A Student’s Realization in Junior Year Leads to Opportunity After Graduation

Nicole Ntim-Addae
Author  Macy Lipkin ’23
Published on 

In her junior year at Wellesley, neuroscience major Nicole Ntim-Addae (Nico Addae) ʼ20 had a realization: She no longer wanted to be a doctor. Despite never having taken an economics course, she competed in a business simulation competition with Forté Foundation at the encouragement of a friend. Addae won first place and was hooked.

A class in venture engineering at MIT in the spring of her junior year gave Addae some direction on what her next steps might be. Corporate America wasn’t her thing, but startups were. She met with several advisors within Wellesley’s Career Education office to talk through her options—including Christina Breiter, the career community advisor for business. The Career Education team advised her to investigate pathways within the sectors and industries that interested her most. She took more courses at MIT Sloan and became a mentee in Wellesley’s HBS Mentorship program.

Addae was recruited for the Venture for America fellowship through Handshake, then returned to Career Education to learn more about the two-year program and where it could take her. She decided to apply. After two essays, two interviews, and a match process that “was a job search in itself,” Addae accepted a position with Fenaroli & Associates in Kansas City, Missouri.

“When this job came along, it was not the industry that I wanted; it was not in the city I imagined,” Addae said. “It was in Kansas City, it was in consulting—and not only was it in consulting, it was basically HR management.” But her prospective boss, Karen Fenaroli, was excellent from the start—hands-on and well-organized—so Addae took a leap of faith and accepted the job.

Since September, she’s been working as an entrepreneurship manager and research associate. Her tasks include database management and networking with entrepreneurs around Kansas City. As the head of the Be a Scout campaign, partnered with Techstars, Addae seeks to attract other talented Venture for America fellows to Kansas City.

Addae is confident she made the right decision. “This role has been really great. My boss is intense, but she focuses on making sure that I develop a skill set that will set me up for a tech startup. She’s truly personally invested in me. She’s committed to diversity and inclusion through her work and community involvement, while also developing the entrepreneurship ecosystem of Kansas City with the Pure Pitch Rally,” she said.

Addae is thinking of applying to graduate school in the next two or three years, and she’s glad Career Education will still have her back. “You will always have access to them. Keep using them, keep checking in with them afterward, because the Wellesley community is always willing to help. I am also excited to interact with current students. Feel free to reach out to me through the Wellesley Hive or LinkedIn,” she said.

For job-searching students, Addae recommends consistency: “Keep looking, developing your skills, asking for referrals, going for informational interviews.” And do something you enjoy while you work on applications. “Try and keep one side hustle going,” Addae said. Three months passed between her college graduation and her match with Fenaroli & Associates. “I’ve never been the person who could sit still,” she said. “I continued my internship with MIT’s Data + Feminism Lab. And that helped me take the edge off of looking for a job constantly, day in and day out.”

With Career Education in your back pocket and the enthusiasm of the Wellesley network, Addae says, “You’re more prepared than you think you are, and the Wellesley brand does have weight.”