Rebeccah Kilty (MBA ’21) is no stranger to career coaching. Before pursuing her Darden MBA, Rebeccah managed Harvard Business School’s career coaching program, from overseeing its budget to trendspotting in coaching data analysis. Coaching is what she “loves to do,” and it’s what led her to a full-time role with Qualtrics, an experience management tech company. Learn more about how Rebeccah uses her breadth of leadership experience and knowledge to give back to the Darden community as a SY Coach.
Where are you from?
I’m originally from York County in rural south-central Pennsylvania, where I grew up on a horse farm. (Fun fact: my high school graduating class was 15 people – one of whom is a classmate here with me at Darden!) I went to Tufts University for undergrad and stuck around the greater Boston area until moving to Charlottesville for my MBA.
What was your role prior to coming to Darden?
Prior to Darden, I worked at Harvard Business School managing our career coaching program, comprised of 50 part-time contractors. My primary responsibilities included coordinating student and alumni programs, analyzing coaching data for trends, and managing my team’s $1M annual budget. Before HBS, I worked in coworking space management, where I helped launch a new location and developed the business model for event space rentals.
What was your FY summer internship?
I interned this past summer at Wayfair on their Talent team. My project was to develop a go-to-market strategy for a global employee resource center – everything from a staffing model, implementation plan, technology improvements, and more. While there were certain parameters around regulations that we had to work within, my project enabled me to dive deep into employee pain points and think critically about change management strategy.
I also had the chance to lead a cross-functional project with other interns in my cohort that focused on how Wayfair can improve its employer brand, specifically with underrepresented minorities in tech. Both my official internship project and this cross-functional intern project were immediately implemented at Wayfair, which was awesome to see the direct impact of my work!
What are your post-graduation plans?
Post-MBA, I’ll be joining Qualtrics as a Global Operations Manager, based in Provo, UT. My role is a perfect mix of what I love to do: coaching and process improvement. I’ll be directly managing a team of 15-20 recent college grads, with the goal of placing them out into the broader Qualtrics organization within 1-2 years. I’ll also have an influence on our customers’ pain points, finding innovative ways to improve our service offerings.
Even though I got an offer from my summer internship, I decided to decline in search of the right fit – I’m so glad I did! MBA recruiting can be a two year process. I first met with Qualtrics during my first year while on the Career Center-led Tech Trek, but they were relatively new to MBA hiring and weren’t hiring interns. We reconnected the fall of my second year and I ultimately received an offer this March!
Why did you become a SY coach?
Given my background in career services at HBS, I felt uniquely positioned to use that breadth of knowledge to give back to the community. The MBA recruiting process is completely foreign and confusing to many students coming in, so being able to demystify that was important to me. I also legitimately enjoy doing resume and cover letter reviews, which makes this job fun for me!
What have you learned about yourself and your coachees as a SY coach?
The power of listening is so important and it’s not something we are ever explicitly taught to do. Oftentimes, people already know the answer to a dilemma they are facing – you just need to give them the space to talk it through. That being said, you also have to motivate your coachees to action, because we all have a remarkable ability to avoid things we don’t want to do! Striking this balance is definitely a learning curve, but a skill I’ll use often in my career.
What is a powerful question you have asked your coachees to invoke discovery for themselves?
We move so fast here at Darden that it’s easy to get swept along with the crowd, especially for well-beaten career paths like banking and consulting. I like to pressure test my coachees assumptions for why they’re pursuing certain careers and make sure the path they’re taking aligns with what they actually want rather than what may be expected of them. Sometimes it takes hearing yourself struggle to justify choices out loud that makes you realize you’ve been moving down a career path that’s actually not a good fit for you.
What’s your favorite piece of career advice?
Be authentic and curious. Nobody likes talking with someone to just ‘check the box’. You’ll be much more motivated to network and have better conversations if you’re actually interested in the company.