Catherine Honohan ’11 CE, ’15 MBA

Assistant Vice President, Merrill Lynch


Catherine Honohan ’11 CE, ’15 MBA
Catherine Honohan ’11 CE, ’15 MBA

Q: What was your career path after graduation?

A: My major was Civil Engineering with an emphasis on Structural Engineering.  I interned with an environmental engineering firm in college and had the opportunity to work onsite at a wastewater treatment plant. While there, I was much more interested in the construction going on than testing the filtered water. Upon graduation I joined Skanska, a heavy civil construction company where I completed a two-year rotation program. The rotations included the roles of cost engineer, superintendent, field engineer, safety engineer, estimator and an internal business development role.

Q: What are you doing now?

A: Currently, I work in Business Technology at Merrill Lynch. I decided to transition out of engineering after going back to Villanova for my MBA. My engineering degree was a solid foundation for a career in business. It taught me how to think critically and problem solve. 

Catherine Honohan, Business Technology, Merrill Lynch
Catherine Honohan, Business Technology, Merrill Lynch

Q: What has been the highlight of your career to date?

A: The highlight of my career has been working on the Second Avenue Subway in NYC.  I worked on the project as a field engineer while the cavern was being blasted and I got to push the plunger (ignite the charge for the explosives) to blast part of the cavern.

Q: How did your Villanova education contribute to your success?

A: The education I received at Villanova prepared me to be knowledgeable enough to begin a career in construction, but also how to learn on the job, stay adaptable and excel in any given situation.  I went to Honduras on two break trips with Villanova faculty where we worked with an orphanage that was expanding its facilities. While there we had to adjust our plans for the weather, the tools and materials that were available and what was going on at the orphanage that day. It taught me a lot about working in a real-life situation.

Q:  What do you know now that you wish you knew then (as a college student or new graduate)?

A: Err on the side of professional. It never looks bad to be overdressed or over prepared.

Q: What one piece of advice would you give to the next generation of female engineers?

A: Go for every opportunity.  There were plenty of times I thought I didn't have time to volunteer for something, or that I wasn't qualified to apply for something, but I always said yes and put myself out there. Don't hold yourself back. Keep doing this at all levels of your career.