to school for a master’s degree. My Tech International Affairs education and experiences studying abroad equipped me with the skills necessary to approach those international assignments confidently and thus achieve success at them. My background in International Affairs at Tech has been a true advantage as I approach the unique and intricate problems that my Business Partners from this group bring to me for my advice and input.
How do you think your internship experience(s) helped you with your career endeavors?
While at Tech I completed a co-op and two internship programs – each successive experience getting me closer and closer to the field I would eventually choose to start my professional career in. Even since graduating my endeavors have changed slightly with each successive career move I have made. Without the internship experience, I would have entered the working world blind with no concept of what kind of job I liked and wanted to spend the majority of my life doing. And, of course, each internship gave me additional valuable skills for the professional world such as Microsoft Office proficiency, exposure to different software tools, and general business acumen.
What advice would you give current students at the Nunn School?
I would encourage Nunn School students to look into careers in business early on in their undergraduate endeavors. Some students at the Nunn school write such professional choices off as irrelevant to themselves or otherwise choose not to explore the option – the skills we gain from the Nunn School are extremely applicable to many professions and without exploring, how do you know what career choice is truly right for you? Don’t be afraid to apply for an internship, if you get the position and find that you don’t like that job it is still a positive experience because you have narrowed down the wide pool of options that will be available to you at graduation!
Looking back, why would you choose to study at the Nunn School again? Why or why not?
I would choose to study at the Nunn School again, mainly due to the critical thinking skills it gave me which I highlighted in an earlier question. I would change some things about my undergraduate experience, however – perhaps considering a dual major with a business degree or at least a minor from that side of academia. That is very specific to the career path I have taken and may not be the right choice for every Nunn School student.
Who was your favorite Nunn School professor?
Stephanie Jackson was instrumental to my experience and success at the Nunn School. Kirk Bowman was a powerful influence on me during the South America Study Abroad Program that I participated in and he led, after that time while I was still at Tech, and even since then during my professional career. I would not be where I am today without Stephanie’s and Kirk’s advice, mentorship, and support.