Business classes put graduate on a path to success

Like many first-year students, Julie Harr saw so many career options when she began college that she wasn’t sure which path to take.

Like many first-year students, Julie Harr saw so many career options when she began college that she wasn’t sure which path to take. She applied to the W. P. Carey School of Business as a backup plan and found that the business classes gave her the direction she needed.

First it was an introductory W. P. Carey class that led her to her major — computer information systems. Then a database class, CIS 365, gave her the tools she needed for an internship. And finally an applied business data analytics certification, as well as several of her higher level courses, gave her the experience and knowledge she needed for the real world. It was a formula for success. After graduating in May she began her career at Ernst & Young as an IT advisor, focusing on IT advisory and IT risk assurance.

She had always been good at and interested in information technology. An Arizona native, Harr was an ambitious high school student and earned a full-tuition scholarship to an in-state school. She chose Arizona State University because of the wide variety of opportunities available to students and applied to W. P. Carey because she heard of its stellar reputation.

“That turned out to be one of the best decisions I made,” Harr said. Her first introductory business class opened her eyes to the limitless opportunities in business and computers. Students even got to hear it straight from Windows developers who worked with the students in class.

Harr recalls thinking “this could really be a good degree,” and that turned out to be true. She chose CIS as her major and enjoyed mixing her love of IT with a business perspective.

“I was originally pursuing a degree in design before changing to information systems, so I especially enjoyed being able to merge both my creative and technical skills,” Harr said.

Student turned intern

The well-designed course schedule carried her through her first few years in college, then led to an internship with AssetMark, a financial services and consulting firm. Harr got the opportunity to work on all aspects of IT project management during the internship and gained valuable experience.

It was Harr’s database class, CIS 365, that helped prepare her for the internship. “Overall I thought the class was very applicable,” she said.

“The technical knowledge was helpful but I also really liked how the class was structured in terms of working in teams. I was able to pull a lot from that in my interviews,” she said.

After the internship Harr stayed on at the company part time and got a taste of the working world. In addition to her degree, Harr earned a certification in applied business data analytics. The certification included six classes focusing on different IT business topics, such as project management, advanced Microsoft Excel and business intelligence.

Advice from an alum

Harr credits the top-notch curriculum for setting her up for success, but she also learned to make the most of every opportunity. Her advice to current students is to jump in with both feet.

“Seize opportunity wherever it presents itself,” she said.

She also shared her favorite spot on campus — the W. P. Carey School’s McCord Hall. Harr said she could be found studying there on many late nights. “I also learned to take advantage of 50 cent refills at the W. P. Carey Starbucks,” she said.

Of the many lessons Harr learned in college, she said taking risks has paid off the most.

“I would not have received the job offer I did if I had not stepped outside of my comfort zone and attended career mixers and networking events,” she said.

At her new job, Harr is “analyzing security systems, identifying risk in the system and then developing controls to help mitigate those risks.”

In her free time, Harr enjoys renovating and refinishing furniture for the home she just purchased, and spending time with her dog, a black lab mix named Jill.