We begin our alumni spotlight with Caitlin Michaelis (née Manley), who graduated in 2012 with a Bachelor’s of Science in International Affairs. Following graduation, she joined the Rolls-Royce Corporation’s Supply Chain Management Leadership Development Program. The program consisted of five rotations, which allowed her to perform the role of Supply Chain Designer, Material Resource Planning Controller, Asset Controller, Global Physical Logistics Lead, and Inventory Analyst. Once she completed the program, she transitioned into a Strategic Buyer in the Raw Materials & General Components Supply Chain Unit. In 2015, she had the opportunity to pursue her MBA at Birmingham City University in Birmingham, England, where she concentrated in International Business.
Upon graduating from Birmingham City University, Caitlin joined Anthem Inc. in Indianapolis, Indiana. At Anthem, she is the Strategic Sourcing Consultant, which supports the Business Units. She was recently chosen to form part of the Leadership Fundamentals Program to help with the intern and full-time recruiting efforts. When Caitlin is not working, she enjoys traveling, exercising and watching football games with her husband, who’s a Virginia Tech graduate. Go Yellow Jackets!
A NUNN SCHOOL DEGREE
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.
THE IMPACT OF STUDYING INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS
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. In my current role, I support the Public Affair Business Unit at Anthem. 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.
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.
ADVICE FOR STUDENTS
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!
WOULD YOU CHOOSE THE NUNN SCHOOL AGAIN?
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.
NUNN SCHOOL MENTORS
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.