Kayleigh Reed, GC’18, always knew she wanted to get her master’s degree because of the competitive advantage she felt it would give her in the job market. Unlike many other graduate students enrolled in the University of Richmond School of Professional & Continuing Studies (SPCS), Reed started her graduate program right out of college.

“I knew it would easier for me to just continue going to school instead of working first,” Reed said. “I knew it would be a really easy excuse for me to not go back if I went to work first.”

Reed was in a unique position. She played college golf at Longwood University and received her bachelor’s degree in business administration. After her senior year at Longwood, Reed had a year of NCAA eligibility remaining and an opportunity to play golf at Richmond. She felt a master’s degree in human resource management would be a great way to diversify herself while also complementing her bachelor’s degree in business administration. The combination of an excellent graduate education and a strong women’s golf program made Richmond an obvious choice for her.

Once her commitment to Richmond’s Women’s Golf concluded, she decided to look for a full-time job. UR Career Services help her fine-tune her resume and review cover letters as she prepared for her job hunt. They helped her leverage her relevant coursework on her resume to show she was qualified for HR jobs, even though she had no formal HR working experience.

Reed had always wanted to work for Norfolk Southern because of its great reputation. She applied for an HR data specialist position even though she felt she wasn’t qualified. Her work with Career Services and her faculty gave her the confidence to apply, and it paid off big.

“To my surprise, Norfolk Southern hired me and allowed me to leave early twice a week for the last year to finish my degree,” Reed shared.

Working full time and commuting from Virginia Beach while finishing her degree was challenging for Reed. She recalls a lot of late nights, but working full time also changed her perspective on what she was learning on the classroom.

“Once I started working I was really able to see how practical everything I was learning in the program was,” Reed recalled. “I would go to class, and the next day hear people talking about the same topic at my job.”

Reed credits the faculty with playing a major role in her success at Richmond. She says her faculty pushed her, challenged her and helped her prepare for her job at Norfolk Southern.

“Richmond has some of the most engaged faculty I have ever had the privilege of learning from,” she reflected.

At 23, Reed now has a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s degree in human resource management, but she’s not stopping her education. After taking the summer off, she'll begin work on her Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) certification.