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6 Questions with:

 Kirk Whitehead ‘10 

Kirk Whitehead ’10 was one of the first students to attend the Institute for Professional Development, The Space’s summer career program.  He’s been using the skills he learned in The Space every day since – and now he works with a leading investment management company in Charlotte, NC. 

 

What do you do as an analyst? 

The company I work with manages money for school endowments and foundations. A school will turn over the reins of its endowment to us, and we will invest that money on their behalf.

 

How did you get this job with the Global Endowment Management? 

I got this job through another Wofford student, Charlotte Knight ‘10. I was working somewhere else, but Charlotte knew that her company was hiring and sent me a message on LinkedIn. It was funny; she remembered I liked investments because I was in her investments class with Dr. Swicegood. After I talked to her, I researched the company and it turned out to be a great fit. After four rounds of interviews, I landed the job. My practice interviews with Scott helped tremendously during the interview process. I’ve been very fortunate to have this opportunity.

 

Did you always know that you wanted to go into investments? Or did you have a different career goal in mind when you came to Wofford? 

When I first came to Wofford I wanted to be a doctor, and I actually had an internship before coming to Wofford with an oral surgeon. At that time, I was signed up for the entry-level biology class. But after my internship I realized I didn’t like blood. It turned out I didn’t enjoy the material in my entry-level biology class either. I quickly shifted after my first semester to business and finance. I worked with the James Fund at Wofford and discovered I had a passion for investing. I still do. You have to choose a career that fits with your passions.

 

Was The Space helpful to you? What did they do that was valuable? 

I didn’t do much for my career search during my freshman year at Wofford. But my sophomore year was actually Scott’s first year, and I remember hearing about a new Career Services Director. Scott sent me an email encouraging me to come by and utilize the resources at The Space, which I did. I participated in the Institute, which was a great experience. We took the Strengths Quest test during that program. I’d forgotten about that test – it’s been maybe four or five years since I looked at it. But my company is currently encouraging me to re-focus on those strengths and see which areas I can apply to my everyday work. My philosophy is that if you work on your strengths, you can become world-class in those areas, and that will drive your ultimate success.

 

What do you wish you had known before getting this job? Is there something you would have done differently?  

There are tons of extremely smart people in the workforce.  Just because you were near the top of your class at Wofford does not guarantee you success – it seems like everyone was top of their class at their respective school.  The most successful people I have seen in the workplace are always trying to improve.  Whether it’s improving their knowledge base, skillsets, team dynamics, culture, or the company as a whole, the best leaders are never satisfied with remaining constant.  I have now adapted this mindset of constant improvement but I wish I would have been more focused on it at the onset of my career.

 

What is the best part about your job? 

My favorite part of my new job is the variety. My company invests in all asset classes across all investment types – everything from public investment managers to private equity managers to real estate managers. One day I’ll be looking at oil and gas investments in Texas, the next day I’ll be looking at cell phone investments across the US. Every day is different, which keeps my job exciting.

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