Kali Roling '21 came to St. Ambrose thinking she was just a basketball player.
She left knowing, with absolute certainty, that she is so much more.
Kali graduated on May 15 with Bachelor of Arts degrees in Business Sales and in Marketing, as well as a minor in Biology. She also built a long resume of achievements, activities and opportunities that were key to discovering all of her strengths.
Next month, she's moving to Provo, Utah, to start her career with Qualtrics XM, a company that offers a cloud-based subscription software platform for experience management. The cutting-edge company was seeking the best, and the brightest college talent at a national sales competition and career fair that Kali attended last fall.
Through the SAU Sales Club, she had the opportunity to compete in the virtual competition and network with potential employers. Kali introduced herself to Qualtrics representatives and was quickly called for an interview. Five interviews later, Kali was offered a position as a Sales Development Representative. Qualtrics - a company with three co-headquarters and more than 3,300 employees across the U.S. - told her it only hires one percent of the people it interviews, she said.
"I am really fortunate and excited to get out to their headquarters and start my career in sales," Kali said. "There is no way I would have come into contact with Qualtrics if it were not for the competition and career fair. Getting yourself involved can open up so many doors," she said. "You never know what will come from it."
From that one competition, Kali also landed interviews with Oracle NetSuite and Dell.
Kali didn't choose Sales and Marketing as a major emphasis until her junior year, and, in the process of seeking a career path, she learned St. Ambrose is a place where faculty and staff are ready and willing to help students explore their options and identify their passions.
"I spent a lot of time in the Career Center," she said, adding they put her in touch with a Sales professor, who had her take some personality tests. "Then he sat me down and said, ‘Kali, you would be great in sales,'" she recalled.
Kali also sought advice from a Communication professor. "He told me, ‘You need to find what you are good at and do that. Find your why, and if your why does not make you cry, it is not your why,'" she recalled.
Kali reflected on all of the guidance and realized her whole life, she'd held leadership positions, and was good at communicating with people and creating relationships. She decided to give Sales a shot.
"From there, it took off. I found my calling, and I don't know if I would have had I not had such great direction to that path," she said. "Thankfully, I had great professors and opportunities, and the mentors I've had in the Sales and Marketing programs are amazing."
During her four years at SAU, Kali spent two as a Fighting Bees Women's Basketball student-athlete. She also was chair of the Family Relations Committee with SAU Dance Marathon, a member of honor society, completed four internships, served on the Student Philanthropy Council, helped teach New Student Seminar, and was active in Sales Club for two years, serving as president this year.
"There were so many opportunities I wanted to take hold of, and I tried my best to do that. Busy is an understatement, but I was able to make it all work and I am grateful for all the opportunities I have had," Kali said.
Through all of her activities and involvement, Kali connected with so many people. "I will miss being here where I have all of my communities in one place: my faith community, my social community with my friends, my academic and professional community through sales and marketing, my Dance Marathon community and all the kiddos I have gotten to know," she said. "I feel you have so many people rooting for you here at St. Ambrose, people who genuinely want you to succeed. Definitely, it is the people I will miss the most.
"I came into college believing ‘Oh, I am a basketball player,' it was the main thing I identified myself with. But coming out, I am so much more than that. All of the extracurricular activities and opportunities I was given by SAU helped me realize all of the potential and strengths I do have," she said.
"I found my calling, and I don't know if I would have had I not had such great direction to that path."
Kali Roling '21