Alex Baradari '17

Coming into my first year at Hamilton, I had little idea about what I wanted to study and I imagine I was in the same boat as many other incoming freshmen. I loved the idea of an open curriculum and having the ability to take classes that I had genuine interest in, instead of taking a class just because it was "required."

Early in my Hamilton career, I was someone who did not have a clear picture of what I wanted to do career-wise after graduation. I was interested in studying a variety of subjects at school, and I couldn’t decide what I wanted to major in. Consequently, my course-load in my first year at Hamilton was quite a mix of subjects. During the fall semester I took biology, anthropology, environmental studies and a communications course. I had great experiences in all the courses that I took, but once my freshman year wrapped up, I started to identify classes and subjects in which I not only enjoyed learning the material, but also excelled in because I was able to utilize my strengths. I had done particularly well in neuroscience and literature classes where there was a strong emphasis placed on critical thinking and effective written and verbal communication. As a result, I decided to major in neuroscience and take a medley of literature and creative writing classes.

Because of the courses that I took, and the interactions that I had with many great faculty members in the biology and neuroscience departments, I developed a strong interest in healthcare. I focused my internships on the healthcare and research fields. I completed clinical research relating to Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and worked with a few biotechnology companies. Not only were my internships enjoyable and interesting, but they also provided me with a great learning experience that I could use moving forward after Hamilton.

Part way through my senior year, I knew that I wanted to be involved with healthcare after I graduated, but I still wasn’t sure how. I didn’t know what industry I wanted to go into and was considering the fields of biotechnology, research, and public health. However, the decision became much easier for me after I attended a Hamilton networking event. I met an alumnus who worked in consulting, and as I began to explain my interests and aspirations to him, he suggested that I take a look at healthcare consulting. Consulting is a broad business of problem-solving that provides enough flexibility in tasks and industries for one to find their own niche. It involves a great deal of client interaction and requires collaboration to fully understand the client's needs and deliver a product that meets them.

I had never thought about going into the consulting field, but the more I looked into it, the more I realized that it was something that not only I could do, but something that I could do well. The types of projects that healthcare consulting focuses on fascinated me. They range from a complete transformation of a state's Medicaid systems, to innovating the ways major hospitals manage patient records.

I decided to apply to Accenture, a consulting company that utilizes technology to help its clients become more innovative and cutting edge. When I first applied, I was hesitant because I didn’t have any sort of business background. My classes and internships were all science and healthcare related and had nothing to do with business or consulting. I never learned about Block Chain, Agile Methodology or Artificial Intelligence, but thanks to Hamilton, I did learn how to be an effective written and verbal communicator, as well as critical thinker. These are arguably some of the most important traits that one can have in consulting. Thankfully for me, the interviewers agreed, and I accepted an offer to become a Consulting Analyst at Accenture.

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Even though I experienced a learning curve regarding my business knowledge when I first joined Accenture, I quickly realized how beneficial my educational background was for me. While some of my peers had a stronger business and consulting background than me, I saw them struggle to give presentations and quickly grasp new material, while I felt confident in my ability to do both because I had developed those skills during my time on the Hill. My diverse educational background provided me with the tools to become adaptable in taking on new challenges and thinking about them in ways that others may have not. As a result, I have had the opportunity to work on projects that both excite and challenge me, and I am grateful to Hamilton for helping me pursue my aspirations.

I have learned some extremely valuable lessons over the past several years. The first and most important one, is that it is okay to not know what your major or your post-graduation goals as you first enter college, or even as you are about to leave college. What is important, is to be able to recognize what you are good at and match that with something you can enjoy. The other lesson is that you should never hesitate to take a class that may seem unrelated to your major or the career that you want to pursue. Taking these courses will not only diversify your skill set, but it will also teach you to think in ways that you may not have initially. In doing so, I have been able to develop ways of thinking, communicating and writing that have helped me differentiate myself in the workplace, and prepared me to take on any new challenges that may come my way.

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