Name: Kaila Kennedy Location: Massachusetts Current Profession: Business Advising Consultant, Grant Thornton Program: Undergraduate Major: Operations and Information Management
Like many aspiring business leaders, Kaila Kennedy likes to push herself out of her comfort zone. Initially attending a small school, she transferred to Isenberg because it would force her to interact with different types of people. Ultimately, she knew she needed to improve her people skills in order to have a successful career.
“I transferred because Bentley seemed way too small,” she says. “At UMass, I constantly need to present myself and introduce myself to all kinds of students, in and out of my major. This has prepared me well to present myself and explain different ideas and concepts to different clients and different functional teams [at my job].”
Kaila, an Operations and Information Management (OIM) major, met a recruiter from the accounting firm Grant Thornton during an Isenberg recruiting night on campus. Although Kaila isn’t a CPA, the company was interested in her OIM background, and they offered her a job after graduation.
“I fell in love with the culture at Grant Thornton,” she says. “It’s not cut-throat competitive. It allows you to grow into what you want. They help you get the client assignments that you’re most interested in. You come to work every day knowing that you’re accepted for who you are.”
As a business advising consultant with increasing leadership responsibilities, she says her job is “a bit like a three-legged stool: compliance, governance and enterprise risk management (ERM).”
Kaila’s role requires her to travel—she recently visited a client in Ireland—which is another way she’s purposefully challenging herself.
“[Traveling] was another reason I took this job, to push me out of my comfort zone,” she says. “I was a terrible flyer; I’m better now.”
Stateside, Kaila says she enjoys visiting Isenberg whenever she can, and wants to lend her support to other Isenberg alums.
“I like any excuse to come back to UMass and Amherst, I love it out here,” she says. “I always pull for Isenberg students. It’s an instant connection I always give them my name and contact information. I love telling them what I do at Grant Thornton. I always say, ‘If you’re coming in to interview, let me know.’”