Career and Post-Graduate Development

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Yvette Dennis

The skills I developed from my liberal arts education have helped me to successfully work in various disciplines from higher education to public policy to finance. 

Class Year

1991

Major(s)

Political Science

Minor(s)

Anthropolgy

Current Position

Senior Director, Global Infrastructure and Project Finance

Employer

Fitch Ratings

Location

New York, NY

Graduate School & Degree

Master of Public Administration & Certificate in Latin American Studies from University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs

About

I provide credit ratings, commentary, and research on energy projects (wind, solar, hydropower, and fossil fuels) financed in the bond and bank markets.

How did you get your start in the field?

After I graduated with a MPA my jobs have all been linked by the theme of credit risk analysis, though I have worked in different disciplines.  I worked as a credit analyst at the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on small business and single-family housing.  I went on to become Deputy Director for Microfinance at the US Agency for International Development. Then I left government to work in the financial sector in NY where I currently assess credit risk of energy projects financings.

Impact of Ursinus

Critical thinking skills help me identify similar themes across disciplines, objectively analyze problems, and propose practical solutions in my professional life. I am glad that Ursinus emphasized written and oral communication skills because they are often distinguishing factors of employee performance.  I have observed people who have learned a specific technical skill in college but may have difficulty adapting to new workplace demands that require them to stretch their abilities. Because of my liberal arts education, I believe that I have been able to adapt to changing demands in the workplace over the years. 

Piece of Advice

Don’t wait for someone to mentor you and don’t expect that it is someone else’s responsibility to advance your career.  Reach out to respected, high-performing people.  They may be busy so your challenge is to manage their time well so they will want to continue mentoring you.  Prepare for brief discussions with a clear purpose in mind.  If you seek advice follow up with the mentor on how you applied their advice. Keep them abreast of your accomplishments.  Always show your gratitude because mentors are volunteering and giving you the precious resource of their time.

Paying It Forward

Throughout my career I have mentored high school and college students and junior staff in my various jobs.  I offer increasing responsibility to junior staff as they demonstrate a willingness and ability to learn more.  Fitch Ratings offers summer internships, as it is always willing to offer professional opportunities to college students.  I have mentored some of our college interns at Fitch.