Erin du Carme ’08 M’09 knew that Robert Morris University was the right choice for her. She had the opportunity to study abroad, and the integrated BSBA/MBA degree program would allow her to receive her bachelor’s in business administration and MBA in just five years. For her sister, Sarah Robb ’13 M’14, it was the small class size, beautiful campus, and respected engineering program that helped her to make her decision.
“I think it says a lot about RMU that we have both excelled while pursuing quite different degrees. RMU started out as an accounting and business school and its engineering school has grown and become more reputable over the past few years,” said Robb. “In either case, RMU provided us with the tools and resources that we needed so that we could succeed in our own way.”
During her time at RMU, Du Carme took advanced level communication classes which specifically prepared her for her current position as financial analyst with Alcoa, the third largest aluminum producer in the world. In her audit role, she had to present audit results and recommendations to large audiences. Her results were read by the CEO and chief financial officer. “So, as you can imagine, strong written communication was a needed skill-set,” she said.
Du Carme was involved in numerous student engagement activities that have proven to be beneficial to her career: the student chapter of the Association of Future Accountants and the American Marketing Association. These groups provide various majors with the chance to learn more about their industry and start building a network of contacts. She was also an Early Success Program mentor/counselor at RMU for two years, a member of Alpha Chi National College Honors Society, and the International Honors Program, which is now part of the University Honors Program.
Du Carme spent a semester studying in Rome and she credits this experience with sparking her desire to travel, a major part of her current position with Alcoa.
“Studying abroad was one of the best experiences I have ever had. It helped shape my desire to learn and accept different cultures, as well as my love for travel. In my role as an internal auditor at Alcoa, I traveled extensively. If I had not studied in Italy, I don’t know if I would have had sought out future opportunities to travel to Europe, South America, Russia, etc. for business, oftentimes solo. Each of these experiences helped me grow, not only as a cultured business professional, but as a person.”
Alcoa offered du Carme a full-time job before she had completed the integrated bachelor’s/master’s program. Her primary responsibilities as a financial analyst include providing reporting, analytics and presentation support for the executive vice president, as well as planning/forecasting, spend control, compliance, and other finance-related activities.
“RMU was an integral part of connecting me with the right tools, people, and opportunities to position me for my success,” said Erin.
Sarah Robb followed in her sister’s path by choosing RMU. The integrated master’s program for engineering and the honors program were both selling points, as were the opportunity to study abroad and the engineering program requirement that she complete an internship before graduating.
“I believe it is so important to have some practical experience in the field – and, if possible, immersed in different cultures – before graduating,” said Robb.
Robb earned her bachelor’s degree in engineering, with concentrations in both biomedical and mechanical engineering. Robb went on to become the founding member of the RMU chapter of the Biomedical Engineering Society and Engineering World Health, and was a member of the Society of Women Engineers. Her master’s degree is in engineering management.
For Robb, the Public Speaking and Business Communication courses strengthened her internships and graduate school applications by teaching her about writing cover letters, personal statements, and research proposals and papers. Robb is now working toward a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. “In any biomedical engineering Ph.D. program, research publications are of the utmost importance,” she stated.
Like her sister, Robb had the opportunity to study abroad, traveling to the University of Limerick in Ireland.
“This semester abroad really sparked my love for traveling. It was a very rewarding experience to talk to people and learn about different cultures, perspectives, backgrounds,” said Robb.
A year later, Robb traveled to Nicaragua with the RMU’s nursing program, organized by University Professor of Nursing Carl Ross. The students provide health care to poor residents of the barrios of Managua. Robb wanted to study the problems faced by those families from the perspective of an engineering student rather than a nurse, and she developed simple health kits nursing students could distribute in Nicaragua each trip.
“The faculty at RMU was supportive, inspirational, encouraging, helpful, patient, kind, and so much more,” said Robb.