Kamalani Akeo “sets” for high goals.
The Pitt Business senior (Marketing and Human Resources Management) has finished her final season as a setter for the University of Pittsburgh Women’s Volleyball team and will soon embark on a new journey to possibly become a professional athlete after graduation.
Akeo committed to Pitt before her senior year of high school.
“My coach, Dan Fisher, is one of the best in the nation,” Akeo says. “He coaches with the U.S. national team, and he had a connection to Hawaii from the beginning. It was just by luck that they ended up finding me at a club tournament.”
Akeo served as a team captain on the Pitt women’s volleyball team for three years. The team finished with a 30-2 record this past season, winning the ACC championship for the second straight year and earning the No. 14 spot in the NCAA national rankings.
While volleyball is the main reason Akeo committed to Pitt, it’s not the only reason.
“I also came to campus for the first time on my own and it’s so different from what I’m used to at home,” Akeo says. “I’ve always been looking for something different and the East Coast interested me. When I first came here I thought, ‘Wow, this is different, I kind of like it.’”
When she started at Pitt Business, Akeo planned to be an Accounting major. Soon she realized the profession wasn’t for her.
“I talked with an advisor, and they said I could always get into something else like Human Resource Management,” Akeo says. “It was a smaller major at the time, you work with people and learn how to manage them. That interested me. The management aspect was a major reason why I got into the business school to begin with. I eventually want to manage a sports team or a professional team in the office.”
After settling into her new major, Akeo began to take advantage of the opportunities at Pitt Business. It led her to believe that the school—which is ranked the No. 11 public business school by Poets & Quants—is top of the line.
“Every year for the past four semesters, we have been partnering with big organizations such as BNY Mellon, PNC or the Pittsburgh Pirates and we get to work with them,” Akeo says. “They are located in Pittsburgh, but that is not where their reach ends. Getting connections that way and getting put into those professional settings is unbelievable.”
Akeo also learned leadership lessons that apply to the business world on the volleyball court, as the team captain and an unquestioned leader.
“The bigger part of being a team captain is being vocal at practices and team meetings,” Akeo says. “At the end of practice, we will always do a recap. A team captain also plans practices in the off-season (summer and spring). Going into planning practices is really important. Also being the first line in communication with the coaches. It only makes sense that I stepped up and took on that role in volleyball because I know it will transfer into my professional career.”
So what is next for Akeo? She is currently training and preparing to possibly play professionally for a European volleyball league. While she does not know yet which team she will play for, she does know it will be an experience of a lifetime. Not unlike her journey from Hawaii to Pittsburgh.
“I’m open going anywhere,” Akeo says. “I am going there for the experience, and being able to live somewhere else and to experience a different life.”
After she graduates from Pitt Business, her legacy will live on. Her younger sister, Lexis, will be attending Pitt in fall 2019, and, you guessed it, will be playing on the women’s volleyball team.
Pitt Business is a supportive environment for all types of student-athletes at the University of Pittsburgh. Our students have played key roles in the success of the different men’s and women’s teams at the university. Our a dedicated team of advisors and faculty ensure they also have success as a student in going From the Classroom, To the City, To the World.