Kate Seabaugh Studies Financial Engineering and Coaches Volleyball
The Financial Engineering (FE) concentration in ORIE's Master of Engineering program is known as an especially challenging program. Nonetheless Kate Seabaugh has undertaken to combine her pursuit of the FE degree with working as an assistant coach for Cornell's volleyball team.
Kate, who was a volleyball standout at the University of Connecticut (UConn), almost came to Cornell as an undergraduate. However, unlike Cornell, UConn offers athletic scholarships. So Seabaugh took advantage of a full UConn scholarship to major in finance and minor in math while playing volleyball for a UConn team that advanced to the Big East tournament in each of her three seasons there. She graduated in three years in 2009, after which she came to Cornell as an extramural student to fulfill some prerequisite courses and make contacts towards a future job.
During her first year in Ithaca (where she picked up "a loose thread," she says) Kate played on Cornell's club volleyball team. The team finished fifth at the 2010 national club championships. She already knew head coach Sarah Bernson, who as an assistant coach herself had recruited her out of high school only to have to put off getting her involved with Cornell volleyball for three years.
Kate was delighted when the assistant coach position opened up. She says she now has "the best of both worlds." Her brother Taylor is an engineering undergraduate at Cornell. Bernson, the Wendy Schaenen '79 Head Coach of Volleyball, says "Kate is a great fit for our program and coaching staff. I am very excited that she chose Cornell for graduate school and will be assistng the Big Red in a coaching capacity."
Although she did her undergraduate degree in a business school, Kate "really wanted to do a more technical finance degree rather than an MBA." She was drawn to Cornell because of the semester on Wall Street and the enhanced prospects for landing a summer internship that are key features of the Financial Engineering M.Eng. concentration.
"It's definitely a lot harder than my undergrad, but I knew that," she says. At Cornell she has "met a lot of good people from a more diverse group." As for the workload, "I do better under pressure and with structure," she notes, recognizing that handling the three hours per day devoted to volleyball in addition to her academic work requires careful time management.
Kate hopes to pursue a career in sales and trading or investment banking, since she finds client interaction interesting. She sees capital markets as a "cross-section of financial markets, main street, corporate America, politics and monetary policy."
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