“Be open to exploring the interests you discover at MSOE—even if it’s a deviation from your plan.” Sound advice from alumna Mechelle King ’04 whose time on campus not only helped prepare her for jobs in marketing, but also gave her the skills and confidence to pivot into an entirely new career.

The Kenosha native moved to Milwaukee in 2000 and enrolled at MSOE as a business and computer systems major. “It was the only school I wanted to attend.”  By senior year, she secured her first professional role after her marketing internship evolved into a full-time job with the accounting firm she had been working for. “It was a lot to juggle both a job and a full course load that final year, but I didn’t want to miss my opportunity to work for this company,” she said.

King spent the next decade working in various marketing roles, but it wasn’t until her mid-thirties when she realized she was not just looking for a job change, but a career change.

She moved to the east coast and enrolled in law school at William & Mary Law School in Virginia to pursue her dreams of working on social issues. “When I decided to go to law school, my goal was to become a lawyer who works on issues related to poverty,” she said.  During law school she spent one summer in Cape Town, South Africa to work at a legal aid organization. Her work focused on helping refugees and asylum seekers gain legal status in South Africa.

Today she is living out her dreams working as an attorney for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in Washington, D.C. “In my role I get to lead investigations into potential misconduct by companies that provide financial products and services,” said King. 

Outside of her role at the bureau, King works on landlord-tenant and housing issues while serving as a pro bono attorney with the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center.  King also serves as deputy director of William & Mary Law School’s Center for Comparative Legal Students and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding where she helps organize symposiums that highlight issues like the future of Afghanistan following the United States’ departure from the country in 2021.

“My life’s mission has always been to help remedy the issues that arise for those experiencing poverty. In my career I’m working to accomplish that by discouraging predatory conduct by large corporations, the impacts of which fall disproportionately on people who experience poverty. In my volunteerism I’m addressing the pressing concerns that will hopefully make someone’s daily life a bit easier.”

King says this work wouldn’t have been possible had she not attended MSOE, which gave her the foundation and motivation to be successful.

“I’m so fortunate to have gone to MSOE. There were so many professors, friends and residence life staff who cared for me while I was a student. Their support enabled me to develop into the person I am today.”