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Alumni Connections

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Melissa Holko 2016

Location: New York City, NY
Major: Economics and Business
Company: Ernst & Young
Title: Staff Consultant

What has been your career path and how does your current profession relate to what you did in college? 

After a marketing internship between my sophomore and junior year of college, I realized I wanted something with a little more diversity in my day to day activities. I interned at EY between the summer of my junior and senior years and really enjoyed the experience, so I accepted a full time offer at the end of my internship.

The most important thing I learned in my classes is the ability to think and understand that there is not always one correct answer. I am often given problems to solve that have not been solved before for a particular client or project. I need to leverage case studies, past projects, research and my own intelligence to solve these problems and develop a solution for our clients.

Is there anything you wish you would have done differently while at the University of Rochester or post-graduation that would have helped along your way?

I wish that I would have explored more career opportunities while I was at the University of Rochester. While I found my way into a great career, I didn’t spend as much time researching all of the options as I should have.

I also wish I had taken some computer science or coding classes. Even though these aren’t required for my job, those who have more technical experience have a distinct advantage.

Finally, I wish I had spent more time networking and building more relationships. As a friend once told me, “it’s not the grades you make, it’s the hands you shake.” While your grades are very important, especially for grad school or entering a competitive field, your connections and relationships are just as important.

What advice or tips do you have for students exploring different careers

Take your time! Don’t let others define for you what a “good” or “right” career path is. Figure out what you value and what’s important to you and find a career that lets you live a life that’s well balanced for you. For some people that may mean working 100 hours a week, for others that may mean working 35. Whatever it is, find what’s right for YOU and don’t let anyone convince you that you’re wrong.


How do you define success and what makes work meaningful to you?

To me, success is happiness and self-reliance. If I can support myself and be happy, that is success.