Alumni Spotlight: Jessica Marchi
What are you doing today, professionally?
I am a regional sales director for WebEquity Solutions, a software company based in Omaha, Nebraska. Currently I work from my home in Dallas, TX and manage a ten-state territory for my company. I meet with C-Level banking executives across the Southeast and Midwest and consult with them on credit department technologies designed to streamline and automate their processes. When I’m not traveling, I’m usually working from my patio with my two furry assistants Oso and Max. I travel about 50% of the time and am able to set my own schedule and manage my own client book.
How did studying Religion prepare you for this?
The biggest and most important part of my job is corporate diplomacy. I travel around the country and ask high ranking banking executives and boards to spend large sums of money with my company. To do this successfully, I have to engage them in very open-minded and open-ended discussions about their concerns, needs, and objectives. Once this information is available to me, I then have to match the solution suite I’m pitching to their needs.
Studying religion teaches you how to approach people about sensitive subject matters – and to do so in a way that is unobtrusive. My ability to ask difficult questions, to wait patiently for honest answers, and to absorb the answers in a non-judgmental way is what makes me a valuable asset to my company.
What is the benefit of studying religion?
A religion degree is an excellent spring board into the professional world. My degree opened a litany of doors – I could have gone to graduate school, into the corporate world, or into politics. While I’m rarely asked directly about the facts of my degree, I apply the philosophies, reasoning skills, and psychology I learned while obtaining my degree daily.
What advice do you have for current Religion students?
Contrary to popular belief, the focus of many would-be employers is not what your degree is in, but what your GPA is. Because I enjoyed obtaining my religion degree, my grades were excellent and I had no trouble finding a job when I graduated. Future employers are also incredibly interested in your social abilities – how well you interact with people, how well you manage expectations, and whether or not you can ask difficult questions, learn unpopular answers, and enforce unpopular realities based on those answers. Studying religion teaches you to do exactly that. After spending 4 years examining the intricacies of faith, you do not struggle to ask the “hard questions” corporate teams need answers to.
I chose a degree in religion because I loved studying religion. Because of that, I excelled as a religion major. Today, I apply the things that I loved about studying religion (philosophy, psychology, politics, diplomatic reasoning and etc.) every day at work. In brief, choosing a degree that you love ultimately helps you find a career path that you love.