Alexandra Loehr has taken advantage of every opportunity to combine her sense of adventure with learning and travel.
Hailing from Seligenstadt, Germany, a city known for its basilica and historic fachwerk buildings, Loehr journeyed some 4,000 miles to the University of Missouri–St. Louis to pursue a graduate degree in business after completing an apprenticeship at Levi Strauss.
Once situated at UMSL, Loehr packed her bags yet again and took another opportunity to travel and study abroad in China. After returning to St. Louis she dug her heels into a paid eight-week summer internship at the KPMG accounting firm. As she continued work toward completing both her MBA and certificate in cybersecurity, Loehr came to the conclusion that the world is tightly connected in big and small ways.
This outlook has helped her synthesize coursework and professional experience into a career path.
“We’re more interconnected than ever because of technology,” Loehr said. “Most everyone owns a phone or a computer or a fitbit and consumes services on those devices that are part of huge global companies.”
While social platforms and practical applications made possible through the latest devices offer new levels of communication and convenience, Loehr recognizes that rapid progress has its share of potential pitfalls.
“Unfortunately, there are bad guys who also take advantage of the latest trend, and they want to steal your information,” Loehr said. “So the question is: How do you secure yourself? How do you secure a company? Answering those questions isn’t easy, and the thought of cyber threats is scary, but it’s also a good challenge for a job field. I want to be one more step ahead of the bad guys who are one step ahead.”
Witnessing Loehr’s enthusiasm and commitment to excellence firsthand, KPMG decided to hire her on full-time as an IT advisory associate once she graduates – and the accounting firm is not alone in recognizing her talents.
In the last few semesters, Loehr has made such an impact on the UMSL business community that Charlie Hoffman, dean of the College of Business Administration, and Joseph Rottman, director of the International Business Institute, gave her the opportunity to serve as a student speaker for an Auguste Chateau Society event held on Sept. 27.
Hoffman noted that Loehr possesses many qualities that help build a successful career in business.
“Alexandra is not only a hard-working, highly accomplished student enrolled in a difficult course of study, but her work in our International Business Institute is well known for thoroughness and attention to detail,” said Hoffman.
Loehr’s speech for the event focused on opportunities available at UMSL and the benefits of the support systems maintained by students, staff, faculty and alumni.
“It’s amazing how many alumni and friends of UMSL are willing to aid students. They’ve made the new Anheuser-Busch hall possible, given scholarships and study abroad opportunities, and helped create our new cybersecurity lab,” Loehr said.
Although Loehr’s path pursing education and professional development has been far-reaching and a bit winding, she offers advice to students that will work anywhere in the world.
“Always know that people are more than happy to help you,” she said. “Be proactive and try your approach, then ask informed questions if you get stuck. Be involved. When people can put a face to the name, they’ll open more and more doors for you. Use the resources you have in front of you, and stay on top of what you do. Remember, moving ahead is about balancing give and take.”