“I don’t regret it, but I wouldn’t recommend it.”
This is what Chloe Monson ’11 says about her family’s decision to relocate from England to the United States when she was 16.
Originally from Dublin, her family moved around a bit and when her parents decided to move from England to Rochester for work, she was a little surprised at the timing. She was about to embark on a particularly significant schooling year, filled with big exams as she prepared for a future at university. England has a totally different educational system and she was on a very regimented educational track. When she started at Harley, she went from a focus on a specific set of core subjects to options like guitar and jewelry making. She switched from “Maths” in the United Kingdom where she would do a little bit of algebra and a little bit of geometry to whole semesters of one math subject. She was more than a little overwhelmed and didn’t feel prepared. She said, “I was this mix of either way behind or way ahead in every class and people kept talking about something called an SAT…” She said her first year at Harley was a crazy experience and she was just trying to manage.
One of the saving graces that first year, though, was sports. She had always been an athlete at her school in England, and was excited to continue in the States, but she discovered that her favorite sports were either not available at Harley (field hockey) or didn’t exist (netball, kind of like basketball, but no dribbling). Her mom urged her, “Just sign-up for something!” So, she chose volleyball for the fall and says it was the greatest decision she ever made because she met Amy Colosimo. She and Coach Colosimo had a connection from the start and when Amy offered to be Chloe’s advisor at Harley, she jumped at the chance to work with this woman she greatly respected and admired. The two worked together throughout her time at Harley and it made life a little easier.
Despite all the huge life changes, Chloe’s focus on college did not waver. She planned to go to Trinity College in Dublin where both of her parents attended. She said her family would go back to Ireland periodically to visit relatives or for work and student visa renewals and her parents would make a point to stop and visit the college. She said on one visit, her father said, “Let’s just go to the admission office, tell them you are an Irish citizen, but living in the States, and you want to know exactly what you need to do to get in here.” The admissions office was extremely helpful and laid out a plan for Chloe to follow. Chloe followed the plan and was admitted to Trinity College where she majored in business and economics.
Chloe shared with me that studying business at college is kind of a norm in Ireland because the country has a lot of international business connections. Ireland is kind of a “tax haven” meaning they have a very low corporation tax, and that means multinational businesses build headquarters or subsidiaries in Ireland to take advantage of that benefit. She says due to the international flavor of companies within Ireland, many of the college students, like her, earn business degrees with a particular focus on “strategy, innovation, and entrepreneurship.” Within her degree, she did various internships, but a highlight in her college career was volunteering as a college student for a non-profit company called Enactus. Enactus establishes student programs on campus to help students with social justice issues. Chloe worked in a program called “Voice for the Voiceless” where she would go to homeless shelters to help build resumes for the residents.
Now, Chloe is living in Brooklyn, NY and works as a consultant. She says much of her work is in market entry, corporate growth strategy, customer experience, and long-term innovation projects. She says she has a passion for this work and in the past has worked for big mammoth consulting firms like Ernst and Young, but more recently has been working at boutique firms like Fahrenheit 212 and at her new job, Vivaldi Group. She says Vivaldi is an innovation consulting group with a focus on brand strategy, and when you hire Vivaldi, they help create a strong, tactical strategy for ideas within the company.
Chloe really enjoys her new job at Vivaldi and likes consulting because she knows what’s she’s good at. “I like client services and find that I am especially good at working with their needs.” Chloe explained that there are four types of working styles: Generator, Conceptualizer, Optimizer, and Implementer. She said she is absolutely the implementer and when a client has a good idea, she is the one that can make it happen. Knowing this about herself, she said she probably wouldn’t ever start her own business, but will be a great asset at a start-up company or joining a friend on their next business venture idea. Will she ever move back to Ireland? She says probably not and shared this article she wrote for the Irish Times about the longer you stay away, the less it makes sense to move back.
She says moving to Harley and to the United States was hugely impactful on her and that both the move and the struggles with the new school environment taught her to be embrace and be comfortable with change. “The business world is in flux all the time, with a level of ‘sink or swim.’ Sometimes you just need to figure it out and get stuff done. The move to the States taught me that.” Although, as stated above, she wouldn’t recommend a move like this to anyone, she has no regrets because these challenges made her resilient and got her where she is today.