EMBA Alumni Update: Kristi Brooks - Cohort 15, Financial Consultant - Fidelity Investments
UNLV Executive MBA alum (Cohort 15) Kristi Brooks acknowledges that’s she driven. In Brooks’ case, that drive manifests itself in an insatiable thirst for knowledge, highly developed leadership skills, tenacious dedication and laser focus. And, she gives full credit to her UNLV EMBA experience for her current success and motivation for continued professional development.
“There is no doubt in my mind that I would not be where I am today without the UNLV EMBA program,” Brooks said.
Brooks is the first, and to date, the only recipient of financial services company Fidelity Investment’s 15-month financial consultant pilot training program operating out of the San Diego office. On completion of the program, she will be one of the firm’s financial consultants managing the financial affairs of high-asset clients. Traditionally, promotion to the position is achieved following a minimum five-year career track.
Acceptance into Fidelity’s training program is impressive enough, but even more so given that Brooks has no professional financial background.
“Never in my life did I envision myself in financial services. And, without the EMBA program it’s possible that I would have limited my options. The program can be literally life-changing.”
Prior to beginning the EMBA program, Brooks was well known within the Las Vegas travel and tourism industry for her achievements in sales and marketing with Bonotel Exclusive Travel, where she served as account director for international tour operator sales, responsible for the agency’s MGM Resorts International account. During her time with the travel company, she racked up successes including as a top-level producer generating $50M revenue annually through her work on United Kingdom accounts.
“When I entered the EMBA program, a career change wasn’t necessarily in my immediate plan, but I had begun to do some soul-searching. I understood that an advanced degree in business was a potential life-changer for a career,” said Brooks.
“The program intensified my desire for change; gave me the skills to accelerate my career, and the confidence to make a dramatic shift in fields,” she added.
Armed with new business acumen and heightened self-assurance, Brooks became convinced she didn’t want to continue along her travel industry career path but was still undecided on a career change.
Prior to graduation, Brooks attended a conference where a female executive from Northwestern Mutual was speaking, “and it hit me. I wanted a career in financial services.”
Brooks reached out to fellow cohort member, Tricia Beard, who is a senior executive in the financial field. “You can’t put a price tag on the bonds you form with fellow cohort members and the ability to network with not only your own classmates, but with other alumni as well,” said Brooks. On Brooks’ behalf, Beard made the necessary introductions at Fidelity, opening the door for Brooks to apply for the training program.
“UNLV EMBA academics gave me the credibility. The lasting relationships gave me inspiration. Combined, they equal empowerment,” Brooks said.
Brooks has been in the Fidelity training program for three months and is loving it. “It’s hard work, loads of studying, certification testing and long days. It’s a lot like being back in the EMBA program. I’m soaking up the knowledge and developing new skills at a very fast pace,” she said. “During the EMBA program, being in a class of leaders all with different skills and experience was eye-opening and motivating. To work collaboratively in that environment meant that we had to learn in new ways. That experience definitely prepared me for the challenges of my new career.”
“It’s an exciting time to work in financial services,” she said. “There are huge opportunities especially for women. Every day is exciting, being part of the future.”
Brooks believes her EMBA has contributed to her career in a meaningful way and helped her forge a path toward a level of professional success she couldn’t have achieved otherwise. “It has enabled me to succeed in every way and to stretch and strive for those things that will keep me successful.”
“But, the greatest gift I received from the UNLV EMBA was the people who shared this experience with me. We were all close as we worked to support each other. It’s one of those experiences that far exceeds expectations,” Brooks said.
For Brooks, one experience may stand above all others. She met fellow cohort member Andrew Kerzmann. The two are living happily ever after in San Diego!