With a mother who taught 8th grade math and a father who practiced orthopedic surgery in a county hospital, Cait Haught grew up with a commitment to service. "Since I was small, my parents instilled in me that whatever I do should make the world a better place," says Cait.
At Amherst College, Cait founded and help run Pipeline Scholars, a tutorship program that connected Amherst volunteers with local middle school students. After completing her undergraduate degree with a double major in American studies and economics, Cait worked with Cambridge Associates, an investment advisor to endowments and foundations.
"I loved the job," Cait says. "I learned something new every day: capital markets, how to talk to clients, how to lead teams. They give you a lot of autonomy and responsibility; I managed a team of ten associates—it was a great entryway to business and finance." Yet Cait didn't neglect her desire for social impact. She created a partnership with Citizen Schools, a Boston afterschool program, to bring in outside experts who "spoke to the students on topics they wouldn't learn in the classroom, like financial literacy."
Designing a course for nonprofit leaders
Cait did not want an MBA to serve as "career changer:" "I like finance and I know I want to work with organizations doing good." Instead, she wanted a general management degree that would "give me flexibility," and chose HBS "because of the case method. I visited two to three other business schools, and the classroom experience at HBS ranked thousands of times better. The professors are really good teachers who are passionate about their students. The case method brings everybody's voice into one big conversation—you learn from all the perspectives."
In addition to participating in classes, Cait has taken leadership roles on campus. In her second year, she served as Conference Chair of the Women's Student Association conference. "I had run events before, but nothing on this scale with such a large team and so many moving parts," Cait says. "Coming up with the big picture of how the weekend should come together really stretched me."
Yet she kept stretching. With six other women, and under the guidance of MBA program chair Felix Oberholzer-Gee, Cait designed a new HBS course, Nonprofit Clinic: Tackling Inequality. "The school had a few courses on nonprofit management," explains Cait, "but few opportunities to directly connect with nonprofits." Designed for direct engagement, the class combines four weeks of traditional case study with eight weeks in which students, in teams of two or three, consult with nonprofits "whose central mission addresses some aspect of inequality." Oberholzer-Gee and Nien-he Hsieh co-taught the class in the spring of 2016, and the school plans to offer it again next year.
After graduation, Cait will return to Cambridge Associates where she will work as a generalist investment director. "My dream job," she says, "is to become the chief investment officer of my alma mater, Amherst College!"