After Kristin Stenerson walked across the stage as a member of Hamilton’s Bicentennial class, she walked into her new position as a strategy and operations consultant for Deloitte, one of the world’s largest professional service employers. For Stenerson, a mathematics and economics major, the job at Deloitte is the culmination of years of hard work both inside and outside the classroom.
Four years ago, Hamilton wasn’t on Stenerson’s radar. “Big schools, small schools, I didn’t know what I wanted,” she said. A meeting with Professors Bedient and Kelly during Stenerson’s initial visit, though, soon clarified what she was looking for in a college. She was struck by how devoted both professors were to their students, and found that level of attention appealing. Not surprisingly, both professors would go on to be “extremely influential” figures in Stenerson’s own Hamilton experience.
Once on campus, Stenerson quickly identified an area for improvement in Hamilton’s student employment process, an integral part of the need-blind financial aid policy.
“If you knew someone on campus, you could get a job, but otherwise you didn’t know how to get a job,” Stenerson said.
To solve the problem, Stenerson and Riley Smith ’12 founded the Student Employment Office to act as a clearinghouse for student employment opportunities. Stenerson implemented new paths of communication between employers and would-be employees as well as maintaining the HamNet website, where student employment opportunities are posted.
Stenerson’s “clever insights” were vital to the office, according to her former supervisor, Director of Human Resources Steve Stemkoski. “Her ability to develop and analyze statistics and a willingness to exceed expectations has provided work-study students with an equal opportunity to secure student employment.”
The positive experience of problem solving with the Student Employment Office significantly impacted Stenerson. “I was basically hired to figure out the best way to make the system work,” she said. “I guess that’s part of the reason why I applied to Deloitte.”
The summer before her final year at Hamilton, Professor of Economics Emeritus James Bradfield asked Stenerson, along with two other seniors, to examine his manuscript for an upcoming book geared toward the general public rather than economists. Stenerson found the role reversal a little unusual at first, but soon warmed to the work. Though evaluating a manuscript is slightly different from the work that Stenerson will be doing at Deloitte, it was another way to gain experience giving unbiased feedback to an important client.
The experience gained in these consulting situations would serve Stenerson well during the application process at Deloitte, itself a daunting challenge requiring grueling preparation and concentration. She was able to find and interview for the Deloitte position thanks in part to the assistance of Career Center Counselor Kino Ruth, but she relied on the “fantastic” alumni network to help her prepare for the biggest hurdle of the application process: the case interview, where questions like “how many gallons of paint would it take to paint an entire fleet of airplanes?” are not uncommon.
Case interviews are meant to gauge an applicant’s critical and analytical thinking skills by forcing them to quickly come up with a realistic solution to an often outlandish problem. To familiarize Stenerson with the process, one Hamilton alumnus conducted an hour-long mock interview with her. In her spare time, Stenerson remembered, she “did case interview problems non-stop.”
When she was notified that she had received the position at Deloitte, Stenerson was “ecstatic.” “It was such a relief to realize that I was actually going to be employed,” she remembered.
With her experience, drive and determination, Stenerson is prepared for life after Hamilton. “We are thrilled to see Kristen graduate and go on in her chosen field,” Kino Ruth said. “We expect to hear news of her progress in the coming years.”