MSM Student Perspective – Katlynn Kennedy
Published: April 16, 2019 / Author: Katlynn Kennedy
Finding Her Niche
Katlynn Kennedy started her undergraduate career at Saint Mary’s College as an engineering major with a double minor in math and computer science. She switched her major to psychology at the beginning of her junior year, a choice that would lead her to Notre Dame—and to conduct nationally recognized research.
The summer after her junior year, Kennedy was accepted into a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program at Notre Dame in computational social science. During her senior year she was selected to represent Notre Dame at the National Science Foundation Forum for REU research. She completed her senior thesis on predictive modeling and machine learning methods and big data social science research.
“I felt like I had finally found my niche,” Kennedy recalls. “But as I began looking for jobs, I realized much of what I wanted to do was business related—and without any formal business education I wasn’t competitive for those roles. That’s what led me to look at the Master of Science in Management (MSM) program at Notre Dame.”
Building on her undergraduate degree
Kennedy believes her psychology degree laid a perfect foundation for understanding the human side of business. “My social science and analytics undergrad major fit right into my coursework in the MSM program. As a business professional in any industry it is important to understand not only the numbers side of business but the people side of business. The MSM taught us both. It also taught us how to be good teammates, leaders and managers.”
In fact, Kennedy credits the people in the MSM program as one of its greatest strengths. “The professors, career service members and alumni make the MSM program one of a kind. I spent a year at Notre Dame not only learning how to become a successful member of the business community but also a strong and empowered person in life in general.”
In addition to growing personally and professionally, Kennedy still found time to enjoy the Notre Dame student experience to the fullest. “Notre Dame wasn’t just a year of school and exams, it was home away from home,” Kennedy remembers. “Walking through the halls of Mendoza talking with classmates between classes, popping champagne bottles with some incredible friends after graduation, sitting in the stadium during home football games, losing our voices screaming from the student section…these are just a few of the irreplaceable moments I think about when I think about what it means to be a Notre Dame graduate.”
The power of the Notre Dame Network
Shortly after she graduated from Notre Dame in May of 2018, Kennedy accepted a position with GE Healthcare. “The reason I ended up at GE was thanks to the ND network,” Kennedy says. “I met an alum and GE employee at the fall career fair and had a great conversation, where I shared my background and he suggested the Financial Management Program. After the fair my career coach also connected me with a Notre Dame MSM alum who talked to me about her experience in the program and highly recommended it. Both of those individuals were pivotal during the remainder of my interview journey and getting my offer.”
Kennedy is in her first year of the two-year, four-rotation Financial Management Program at GE Healthcare, gaining experience across a range of core financial competencies. During her first six-month rotation, Kennedy served as an inventory analyst in GE’s Global Supply Chain Finance division, where she worked on inventory analysis, visibility and reporting using business tools like Alteryx and Tableau.
In her current role, Kennedy works in Global Operations Controllership and Accounting Simplification, driving real business impact by simplifying GE’s accounting processes and presenting her findings to key decision makers.
Kennedy has been able to directly apply many of the lessons from her time in the MSM program to her work at GE, particularly when it comes to collaborating with others. “In many of the roles I have had at GE I work with different areas of the business—from sales to operations—and with region leaders from China to Latin America. Being able to un-silo your thought process and see outside of your own box is something I try to integrate in my every day work at GE.”
Needless to say, Kennedy highly recommends the MSM program to prospective students. “This program changed my life and gave me all of the tools I needed to integrate my love for analytics and psychology with a career in business. Your year doesn’t end at graduation: you will always be a member of the Notre Dame community and that’s priceless.”