Finding a Path, with Help from the Kellogg ISP Program
Matthew Macke ‘18 • March 31, 2017
For Katherine Schilling Clark ‘10, the journey from student to professional involved finding the link between international peacebuilding and private industry. At the University, it was the Kellogg International Scholars Program (Kellogg ISP)—the Institute program that pairs talented undergraduate students with globally focused faculty to conduct research—that opened her eyes to the broad applicability of a background in peace studies, one of her majors.
“In my first interview with my (future) manager, he said: ‘Your resume looks like you’re heading to the Peace Corps… why IBM?,’” Clark recalls. She enjoyed the chance to articulate her appreciation—formed through her experience at Kellogg—that the goals of business and the goals of peace are not mutually exclusive.
That interview eventually earned her a position at the tech giant, where she currently serves as an accounts manager, working with clients in global management consulting and other areas. This union of business and peace studies has been a great fit for Clark, and this interest in “peace through commerce” has its roots in the Kellogg ISP.
Clark’s journey started even before her arrival at Notre Dame. The summer before her senior year of high school, she had studied in Buenos Aires. That encounter motivated her to pursue the Kellogg Experiencing the World Fellowship after her freshman year, which allowed her to return to Argentina to explore something that had piqued her interest.
“I noticed some differences between international companies and local companies, and I was trying to see what that was about,” Clark explains. This curiosity pushed her to apply for the Kellogg ISP. Students selected in their freshman year are matched with faculty fellows to help the faculty with their research. During their senior year, the International Scholars conduct original research, with guidance from a faculty advisor, and write a thesis.
Clark’s interest in the relationship between business and civil society continued to evolve as she did Kellogg ISP research with faculty fellow Ted Beatty, a professor of history and now associate dean of academic affairs at the Keough School of Global Affairs. Together, they worked on his project to evaluate the impact of technology on political movements in 18th- and 19th-century Mexico.
“I don’t think we always knew what we would find, which is what made it so much fun,” she says. “It was an exercise in open-mindedness. In creativity. In realizing that you might have ten false starts before being led to a discovery,” she explains.
This spirit of experimentation proved to be a great asset during her senior year. At that point, Clark had started her job search looking at fellowships and think tanks for peace research. The interview process became an exercise in self-discovery. While she was interested in the research topics, she realized that a more scholarly position was not the only fit for her skills and personality.
“That epiphany led me to open up the aperture of what I thought was a good fit,” she acknowledges. “I could not have predicted I would be working at IBM. I hoped to one day serve as some sort of ambassador or relationship builder, but, as it turns out, that’s essentially what my job is: to manage IBM’s relationship with four of our established clients.”
Since then, Clark has joined the Kellogg Institute Advisory Board, bringing her back to the place and the organization that helped her start down a career path.
As Clark explains, “You never know what good you can do in any profession.” You just have to be open to it.