In our new Alumna Spotlight series, we catch up with former Sweet Briar College athletes on what they've been up to since graduation and how Sweet Briar prepared them for that transition. In today's feature, we talk with Michelle Raymond, Class of 2008.
What year did you graduate from Sweet Briar?
Which sport(s) did you play while at Sweet Briar?
Volleyball & Tennis
What have you been doing since you graduated?
To say I have been busy would be an understatement! In 2008, I moved to Washington D.C. to pursue a career in finance at Morgan Stanley, a leading global financial services firm. Eight years later, I left my position in Wealth Management to pursue higher education, earning an International MBA from IE Business School. Currently, I live in Madrid, Spain, and am enrolled in a Ph.D. program in Information Systems. In addition to my career and studies, I have actively pursued my many passions as an award-winning international Folk Artist & Entertainer, diversity & inclusion activist, and member of several U.S. Television Entertainment, U.S. Private Education & International Women's Education boards. My most recent publications include an interview with Financial Times & TEDx Talk presentation, "How to Tune in & Out."
What parts of being a college athlete best prepared you for life after college?
As a two-sport college athlete, learning time management, teamwork, and communication skills were essential to success - both on the court and in the classroom. More importantly than the career-transferable skills I gained; however, were the life-transferable skills of taking risks and processing failure. Human error, lost games, and sometimes just sheer bad luck on the court made me learn to stop, process, analyze, and adjust. Stressful events and failure are a fact of life. The shining moments will be the times when you are able to respond to these events by assessing the situation, recognizing potential threats, and plotting a course of action that will best allow you to achieve your goal.
How did Sweet Briar specifically prepare you for life after college?
The most indisputable lesson I learned from Sweet Briar was the value of networking. As we grow older, it starts to become clearer and clearer that sometimes getting that new job, promotion, or even succeeding in a project boils down to who you know. Surround yourself with a network of people from all walks of life (personally and professionally) that you can learn from and don't be afraid to ask questions. Take advice to heart and most importantly – be sure to pay it forward.
What advice would you give to high school recruits?
There will be many times through your college career and life when you will be challenged and tested. Don't shy away from these moments - utilize them to figure out what YOU are made of! Your experience as a student-athlete is invaluable. Learn to recognize your strengths, improve upon your weaknesses, and always remember – the experience you have is the one you make.