Kelly Phelps

5 Pages Posted: 23 Jun 2009

See all articles by Connie English

Connie English

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business


How does an MBA graduate re-enter the workforce after a 13-year hiatus as a “stay-at-home mom”? In this case, an MBA graduate anticipates résumé and interview challenges. Her past work experience included a stint as Chemical Bank's vice president of banking and corporate finance, where she was known for working long hours brokering major deals. But it had been a while. Eager to return to the working world in a meaningful capacity, she considers her options. A draft résumé is included to assist the discussion.



March 30, 2009


It had been 13 years since Kelly Phelps left her successful investment banking job. Her sons were about to leave for boarding school, and she knew it was time to go back to work. She had enjoyed working with different people throughout her life, and knew her ability to manage relationships was one of her major strengths. Finding the right position and getting hired was the big hurdle in front of her.

Phelps went to work for Chemical Bank after graduating from the Darden School of Business in 1982. She worked the typical long and intense hours of an investment banker on Wall Street. She developed her technical expertise, completing countless highly-leveraged deals and executing multibank credit agreements. Where Phelps stood out at Chemical Bank was in her ability to work with different people and make things happen. She built relationships with clients and other banks and was great at bringing all the pieces of a deal together. In her largest lead role, she brought 34 banks together to complete a deal. Because of that skill, she was promoted to vice president of Banking and Corporate Finance, and was one of the bank's top fee-generators.

Seven years into her high-flying career, Phelps started a family—giving birth to two boys in two years. Phelps recalls that coming home at 11:00 p.m. to two babies who wanted to be fed “was just too crazy.” She wanted to resign from the bank but was persuaded to stay on in a four-day-per-week administrative role. Pride was a significant factor in her agreeing to try that arrangement for a year, but Phelps found she would rather stay home than work in the accommodating role. It did not make sense to continue at the bank. She considered herself lucky to have the option to stay home with her children and saw leaving work as a great opportunity to move out of the Big Apple to raise her boys in suburban Connecticut. So, in 1992, she began her tenure as “stay-at-home mom.”

. . .

Keywords: re-entering, hiatus, career transition, on-ramp, back to work, second career, work-life, résumé

Suggested Citation

English, Connie, Kelly Phelps. Darden Case No. UVA-PACS-0100, Available at SSRN:

Connie English (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

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