Most alumni, regardless of their alma mater, might agree that the person they become is vastly different from the individual they thought they would be in high school, especially when it comes to their professional career. Yet, most alumni might also agree that high school is a great starting point for figuring out what one likes and dislikes. While on the hilltop, Blair alum Aaron Rettaliata ’96 didn’t know he would become a partner at McKinsey & Company, an organization named by Forbes as one of the world’s best management consulting firms, but the interests that would blossom into that career path were there. Returning to Blair to speak with the next generation of Bucs, Mr. Rettaliata’s biggest piece of advice is to “Try lots of things, and look for ‘themes’ of what you like. Then, find ways to link together those elements you find interesting into bigger parts of your life.”
On Tuesday, February 14, Mr. Rettaliata revisited the hilltop to deliver his first Skeptics talk on his experiences at Blair, in and out of college, and current career at McKinsey & Company.
Upon graduating from Blair, Mr. Rettaliata studied at Cornell for both his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering and master’s degree in business. Today, he sits at the helm of one of the world’s most prestigious global management consulting firms, where he serves retail and consumer goods companies on merchandising, marketing and strategy.
Of his accolades, Mr. Rettaliata shares that “Good things come with a lot of hard work, and opportunities present themselves when you least expect them,” an especially important note for high schoolers, who are just now beginning to embark upon their journeys, to hear.
A northeast local from Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, Mr. Rettaliatta can’t wait to reconnect with his alma mater, especially at an event such as Skeptics, a program that he benefited from as well.
“I've always found it a great forum for an exchange of ideas and experiences. If my experience can be helpful to the students, then I’m happy to add to that,” said Mr. Rettaliata.
“It’s an exciting opportunity to speak at Skeptics. Personally, I enjoyed hearing from people with different experiences that influenced my choices. Hopefully, I can help the students think about how the choices they make early on impact their careers later, and expose them to some new career ideas/paths they may not have thought about yet.”
To watch Aaron's presentation click play below.
History of Skeptics
The Society of Skeptics was established as a forum for students and faculty to discuss and debate important global issues; it has grown to become one of the premier high school lecture series in the United States. Each week, speakers from the political, social, scientific, economic and literary arenas share their unique perspectives with students, who are encouraged to engage with presenters, asking questions and debating points of view.
The program, which is funded in part by the Class of 1968 Society of Skeptics Endowment Fund, is an outgrowth of the Blair International Society, begun in 1937. Forty years later, former history department chair Elliott Trommald, PhD, Hon. ’65, established the modern Skeptics program as a regular forum for student discussion and debate; history teacher Martin Miller, PhD, took over in the mid-1980s and molded the program into a weekly lecture series, one that has since continued without interruption. Under the tutelage of Dr. Miller and his successor, history department chair Jason Beck, Skeptics has featured a wide variety of speakers who are thought-provoking, engaging, accomplished in their respective fields and often controversial. For a listing of upcoming Skeptics programs, please visit Blair’s website.