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Starting with the Sky
Maggie was interested in astronomy coming into college--she says she was always a stargazer and wanted to pursue that passion in her education.
Maggie attended Appalachian State University where astronomy was a concentration available to physics majors. She felt that physics was a natural path of study for her, and found that she enjoyed the mathematical side of physics. Working through difficult problems and finally arriving at the answer to complicated problems was very gratifying.
A Unique Skill Set in the Business World
Today, Maggie is a consultant at Clarkston Consulting in North Carolina. Clarkston is a management and technology consulting firm, which focuses on the consumer products and life sciences industries.
As a consultant, Maggie has to play many different roles depending on clients' needs. "My roles could range from technical to strategic, across supply chain and business process areas," she says. The terms "supply chain" and "business process" refer to how raw materials make their way into a finished, marketable product.
Maggie says that one of the reasons she chose this career path was because she enjoyed having to be flexible, and examine a problem from many different angles. She knew that she wanted to utilize the critical thinking skills she'd learned studying physics, but she also wanted to travel and have take on a variety of complex problems. She says that consulting filled all of these needs, since every client is different and has a new, interesting problem.
"My physics background helped train my brain to think analytically, and persevere through tough situations."
Maggie also says that she enjoys being able to see new places and meet new people; she travels weekly to client sites, allowing her to live and work in cities all over the country.
Work on Soft Skills
Maggie says that one of the most important skills she has had to learn in the business world is to communicate effectively to different audiences. "Communication is paramount," she says. "The better you can communicate and change your style to suit the environment, the more valuable you become [to your employer]." She says she learned this in her collaborative senior lab, where she had learn to work well with others who have different work and communication styles.
Always Keep Learning
Even after graduation, Maggie emphasizes the importance of continuing to learn and grow. She says to work on learning new skills or figuring out new things, whether through your own research or by reaching out to someone for help.