Katrina Smith '13 – Stepping Up
Entering college, Katrina Smith didn’t have a specific career in mind. “But I knew it would be something I wanted to do, more than just a way to make a lot of money with a business degree.” Her experience at Menlo has reinforced this. “Every single professor has emphasized, you’re learning to be managers or accountants,” she says, “but you’ll use those skills in something you’re passionate about – you can do business everywhere.”
A business management major, Katrina is president of the Menlo College Student Government Association. She oversees a large budget, deals with complex performance contracts and manages the SGA team.
Off campus, she works as a bookkeeper at Cafe Borrone, a popular family-owned Menlo Park restaurant, and babysits for two families. She volunteers for the charitable organization Samaritan’s Purse as a San Francisco Bay-area community relations team member for Operation Christmas Child. Working as a regional manager for OCC has become her short-term career goal.
From the Classroom to the Job
Between her leadership experience and her business school coursework, preparation to pursue her goals is tangible to Katrina. In her Human Resources Management class, for example, Professor Kathi Lovelace conducted simulations in which each student took two different points of view.
Katrina explains, “You would be a CEO with an urgent need to change the mission and goals of the company and you had to communicate that to your employees; then you would be one of the employees. It was so exciting that we would find ourselves after class talking about class. I am applying what I learned right now in my student government work and my work for Operation Christmas Child.”
When Katrina first visited Menlo, her tour guide painted a picture of campus life and “I could imagine myself here, working in the library, being in class, living in the dorm. But I wouldn’t have imagined myself leading SGA.”
She wouldn’t have imagined starting a brand new club either, but as a freshman Katrina founded Venture Christian Club, a faith and service organization that holds weekly Bible studies. The first year, the club had three members. Now it has 15 registered members and about 50 who attend from time to time. Before discovering Menlo, Katrina thought she would attend a Christian college. Instead she created a space for her faith within Menlo.
Small School, Big Opportunities
Because Katrina has friends who are happy at large universities, she knows that’s possible. “If you don’t mind being in a class of 300 people, if you just want to go through the motions and not be held accountable, a large school may be for you.”
But Katrina values the opportunities possible at a top business school of Menlo’s size. “There are so many leadership opportunities – you really get to step up. There are opportunities for everyone to be involved.” Involvement, she has seen, plugs students in to campus and prepares them for career success.
The best thing about Menlo, Katrina says, is the personal attention from faculty. “I don’t know one student who struggled that someone didn’t approach to help, or who didn’t improve their grades with that professor’s help. You’re never forgotten.”
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