Michael McNally '16

Major: Economics

Minors: Computer Science

What do you do for a living?

I am a Research Analyst at the Donahue Institute, a think tank that is part of the UMASS President's Office. I work in Amherst, Massachusetts creating reports for a variety of government agencies and private clients. I also help update quarterly reports on the performance of the Massachusetts economy which encompass topic areas ranging from GDP and per-capita income to tourism and imports/exports. 

How did your experience at Saint Michael's help prepare you for your career?

My time at Saint Mike’s was invaluable in preparing me for my current career. Learning the ins and outs of economic research through my courses trained me to tackle projects on a larger scale in the public sector at UMASS. Particularly, my internships with the State of Vermont, Cabot Creamery Coop, and my summer VPAA Research work taught me how to do in-depth research and data work outside of the classroom. I also found out about these opportunities through the help of my professors in Economics. Finally, my work in classes like Econometrics, Statistics and in my Computer Science minor prepared me to use technology to enhance my economics research. Statistical packages such as SPSS and Stata are a regular part of my work and I learned them as a student at Saint Mikes.

What is your favorite memory from your time at St. Mike's?

Some of my favorite memories involve the conversations had in my courses that weren't strictly related to the topic that day but were still very informative of the study area, especially in Professor Kessel’s classes. My instructors always managed to relate whatever we studied to what was going on in the outside world but also introduced entirely new angles and tidbits that added flavor to the classes core subject. For example, my statistics class in the Math department worked in a discussion about voter polling during the 2016 election season. As someone who takes an interest in news around the world each day, these moments led me to examine the world through the lens of what I studied in school. Taking philosophy (Particularly Ethics with Professor Begley) as part of the LSRs at Saint Mikes was an especially good experience in this respect. It allowed me to frame to world in a way I never knew I could and added depth to everything else I studied, read, saw or did, whether I was inside or outside the classroom.

Do you have any advice for students at St. Mike's?

For seniors, apply early and often, whether you are interested in working, going to grad school or just finding some program abroad to take part in. Graduating knowing that you’re going somewhere, even if it’s just some place for vacation, is a great relief. Leaving the work of finding where to go or what to do until the last semester of your Senior year is a mistake that will stress you out and may cause you to end up somewhere you don’t want to be. Treat exploring your options for the future as an extra course in your junior year or first semester of your senior year. For incoming students, just try something outside your comfort zone. There is no better time than college to try new things. I took an admissions tour guide job when I knew I had horrible anxiety about public speaking and ended up doing it for my entire time at Saint Mikes. I also tried random MOVE volunteer events, joined friends on camping trips even though I had never camped before in my life, learned to downhill ski, went whitewater rafting, went kayaking on Lake Champlain, joined almost every other student in the freshman quad for slip-n-sliding in the middle of a rainstorm and went to lots of different Burlington events. These experiences were sometimes nerve wracking and almost always entirely new, but never disappointing.

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