Katherine “Kathie” Chong graduated from University High School in 2006. After high school, she attended Indiana University and graduated with degrees in finance and accounting. She currently lives in Chicago and works for Slalom Consulting. Below Kathie answers a few questions about her professional experiences and how University prepared her for life at IU and beyond.
What have you been up to since leaving University?
I attended Indiana University in Bloomington and majored in finance and accounting. I was involved with the Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity, was on the Board for Alternative Spring Break at the business school, and was a part of the Investment Banking Workshop.
Upon graduating from IU, I went into investment banking at William Blair & Company in Chicago where I worked on executing sell-side transactions. While this was an amazing opportunity, I learned quickly that my heart was with consulting and that I wanted to be out in the field working with clients on a day-to-day basis. After a year, I switched to consulting and worked with Huron Consulting Group in their healthcare revenue cycle practice. I was able to travel all around the country for this job to visit various hospital system clients. After four years, I wanted to have more of a home in Chicago without the travel, so I switched to a consulting firm with a local model called Slalom Consulting. I have been working on delivery leadership work there ever since.
How do you feel University best prepared you for college?
With January Term, daily community meetings, and the mentoring program, I was always encouraged to try new things, learn about new things, go outside of my comfort zone, and always give it my all at University. That has served me very well. I knew at Indiana University that I would put myself out there and go for what I wanted, even if it was unfamiliar territory to me.
In addition, University High School’s high standard of academics served me very well in college. While at University, I had to learn how to be organized, manage my time well, and work to perform to the best of my ability. Investment banking was a very competitive field to get into, and I had to ensure that not only was I on top of my academics, but I had to balance it with extracurriculars and networking my way into the industry.
Do you see that the core values you learned at University still apply to your life now? How?
There are a couple of core values that stick out. Commitment to Excellence sticks out for me. Whether it’s deliverables at work, training for a race, or any work for my Boards, I do make sure that I put in full effort for everything I have committed to. This has been ingrained in me since University and has paid dividends. I get positive feedback around this all the time, and I can thank the habits I picked up in high school.
Another one that sticks out to me is Stewardship. As you become busy after high school and college, it can be easy to fall into the trap of “all about me.” What has been the most fulfilling aspect of my time post-college has been giving back to organizations I am very passionate about in Chicago.
Please share your best University memory.
I have so many good ones. I would say the January Term class on “Cultures of Mexico” sticks out for me. It was incredible to take a month and dive so deeply into a topic. After a few weeks of learning and discussion, our class took a trip to Mexico to see the Mayan ruins. It was the first time I had experienced anything like it, and I fondly remember several experiences from the trip. The fact that University offers its students an opportunity like January Term is truly unique and special.
Do you regularly volunteer or do service work? If so, what do you do?
I have been involved with Boards in Chicago for organizations I care deeply for. I am on the Board for the Korean-American Coalition of Chicago, where I help to plan social, community service, and networking events for those who are interested in learning more about the Korean community in the city. I am also on the Executive Committee of the Overture Council of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as Audience Development Chair. My role here is to get the young people in the city excited about the Orchestra and to develop relationships with the other members of the Orchestra family to connect them to the Young Professionals Group. I also will be starting to pace for those training to run the Winter Half Marathon in Chicago. My next step is to find a running organization I can join to give back more to the running community.