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How Keegan Dolan’s PLU mentor helped him land a dream internship in Boston

How Keegan Dolan’s PLU mentor helped him land a dream internship in Boston

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Keegan Dolan in Downtown Boston outside the headquarters of the Analysis Group (photo by Derek Palmer)

Image: Keegan Dolan in Downtown Boston outside the headquarters of the Analysis Group (photo by Derek Palmer)

July 22, 2021
By Lisa Patterson
PLU Marketing and Communications Guest Writer

Hard work pays off. Networking is key. Relationships are everything.

 While this advice might sound cliché, people give it often, and for good reason. Just ask Pacific Lutheran University’s Keegan Dolan ’22.

 Dolan, a double major in philosophy and economics, is in the midst of a prestigious summer internship at the Analysis Group’s headquarters in Boston, Massachusetts. 

 A leading economic consulting firm with offices around the world, Analysis Group’s internship positions are highly coveted and the application process is highly competitive. One thing that helped Dolan stand out from the crowd was his connection with a PLU mentor, Bruce Deal ’87.

 “Mentoring is one of the most interesting and fun ways to engage as alums,” Deal said, adding that the program is a great way to open doors for students and champion for PLU. “I encourage others to do it and connect.”

 Deal serves on the PLU Board of Regents. He graduated from PLU with a double major in economics and global studies in 1987 and went on to earn a graduate degree at Harvard University. Today, he is a managing principal at Analysis Group’s office in Menlo Park, California. Through the mentorship, he not only encouraged Dolan to apply for an internship, but he also made some calls letting people in the organization know that Dolan would be a good fit.

 “After applying and going through multiple stages of interviews, I was fortunate enough to receive an offer,” Dolan said.

 The role of interns at AG typically involves doing data analysis. However, Dolan had a different experience.

 “While I’m restrained from disclosing any specifics about the projects I’ve worked on, what I can tell you is that I’ve primarily been doing qualitative work – so lots of reading and writing,” Dolan explained. “While my experience is slightly unusual for an intern, I think it demonstrates the variety of work that is done at AG; there’s a lot of technical, quantitative work that must be completed, but if you’re more inclined to do qualitative work, then there are many opportunities for you to do that, as well.”

 Last fall, Dolan attended a virtual seminar hosted by the Economics Department, where several PLU alumni spoke about economics and how their work overlaps with the healthcare industry. Deal was part of that panel.

“What he described sounded very interesting to me,” Dolan said. “I knew that our economics department had a mentorship program, wherein undergraduate economics students are paired with PLU alumni, who then provide career guidance to their respective undergraduate mentees.

The Economics Mentorship Program is a partnership between the Economics Department and Alumni & Student Connections designed to connect current students with econ graduates working in their field.

“So, not long after the seminar, I reached out to Karen Travis, the chair of the department, and asked if Bruce would be willing to be my mentor,” Dolan said. “A few days later, I was extremely excited to hear he would.”

 The two built a strong connection, meeting often via Zoom throughout the pandemic.

 “Bruce has been a fantastic mentor to me. He’s provided me with excellent career and life advice, and he’s also instilled in me the confidence to succeed at whatever I do.”

 Dolan said his PLU classroom experiences have helped him in his internship, too.

 “Many of the basic concepts that we learn in our undergraduate economics classes are used in the work that we do at Analysis Group. In many ways, my experience at AG has bridged the gap between theory and practice; we consistently apply economic concepts to real-world problems,” Dolan said.

 His philosophy courses also have come into play.

 “All the reading and writing that I’ve done in my philosophy courses have been very helpful with the qualitative work that I’ve been assigned; the ability to craft an argument, as well as the ability to respond to possible objections to your position, have certainly served me well.”

So what’s next for this PLU soccer and Ultimate Frisbee player who’s also debated in two Ethics Bowls? Dolan will be taking advantage of the university’s PLUS Year program, spending a fifth year soaking in life at PLU and hopefully study abroad at Oxford.

 He’s unsure what is to come after that. Maybe law school, or a career in academia.

 “I also really enjoy the consulting work that I’ve done over the course of this internship,” Dolan says. “At the end of the day, I’d like to do something that is intellectually stimulating and challenging, but that I also find to be very meaningful.”

 He will likely be talking about all that and more with his mentor. He encourages his fellow PLU students to seek out mentors of their own.  

 “It may seem slightly intimidating at first, but it’s well worth it. You’ll get to connect with an alum who is not only smart and experienced and interested in the same things that you are, but who is also very devoted to your success and well-being,” Dolan said.

Deal hopes more alumni will make themselves available and that the university’s mentoring programs grow — opening more doors for students like Dolan who deserve a shot.

 “Your cost to mentor is a time investment, and it comes with high reward,” Deal said.