Kale Shirley graced the classrooms of Sage Hall just a few weeks ago, writing papers and taking final exams. He crossed the graduation platform in Kolf during the special commencement ceremony in January (after a snowstorm cancelled the December ceremony). Things sure change quickly, however: today you’ll find Kale in Madison, where he works in lending and personal finance.
With three weeks under his belt so far, he’s loving his new job at One Main Financial: “I like that, although I have new challenges everyday, I never feel overwhelmed. My work days fly by with the feeling that I am achieving goals and having fun, rather than ‘slaving away’ from 9 to 5,” he writes. “I have already received compliments from upper management about how well I have picked up on everything that goes into my work. This is very encouraging and only makes me look forward to starting my day even more than I already do. I wholeheartedly believe I would not have had this current job opportunity had I gone with another major.”
So how did Kale, a very recent graduate, market his training in Political Science for a job in finance? Kale thought about his skill-set differently: “I sold it as a discipline where you are constantly challenged to expand in every area. Also, having the discipline to do extensive research with extreme attention to detail. I also sold them on how these skills made me a more efficient learner in any area. The ability to look at extensive research articles and really pick out vital information teaches one how to pick up on any knowledge more efficiently,” he writes.
Kale advises others to capitalize not only on the skills gained in Political Science coursework, but also to leverage the fact that students of politics are students of everything. This makes it important to apply for a wide variety of jobs, even those that you might not think you have the qualifications for. “Make sure you explain how Political Science can apply directly to the job. It’s not all about American government,” he says. He encourages students to think more broadly about their coursework: training in political economy, for example, can give graduates a head-start when applying for jobs in finance like Kale’s. He also appreciated his training in political psychology: “Knowing what sorts of cues to pick up on in both interviewing and in doing sales with my job are essential. I think of it this way: Standard Psychology applies to an individual, but Political Psychology applies to the general population.”
We love following our students’ careers as they develop, from first jobs to promotions and everything in between. Reach out and share your stories with us — we’d love to feature you here! Stay tuned for more Thursday stories of our amazing alums, both recent and not-so-recent. If you have other news you wish to share — engagements, travels, weddings, babies, other adventures and opportunities — we’d love to hear that, too!