Wiseman '15 Takes Non-Traditional Route with Education and Mathematics Majors

Brianna Wiseman '15 began her first year at Emmanuel with her mind set on becoming a teacher. So how, years later, did her path lead to a career at Fidelity Investments?

"If you told me I was going to end up financial services, I would have laughed and thought you were joking," she said. "However, by attending a liberal arts school, I was exposed to so many new ideas outside of my major that I wanted to explore further."

As a sophomore, the mathematics and secondary education major was asked to be a research assistant in the Education Department. Her fieldwork was on Approximation Theory in first-year calculus classes. In the two years that followed, Wiseman worked to organize the large amounts of collected data and place it in a user-friendly format, which she then presented at a conference to scholars in the field of mathematics education. But when she began to think about her future, Wiseman said she often felt "stuck."

"I had invested so much time into my education courses that I felt that I would never be qualified for anything besides teaching or writing math textbooks," she said.

The "crazy mix of emotions" settled after an appointment with an advisor in the Career Center. Wiseman walked out of the meeting with an action plan for beginning her job search—in the business world. Though she didn't have any connections in the financial services industry, Wiseman's career advisor knew what she was looking for, and when Margaret McKenna '83, Executive Vice President in the relationship management division of workplace investing at Fidelity, reached out to Emmanuel to fill an internship in her division, the Career Center had her information on hand to contact her about the opportunity.

Through her role as an administrative intern at Fidelity, Wiseman was able to build a network of experienced associates she could rely on for help or information. It also allowed her to prove her abilities and project management skills to upper-level leadership and solidified her decision that the business world was right for her. She was offered a full-time position at the company after graduation. At Fidelity, Wiseman is currently a deployment analyst in the same division as her internship. Her responsibilities include managing go-to-market strategies for new or enhanced products and services with a focus on engagement strategies, ensuring associate readiness and managing successful rollouts. The projects involve working with a variety of other business groups, including upper management within those groups. 

"I've realized from my various education classes that everyone learns and understands differently," she said. "Emmanuel taught me how to convey my ideas and opinions in multiple ways to adjust to various learners. I actually joke with my boss about using my education courses to develop 'lesson plans for adults' in my current role."

After working in the business world since graduating from Emmanuel, Wiseman said she has learned that she needn't be defined by her major. 

"Yes, people are sometimes confused when I tell them that I was once an education major, but no one second guesses my ability to do my job in this industry," she said. "I've built a solid reputation for myself that others admire, and my coworkers focus on that the most." 

Most influential in helping her to build this strong reputation was Emmanuel's idea of "life in a fish bowl." As a student leader on campus, Wiseman knew that others were always watching her actions and following the example she was setting. 

"I learned how to present myself in front of others genuinely and professionally and exert confidence in my work," she said.

Wiseman also sought a supportive environment in the workplace, similar to the one she found at Emmanuel. Though she admits to struggling at times as a math major in college, her professors went above and beyond to help her understand challenging concepts, and fellow math majors never hesitated to come together in study groups.

"I was able to find that supportive atmosphere at Fidelity, making it a fairly smooth transition from student to employee. I am very grateful to Emmanuel for that."

Brianna Wiseman is a 2015 graduate of Emmanuel College in Boston

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