Just a few months after graduation, Tegan Harcourt ’17 is working with a company globally renowned for strategic planning and communications consultation, thanks to her Hollins experience and the backing of a dedicated alumnae network.
The international business major is a market research associate with New York City’s Berland Strategy & Analytics, which gauges public opinion, attitudes, and behaviors and crafts strategies for businesses and organizations to effectively compete in a range of venues worldwide. Berland has worked with the presidential campaigns of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton as well as such diverse clients as the Estée Lauder Companies, Harvard Stem Cell Institute, and the National Hockey League.
Harcourt’s journey to Berland began during her senior year at Hollins. “I was looking into what I wanted to do post-grad and there were so many things I was interested in that I wasn’t sure what to prioritize in my search,” she recalls. “But I was fortunate enough to be on the Presidential Search Committee last year as well as a guest member for Hollins Board of Trustees meetings in my role as president of the Student Government Association (SGA).”
Harcourt reached out to the committee and the board and “received an overwhelming amount of help and support. I am so grateful to everyone who contacted their network for me.” Committee member and trustee Alexandra Trower ’86 talked with Harcourt about her interest in market segmentation and her background in cultural studies and politics, and connected her with Berland Strategy & Analytics CEO Mike Berland. Their conversation resulted in an in-person interview in New York City over spring break in March, and “after meeting some of the team and few more phone interviews we worked out plans for a three-month internship with the potential for full-time employment if both sides felt it was a good fit by the end.”
Harcourt started her internship in late June and was “immediately fascinated. It’s a fierce, tight-knit group of intelligent, creative, and dedicated people taking on massive projects with very quick turnarounds. It was really great to start contributing to the work in a meaningful way right from the start.”
To mark her internship’s one-month anniversary, Harcourt’s supervisors took her out to breakfast. “They said it was great having me there to jump on any project that needed help and complimented my willingness to put in the time and effort.” Her supervisors asked her to stay at Berland in a full-time position, two months before the completion of her internship, and she signed her official offer letter on August 11.
In her role as market research associate, Harcourt helps facilitate projects from start to finish, working with conceptualizing and background research and doing everything from field work and data analysis to insight development and suggestions for next steps. “When my supervisor is out of the office, I coordinate the project work flow to make sure everything is moving along as it should,” she explains. “We do quantitative research through surveys and social media analysis and qualitative research with focus groups.”
Harcourt enthusiastically credits Hollins with “propelling me to this opportunity and making me ready and confident enough to accept it. My education in business, Spanish, and women’s leadership is what allowed me to take on this position and be as successful as I have been.”
She also emphasizes the importance and impact of her activities outside the classroom. “My Hollins internships not only shaped my understanding of what kind of work I would be interested in but also gave me the opportunity to learn new skills, network, and fall in love with cities like my new home, New York City. My work in SGA pushed me to work hard, learn more, listen more intently, trust my dreams, and value the people around me.”
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