This month, Questrom School of Business welcomed Questrom alumna, traveler, and investor, Kim Edwards to participate in the ‘Retire Early Panel’ event discussing her path towards financial independence. The event, sponsored by: Women’s MBA Association, herNetwork, and myQuestrom DEI is a part of the “Questrom Women Mean Business” series. Kim earned a BS from Questrom School of Business and an MBA from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. After a 15+ year career, primarily in ecommerce, Kim achieved FIRE (financially independent, retired early) in 2017, at the age of 39.
Throughout her academic career, Kim primarily focused on numbers, which was one of her differentiators. Professionally, Kim focused on Inventory Management, which also included ownership of, or involvement with, Business Planning, Analytics, Software Design, Process Improvement, and Supply Chain. Kim held various job roles at big retail companies like Wal-Mart, Amazon, Wayfair, and Converse, gaining experience from each level she held within each company. Being conscientious about money is something Kim prides herself on, which is why, later in her career, she developed her own financial strategy.
With her early retirement, Kim defied the traditional employment trajectory for women, a representation of defying societal expectations for women in the workplace. She addressed the emotional aspect that comes with retirement, noting that her drive to be an “expert” at anything has decreased. Her emphasis on trusting your skillset and believing in your experience was a key takeaway from the discussion. As Kim’s career progressed, she developed a brand that helped her stand out in a competitive job market. In her opinion, her career kickoff came from the people who believed in her work ethic and personal brand but didn’t necessarily have to help her.
Now, Kim spends her time traveling, investing, and exploring new skills and hobbies like cooking and mentoring others. With her career, saving, and early retirement tips, Kim serves as an example to students and all professionals to follow a career path that is best for one’s individual needs. She recognizes that early retirement is not likely for everyone, but data-driven planning and goals are important for success.