Alum feature: Meet Kit Walling

Kit Walling
PSU MSF Alum Kit Walling

Program: MSF

Graduation Year: 2018

Program Schedule: Full-Time

Please briefly describe your career path and what led you to choose The School of Business at Portland State.

Once I completed my undergraduate degree, I spent some time in sales and about seven years in the U.S. Navy. When I found out that I was going to deploy to the Middle East, I knew I would have an opportunity to go back to school once I got home. I spent my off-duty hours studying for the GRE and taking the prerequisites needed to start a graduate business program in finance. I had known that I wanted to work in finance for a long time, but didn’t know what that might look like. I chose PSU because of its location and reputation as being one of the best business schools in the area. I started the program a week after I got home from deployment, and still believe it is one of the best choices I’ve made.

What drew you to the MSF program, in particular?

My specific interest in the MSF program at Portland State drew from the STEM designation of the curriculum. My undergraduate career focused mainly on theory, and PSU’s hands-on experience was refreshing and welcomed. I believe the practical application of theory is one of the most important elements to being a more successful employee post-graduation.

What skills gained at PSU have you found most valuable in your career?

The focus on applied learning helped solidify concepts that I had only previously learned about in lectures or books. The faculty here really helped me build the skills I needed to be able to communicate with my managers or peers who don’t come from a finance background. If you can build models and create forecasts, but you’re not able to communicate how or why you did it, it will make things more difficult in the long run.

What inspires you?

My sister is one of my biggest inspirations. She graduated from high school at 16 and had her master’s degree by the time she was 22. She has never let anything stop her from accomplishing her goals. Her drive and compassion for others is something I strive to emulate.

A non-profit I’m involved with works with Queer youth in Clackamas County. Hearing their stories and learning with them on their journey is awe-inspiring. I wish I had known a group with such bravery and courage when I was their age.

My co-workers also inspire me, and I learn something from them every day. Working for a small company can be challenging, but also incredibly rewarding. My co-workers come from many diverse backgrounds, all with a unique set of skills. It is incredible what we can accomplish together.

What advice do you have for current or prospective graduate business students who are interested in finance?

Keep an open mind about what you want your career to be once you have finished school. The program opened my eyes to careers and opportunities that I had never heard of or even considered before.

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