Spring 2020 Northeastern Co-op Spotlight – Katherine Jaffe

We continue the Q&A series with our Spring 2020 Northeastern University co-ops and share Katherine Jaffe’s experience and insight and how she pivoted to the new WFH normal during a global pandemic.

What is your major/background/hobbies/interests at Northeastern?
I’m a Business Administration major at Northeastern with concentrations in Finance and Accounting. I’ve completed co-ops at PwC in their assurance practice, as well as at Goldman Sachs for private wealth management. While at Northeastern, I’ve worked as a TA for my managerial accounting professor and as a research assistant for my international business professor. I’ve also been involved with the Women in Finance organization as a mentor for underclassmen who are looking for their first co-op. The club is a great opportunity for women across all disciplines, not just finance, to empower one another and build a strong community within Northeastern.

What drew your interest to the Stax co-op position? How did you hear of Stax?
Going into my final co-op, I knew I wanted to do something in the consulting field, so that’s where I targeted my search. The Stax posting immediately jumped out because of the flat organizational culture and the engagement mix that a co-op would be exposed to. The ownership of responsibilities also drew me to Stax, as not many other companies allow co-ops the opportunity to act as a full member of the team and contribute at the level of an associate.

What were you hoping to gain through the NE co-op experience?
The co-op program initially drew me to Northeastern, because it would allow me to explore three completely different career paths and figure out which industry was the best fit before graduation. I’ve had three very different co-ops during my time at Northeastern, allowing me to develop distinct skillsets at each. If it hadn’t been for the co-op program, it would have taken me much longer to realize that I want to start my career in consulting.

What are your responsibilities at Stax as part of your co-op experience?
The co-ops responsibilities mirrored that that of an associate at Stax, with an emphasis on primary research collection and deliverable creation. I had the opportunity to work with most of the Boston team on 7 projects so far, ranging from thermal management components to investigation tools for law enforcement. I’ve assisted on both the primary and secondary research streams, phone guide creation, survey testing, and slide development during my various engagements, and have been able to shadow and contribute input data to the financial models on a few.

What have you learned so far while at Stax?
Besides learning how to effectively Work From Home for an extended period of time, Stax has taught me how to quickly get smart on an industry I had previously known nothing about. I have learned how to pivot my thinking and research approach when the scope of work changes and how to prioritize tasks in a fast-paced environment. I’ve come to find how important it is to ask the ‘why’ behind the ‘what’, and how to ask strategic questions to fully understand the overarching trends in a given market and to pinpoint underpenetrated areas for an expanding business.

What is your most memorable experience(s) at Stax to date?
Though these past 6 months have been filled with memorable events and experiences, one that comes front of mind is the offsite trip to Miami. It was relatively early on in my co-op so it really allowed me to get to know everyone in the Boston office and meet colleagues from the other offices as well. The transition to WFH couldn’t have been an easy one for the management team, but the frequent check-ins from Paul really showed how much Stax cares for its people and emphasizes the culture the firm is trying to foster.

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