Your Major, Your Career

Curious how your selection of an academic major will impact your career? Join us for a panel discussion highlighting alumni with backgrounds from a variety of different fields, including law, finance, consulting, and public policy in a non-profit setting. We will talk about how to pick a major, how to build your skills through both coursework and experiential education, and how to chart a career path based on your strengths, interests, and values. This panel is perfect for students who have yet to declare a major or who have declared a major but still want to explore other options.

Panel Participants

Erin Archer, AB'00, MBA'06

Interim Treasurer & Director of Investments, DePaul University

Ms. Archer graduated from the College in 2000 with a degree in Biological Sciences and Law, Letters & Society. She received an MBA from Chicago Booth in 2006. After graduation from the College, she spent 15 years working in Equity Research on both the buy-side and sell-side, in Chicago, Minneapolis, London and South Africa. In late 2015, Ms. Archer joined DePaul University in Chicago as Director of Investments. In June 2017, she took on the role of Interim Treasurer, with oversight over the university's debt program, cash management, investments and external real estate. Finally, she is a former Trustee of The Thacher School and a former member of the Visiting Committee of the College of the University of Chicago. (Table 8)

Robert Planthold, AB'06, JD'13 (Georgetown)

Assistant General Counsel, Illinois Department of Insurance

Mr. Planthold graduated from the College in 2006 with a degree in Philosophy, having been involved in University Theater, Broadview Hall Council, O-Week, and Scav. After graduating from Georgetown University Law Center in 2013 with a J.D. and an unanticipated appreciation for Gilbert & Sullivan operettas, he joined the Illinois Department of Insurance as a law clerk, where he was later hired as an Assistant General Counsel. There, his work encompasses legal issues arising from the state's regulation of all types of insurance (except title insurance); the licensing of insurance companies, agents, and related entities; and, idiosyncratically, the supervision of police and firefighter pension funds. He lives on the North Side of Chicago and continues to advise on matters relating to the UChicago LGBT Alumni Network, where he joined as a Board member in 2009 and served at various times as the Bylaws Chair, Communications Officer, and President. (Table 75)

Maria-Alicia Serrano, AB'00, MPA, Indiana University Bloomington

Senior Director, Strategic Research & Analysis, YMCA of the USA

Ms. Serrano began her career at the Chicago Housing Authority leading the development of strategic plans. She then joined AREA, Inc., a national research and public policy consulting firm where she became Vice President and led evaluations of programs for marginalized populations. In 2014, Ms. Serrano joined YMCA of the USA where she is the Senior Director, Strategic Research & Analysis. She directs national research and analytical projects to ensure organizational activities are informed by data. Her team designs interactive data visualizations and other decision-analysis tools to provide insights and recommendations to YMCAs. Ms. Serrano graduated from the College in 2000 with a degree in Law, Letters & Society. At the College, she joined Alpha Omicron Pi and served as chair of the philanthropy and chapter relations committees. She holds a Master of Public Affairs Degree from the School of Public & Environmental Affairs at Indiana University. (Table 88)

Miriam Sjoblom , AB'98, MA Media Studies'06 (The New School)

Director, Global Manager Research, Morningstar, Inc.

Ms. Sjoblom oversees the global ratings process for fixed-income strategies in Morningstar's manager research group. Sjoblom returned to Morningstar in 2016 after spending three years as a Senior Consultant for Aon Hewitt Investment Consulting, where she researched alternative credit strategies and advised institutional clients on hedge fund and private debt manager selection. Previously, she was a member of Morningstar's manager research group from 2007 to 2013, during which time she covered multisector and specialist fixed-income managers and oversaw the North American fixed-income manager research team. Before joining Morningstar, Sjoblom worked as a Business Analyst in Citigroup's investment banking division and as a Fixed-Income Analyst for Performance Trust Capital Partners. Ms. Sjoblom received a bachelor's degree from the College, a master's degree from The New School, and holds the CFA and CAIA designations.