MBA helps zoologist leap to finance

MBA helps zoologist leap to finance

Kevin Pratt, M B A '14, standing on a stairway in an office building
Kevin Pratt MBA '14

Not many investor analysts can boast of an undergraduate degree in zoology. For Kevin Pratt, MBA ’14, though, the leap from endangered amphibians to the world of finance was a positive one, thanks to the MBA program at the OU School of Business Administration.

Growing up, Pratt always wanted to work with animals. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in zoology, he joined the Detroit Zoo as a research and enrichment technician for rare frogs, toads, salamanders and newts. “There are only so many zookeeper jobs in the world and somehow, I lucked out and got one of them,” he says.

As much as he loved animals, Pratt discovered he loved numbers even more.

On his days off, he would go to the library and read every book he could find on personal finance and economics. His fascination with these subjects continued to grow and before long, Pratt was ready to explore a career change.

To prepare, he returned to school, enrolling in Oakland’s MBA program and earning his degree while he worked. 

“Being that 25-year-old zookeeper going to business school was nerve-racking, but it was an essential step,” Pratt says.

Oakland’s MBA program proved to be the right fit. The intimacy of the program gave him the opportunity to create relationships with classmates and professors he would not have had in a larger program, he says.

The transition was not always easy. Early on he was concerned that taking courses alongside classmates already working in some of the region’s largest industries would put him at a disadvantage.

“The reality is that I had professors, who I still keep in touch with, who recognized I was making a very dramatic change in my career and who were willing to go the extra mile to make sure I was successful,” Pratt says.

The move to finance was rewarding personally and professionally. Shortly after earning his MBA, Pratt landed a job as an investor reporting analyst for Quicken Loans in Detroit. Six months later, he was promoted to senior investor analyst. Shortly after that, he was named captain of the Fannie Mae reporting team.

“The bottom line is, after presenting to business leaders in my classes and feeling confident, I knew Oakland University had prepared me to take on any challenges I would have in my new career,” he says.