Anyone considering a degree in history who has been asked the question, “What for?”, need only look up Bailey White ’16.
A Senior Consultant at Deloitte Consulting, Bailey studied History and Business Administration at UNC. Originally from Winston-Salem and a lifelong Tar Heel fan, he became a history major after taking a course on the History of North Carolina with Professor Harry Watson. The course strengthened a passion for historical research stretching back to his AP history days. Bailey’s professional success in Deloitte’s Government and Public Services (GPS) practice might, at first glance, seem to stem primarily from his training in business. Yet he attributes much of his success in the job market and at work to his background in history.
Since beginning his career at Deloitte, Bailey has noted the ways in which the study of history has informed and enhanced his effectiveness with clients. For instance, Bailey’s role as a consultant requires him to analyze, synthesize, and collate data, and then distill this data into an “argument” that he must convey to his government clients in a succinct but engaging way. This can only be achieved, he notes, by writing clearly and effectively, by considering counterexamples and limitations to one’s argument, and by thinking critically. Bailey’s engagement with specific federal, state, and local policies, moreover, is bolstered by his knowledge of the historical context in which those policies came into being.
Bailey’s firm belief that students with history degrees can find relevant and rewarding work outside of academia led him to establish the Department of History Career Mentors Coalition (CMC) at UNC. According to its mission statement, CMC prepares history majors for “their next chapter.” This non-profit group of volunteers allows students to engage with alumni of the department, as well as faculty members, to develop their resumés and interview skills, to introduce students in the department to careers that might not seem like obvious paths for a history major (but, in fact, are), and to provide historically trained job seekers a general understanding of the skills they will need to succeed in the job market in specific lines of work. Though only a year old, this organization has attracted widespread support from alumni and current faculty members. As many of the careers and industries represented within the CMC are not usually apparent to most history majors, the organization continues to seek alumni and faculty willing to share their expertise and to mentor our undergraduates. This service is free to all UNC students, and the CMC plans to hold in-person seminars following the reopening of campus.
Bailey’s work on and off campus shows how valuable a history degree, especially from UNC, can truly be.
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