A high level of involvement at Miami may be the one trait all Miami honors alumni have in common. And Tracey Niederhelman is no exception. While pursuing degrees in Finance and Decision Science, she was the president of Delta Sigma Pi, a business fraternity; involved in her sorority, Zeta Tau Alpha; acted as an undergraduate assistant for Finance 301; helped her peers by tutoring; and successfully pursued an internship (and later a job) with Huron Consulting Group.
A 2008 graduate, Tracey is the daughter of Mark and Charlene Niederhelman, both graduates of Miami (’77 and ’78, respectively), and the sister of Eric, also a Miami graduate (‘11). Since she graduated, she has continued to work for Huron, a management consulting group headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. As a consultant, Tracey helps Huron’s client hospitals improve their revenue cycle functions. She describes this as working to speed up the revenue process by making the process and time from patient discharge to when payment is collected as efficient, quick, and accurate as possible. Consulting is a role she sought out when she was a student, since she was not quite sure what she wanted to do in the business world. She knew consulting would offer her the chance to work with a variety of clients and organizations to find what really interested her.
Tracey explains that her current role challenges her in ways that are not just business-focused. While her degree was great preparation for what she does, it’s the soft skills – leadership, working effectively with others, and time management – she developed while juggling her many activities at Miami that have really helped her excel.
When she left Miami – a place where organizations are abundant and ever-present – she encountered an unexpected challenge. It seemed strange to her to not have people coming up, offering her opportunities to get involved. Tracey admits that traveling every week to different clients did not help, but she considers it a good learning experience: “You have to seek [these opportunities] out in the ‘real world’—they’re not just handed out at the Hub any longer.”
With time, Tracey was able to pursue opportunities that were important to her like supporting deserving organizations. “When I was 18,” she reflects, “I’d have said that I wanted to make a lot of money coming out of college. I would’ve said I care most about getting a good job.” But her experience working with one non-profit organization, the Yerwood Center in Stamford, Connecticut (where she lives), has changed her perspective on how she spends her time. “Now, I’m most interested in a job that means something to me. I can work eighty hours a week, but it needs to be interesting and meaningful for me.”
The Yerwood Center is a “community resource center providing educational and personal development opportunities to Stamford’s diverse community” ( www.yerwoodcenter.com ). Tracey helps the organization’s staff – who, she says, are “strapped for time and resources” – by consulting for the organization. She helps them collect and analyze data on the benefits of the Center, and then shape that into strong presentations with tangible and valuable goals to attract potential donors’ investments.
Tracey enjoys working with the organization because she knows how much her knowledge benefits them and because it offers a new challenge. She describes it as “almost like working for another client,” but one where she develops some of her own ideas on how to help the Center.
Tracey’s future plans remain open. Within the next five years, she would like to begin pursuing her MBA. She thinks she’ll focus in either non-profits or healthcare—two sectors she finds unique and interesting. Within 10 years, she would like to start a family of her own (future Miamians, we hope!). And she’s sure she will continue to pursue opportunities that she can pursue with passion and that help others.