Alessandra “Ali” Kimball applied to McIntire for a reason that perhaps best exemplifies the Comm School’s “Commerce for the Common Good” initiative: “I wanted to make a positive change in the world and found that the most efficient and powerful way to do that was through business and commerce,” Kimball says.
Her interest was strongest in learning about impact, ESG investing, and management. Kimball’s rationale was quite clear: “to be best suited to someday lead a thoughtful and sustainable company myself.”
She wasted no time in gaining experience.
In addition to serving as President in the business of fashion CIO Futures in Fashion Association, and as a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma international business honor society, the Hamilton, MA, native was already running a mission-driven nonprofit with a classmate as a second-year. The two founded Money Makes Change, intending to use their developing finance knowledge to educate underprivileged high school students about money management tools and financial literacy.
Their goal was to better equip students only a few years younger than themselves “to be confident and prepared when they graduate and enter the world,” says the Management and Marketing concentrator, explaining that they created a curriculum that was used to recruit and train more than 40 other UVA undergraduates. “We then had multiple visits with Charlottesville City Schools’ AVID program (high school seniors who are soon to be first-generation college students) and also held various online seminars for groups throughout the country. Overall, the program was very successful and helped hundreds of students realize their potential and gain the confidence they needed to have a financially stable life.”
Through internships, she’s also had suitable business experiences, first as a Merchandising Intern before her third year at women’s sportwear brand Title Nine in San Francisco, CA, and last summer, as a Deals Transformation Management Consultant Intern for PwC in Boston.
After she graduates, Kimball hopes to continue to use her Commerce education to create a positive impact through more opportunities for peer mentorship—as a McIntire Alumni Mentor and through active community engagement when she begins working in New York as a Business Analyst for McKinsey & Company.
This summer, she’ll be working with high schoolers once more, this time for adventure travel company Moondance Adventures. Kimball will be leading again too, directing teens from across the country on two 22-day outdoor expeditions, one through the Swiss and French Alps (where her minor in German may prove helpful), and another along the Mediterranean coast of Spain.
Before she leaves Grounds, we caught up with Kimball to get some final reflections about her time as an undergrad in the Comm School.
You were a TA in the Integrated Core Strategy & Systems class for Blocks 1 and 2. What about that experience made the greatest impact on you and why?
I loved ICE! My Strategy & Systems course with Ryan Nelson in Block 1 showed me how exciting and impactful data visualization can be for a business and team. I really enjoyed working in a group setting and became very close with my group as we worked on projects using data to suggest the next best Michelin star restaurant or whether or not Hershey should launch a healthy candy.
What’s one lesson that you’ve learned at the Comm School that has helped you navigate your professional future?
I have learned about the importance of teamwork, communication, and empathy. The majority of my classes at McIntire have been group based, which has given me the skills to work with people with completely different backgrounds than myself.
What’s your best memory from your time at McIntire?
The friends I have made during my time at McIntire have forever positively impacted my life. I know that no matter where my friends end up, whether NYC, Boston, or DC, the bonds we made in RRH [Rouss & Robertson Halls] will cross those borders and will always keep us in touch. One of my favorite memories was my Advanced Business Speaking class with one of my closest friends. We had to recite Shakespeare in front of the entire RRH Courtyard, dressed in full Shakespearean garb. It was full of laughter and learning, and is a fond memory.