We are all smart, we are all talented, and we are all excited to be accepted to the elite group that is BIG. But none of us knew what we had gotten ourselves into this past fall.

BIG isn’t your average group of college students. It’s a group of highly educated, highly talented, highly motivated people. You feel smarter being around employees at BIG.  That doesn’t come naturally though. It comes through hard work and effort harnessed through the BIG training class. Those who have graduated from the BIG class, you understand the intense training and learning during the course. For those who haven’t, let’s go on journey of self-discovery.

As I found my seat on the first day of MGMT 690B, it was a bit of an eerie feeling. Not only were we strangers to each other, but we were still green to the group as a whole. All of us came from different backgrounds and a few months earlier we were competing to be in the exact seats we were sitting in. Now, we were working together to become one unit.

A pretty tall task, and one only handled by our teacher and advisor, Kate Kung-McIntyre.

Kate is not only an amazing teacher, but more importantly, an amazing person. She has the nurturing qualities of a mother and friend, don’t let that fool you. She can act like the tough coach that makes you run in the rain after a 2 hour practice. Personally, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Kate knows when and how to motivate you. Sometimes it’s encouraging and complimentary, but sometimes it’s critical and direct. It may not be what you want to hear, but it’s always what you need to hear. Kate is what makes BIG members who they are: motivated, driven and never satisfied by mediocrity.

With the guidance of Kate, the days slowly became easier. Days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into months. The shift was gradual, but soon one could easily see regular students transform into BIG students. Competitors became teammates. Strangers became friends. Individuals became a unit, working together to be the best we can be.

We learned how to research demographics, how to use pivot tables and Excel, extended research projects on topics of interest to college students, and a rebranding campaign for a well-known product. We learned to work smarter not harder. We learned to ask the tough questions: “Why?” “Who cares?” “So what?”and how to reframe the problem.


This sounds easier than we found it to be. It is hard to learn that your project does not answer the “Who cares?” question, and the team has to start over and reframe the project. We learned it’s okay to make mistakes now, because doing so makes you more prepared for when it really matters. We learned what perseverance and hard work really means, and that putting the effort into this elite group is worth the struggle and the hours of making sure your product is just right and spending the extra time to understand who cares and why your solution matters.

I am extremely confident in saying that we grew not only as students, but also as people. We are friends, employees, and the future of the economic world.

The employees of BIG before us have graduated to become successful accountants, salespeople, business owners and scientists. Yet no matter where the future takes us, we will always share the connection and relationships forged in BIG and will use the lessons Kate taught us in our professional work as well as personal relationships. BIG can change you into a better person if you let it.