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Charting a Unique Path

Kogod School of Business alum shares his journey from AU to founding a production company and pursuing a master's in data science, highlighting the importance of reverse road mapping and leveraging professor mentorship.

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Kogod School of Business alumnus Kyler Halat-Shafer.


When Kyler Halat-Shafer (Kogod ’17) began at Kogod, he dreamed of leading a company. Hailing from northern New Jersey, Halat-Shafer's path was far from conventional. He pursued information technology systems with a minor in mathematics. Since graduating, his journey has been thrilling, filled with travel and valuable experiences working for companies like IBM and McKinsey. While at Kogod, he interned at the Department of Energy, Deloitte, and JP Morgan, laying a solid foundation for his future. 

When asked what advice he would impart to Kogod students, he recommends doing what he did: zeroing in on your broad goal and then building a roadmap backward from there. Each time he discovers a new interest area, he defines his broad goal. Then, he figures out the necessary steps to success, holding himself accountable for reaching specific benchmarks in 6 to 12-month periods.  Halat-Shafer says what worked best for him after defining his broad goal was asking himself, “In six months to a year out, what do I want to accomplish?” Using this as a guiding question helped him fill in the steps along his roadmap to achieve his goals. 

Since graduating, Halat-Shafer’s reverse roadmapping approach has led him to success in various pursuits in finance, tech, and even filmmaking. In 2019, he founded a production company called Anamorphosis Productions, where he produced an award-winning film series on mental health. Last summer, he worked for McKinsey at the intersection of Leap (their business-building practice) and QuantumBlack (their AI arm). 

One of the key factors in Halat-Shafer's success was the mentorship he received from his professors. He strongly advises current students to use office hours and other opportunities to meet with their professors. These interactions, both within and outside of Kogod, were a cornerstone of his education, providing him with examples to emulate. The advice he received from the “wonderful minds inside of Kogod” ranged from recommended readings and podcasts to personal anecdotes from his professor’s own lives.

Getting to know professors one-on-one helps students in and outside the classroom. Your professors will better understand who you are, so they know what other information you need to push and challenge you.”

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Kyler Halat-Shafer

Information Technology Alumnus, Kogod School of Business

Halat-Shafer is pursuing his MS in Data Science at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business and Data Science. After completing his degree, he is excited to return to work at McKinsey, though he has many interests he may someday pursue. Among them are returning to school for a PhD in systems engineering or possibly even becoming a professor. He also remains interested in entrepreneurship, sparked by Professor Tom Kohn bringing him to his first investor conference and startup conference when he was an undergraduate student at Kogod.

But for now, Halat-Shafer is implementing this drive by founding a startup focused on improving public access to Medicare and Medicaid. He is also interested in climate technology, inspired by some of his good friends from Kogod who are working in this space. 

Since graduation, Halat-Shafer has remained involved with AU through a position on the Alumni Board and with Kogod, mainly through the “Reimagining Kogod” program with Professor Bill Bellows. The program's goal was to evaluate the current Kogod curriculum and recommend ways to improve it so that Kogod alums would be even more attractive to employers.

“One of the main things I was pushing for then, as I do now, is interdisciplinary work and allowing Kogod students to cross-pollinate more frequently,” he says.

His main advice through Reimagining Kogod was for students to focus on an interdisciplinary approach, which he has applied in his own life. Halat-Shafer has been excited to see Kogod’s recent push toward including AI in coursework. He believes collaboration opportunities for students from different backgrounds are especially relevant in this developing space.

Halat-Shafer is a clear example of the strength of Kogod’s alumni network and proves that the benefits and support from attending Kogod do not end at graduation but are everlasting as a positive feedback loop for continued personal and career growth.