Simmons alumna profile: Jessie Kuenzel

By Kanika Miller

Staff Writer

The Voice sat down with former Editor-in-Chief Jessie Kuenzel, a Simmons alumna of the class of 2016, to ask her how life is after college.

Class of 2016 alumnas Jillian Jennett, Jessie Kuenzel, Shabnam Atif, and Celine Sanborn pose at graduation. Source: Celine Sanborn

1) How’s the transition from school to the real world?

My trajectory from high school to Simmons wasn’t exactly a straight line, and I actually worked full-time for about two years after high school as a nanny and a photographer, so I had lived outside of the fulltime student bubble for a few years before this, which has really helped cushion the blow.

So far, the only thing that has been a struggle is adjusting to how far away everyone lives now. You don’t realize how convenient it is that nearly your entire social network is contained within the same city until everyone scatters after graduation and organizing a night to hang out turns into an inter-state, cross-continental logistical nightmare that requires four cars, six train rides, a ferry or two, and a cross country flight.

2) What is your job?

I’m working as the Marketing Coordinator for an open innovation consulting firm called yet2 in Newton, MA.

Open Innovation (OI) is the idea that the best way for companies to advance is to not only focus on internal research and development for new ideas, but to also look outside their company to harness and capitalize innovation that’s happening in other sectors.  

As a consulting firm, we help big and medium sized companies/organizations get their OI programs off the ground, and work with them as they’re searching for new technologies to expand into a new market or existing technologies/solutions in their current market that they might not have been aware of before.

I’m the only person working on marketing fulltime so I’ve had the amazing opportunity to just dive right in and do a bit of everything: from social media and email marketing to website design/management and creating sales collateral for client outreach.

3) Do you like your job? Why or why not?

So, I didn’t actually study marketing at all while I was at Simmons – I was a Comm major on the Journalism track with minors in graphic design and radio – and most of my background was in the creative aspects of Communications like writing, layout, and design. Finding myself in an almost exclusively marketing role that had a huge focus on strategy and analytics for my first fulltime job was a huge curveball; definitely not what I had been expecting for my first job!

4) How has Simmons prepared you for the real world?

My network of professors and peers that I built while I was at Simmons, and the out-of-classroom work that I did while I was there have both been incredibly valuable.

This might not be a hugely popular opinion (although I doubt any professor who actually had me in their class will be surprised to hear that I feel this way) but I don’t think the majority of the value of the college experience comes from the assignments you do or the grades you get, but from the unique hands-on learning opportunities that you can find either at or through your college network; and Simmons gave me a great platform for that.

5) What was your favorite part about the Simmons experience?

Without a doubt, it was getting the opportunity to meet, learn from, and grow with such amazing people.

Between outstanding professors like Leonard Mailloux, Dan Connell, James Corcoran, Andy Porter, Sid Berger, and Judy Richland (just to name a few), and peers and classmates who are some of the smartest/most talented people I know, I have no doubt that the people I met in my time here are going to remain some of my favorite people for the rest of my life.

6) What is your advice for the class of 2017?

Two things:

1—Don’t hyper-focus on school and schoolwork to the detriment of your extracurricular learning and social life.

This is really important not only because it means you may miss out on opportunities that may prove to be almost as, if not just as, important as your school work/GPA later in life, but it also teaches you bad habits about maintaining a healthy work/life balance once you get out of school.

2—Take advantage of the pre-made meals, because coming home after work and realizing that not only do you still have to cook an entire meal but before that you also have to go to the grocery store and buy all the ingredients is the absolute WORST.