By Renee Baker
I came across a quote the other day that got me thinking: “If you don’t build your own dream, someone will hire you to build theirs.” Entrepreneurship isn’t easy, but for those who have set their sights on creating their own empires, it helps to have a healthy amount of ambition and an arsenal of skills and experiences. Kelly Lai (Class of 2012) is in her final year at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. She is studying International Business, Economics, and French – a cocktail of majors that will equip Kelly with a skill set well suited to a variety of different careers.
“Currently, I work as a research assistant for an economics professor. The degree of knowledge I have gained from this experience is incomparable to regular academic classes,” Kelly says. “My research topic was about investigating the economic link between the US and Canada in the 1900s. I mainly assisted the professor in the drafts and also managed his federal grant application for research funds.”
As an international business major, Kelly received the opportunity to be a part of an academic exchange in Paris. She took international economics classes that discussed the recent financial crises as well as today’s modern banking system. “I also got to practice French in everyday life, and by going to local events, I made a few Parisian friends and got to discover Paris from a local point of view,” Kelly says. “I particularly enjoyed walking around and discovering the hidden cafes and boulangeries. The museums were also free for students so I spent some of my time studying art history as well.” Her time in Paris really enlightened her to all of the different cultures and languages of Europe.
In addition to balancing her three majors, Kelly has a part-time job as a lab consultant for the university. “I managed employee scheduling and payroll,” she says. “Mainly training people and sending them to troubleshoot computers.” She was also a part of the freshman orientation staff in 2013 and described the experience as a lot of fun. “I got to take new students around town and attend really amazing concerts.”
In the future, Kelly wants to go into consulting. “Ultimately I want to start my own business,” she says. “Get into education consultancy, maybe something curriculum-related.” Some say the current education system in North America is in need of reform, and I have no doubt that Kelly will become a valuable contributor to the process.