Katie Allen is a UNC Class of 2014 Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) minor who double majored in Economics and Public Policy. After graduating, Katie spent five years at PFM Financial Advisors LLC in the Washington DC area working as a financial advisor to state and local governments. In 2019, she joined Morgan Stanley, where she is currently the Vice President of Public Finance Investment Banking.
A Conversation with Katie
(1) What led you to minor in PPE at UNC?
When choosing a course of study, I had always been interested in the intersection of philosophy, politics and economics. At the time, I thought that the minor would be a nice complement to my second public policy major. To me, it is critical to understand different schools of thought when attempting to address large-scale public policy issues, and the PPE minor provided the perfect opportunity to study some of these viewpoints in an academic setting. After the first gateway course, I was drawn to the major for the scintillating conversation and engaging professors! I enjoyed speaking with students across grades and disciplines. I felt that unlike in many of my other courses, the PPE minor drew students from all over campus, which provided a level of diversity I had not yet experienced from some of my other classes.
(2) How has what you learned from the PPE Program helped you in your career?
In my opinion, one of the best parts of the PPE Program was the ability to amicably debate interesting and critical topics in our society today. Throughout class, we discussed matters ranging from capital punishment, to name image and likeness in sports, to euthanasia, religious freedom, among many others. The ability to share opinions on and listen intently to your peers is something that our society lacks today. Both in the workplace and in my personal life, the PPE Program taught me to have open-minded and respectful discussions about themes that can sometimes be contentious. Furthermore, the PPE Minor encourages drawing connections and bringing ideas from different disciplines to solve problems in unique ways. This can be invaluable in all career paths.
(3) What is your greatest professional accomplishment so far?
Working with my clients! I very much enjoy going to work every day and having the opportunity to work with such a diverse group of people across the country.
(4) What professor or course influenced you the most during your time in the PPE Program?
Jonny Anomaly. He was my gateway and capstone professor, and he facilitated some of the most captivating discussions I had at UNC.
(5) What was your favorite extracurricular programming that the PPE Program offered (i.e. reading groups, weekend seminars, speaker series, etc.)?
While in school, the Spring 2014 Symposium was by far the best Program I attended outside of the classroom. The Symposium gathered representatives from different universities across the mid-Atlantic to debate PPE topics. It was really fun to meet students and professors from other schools. Out of school, the Alumni Reading Groups are great!
(6) What advice do you have for prospective PPE students?
Definitely take the time to get to know your professors! There are so many wonderful, intelligent professors in the PPE minor, and you will do yourself a disservice by not getting to know them.
(7) What advice do you have for recent PPE graduates?
If interested in working in the PPE space, don’t hesitate to build a network at UNC and reach out to other PPE alumni, who may be able to provide a broader network!
(8) Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years, I hope to still be in the municipal space working to make a small difference on my local community and communities around the country!