Number of Days Until Graduation…looking ahead?
Since undergrad I had a strong interest in learning about the working dynamics of various businesses and organizations, but had no clear goal in mind. Trying to make every dollar of my education count, I made a conscious effort to take the college courses that (I thought at the time) would help me achieve my vague goal of doing something in the business world I was passionate about.
Getting into some tax trouble during my freshman and sophomore years, I took tax courses that not only helped me knock out some business degree requirements and a $12,000 tax misunderstanding, but landed me a job with a Tax Attorney. She was a wonderful mentor, but a horrible manager. I appreciated the time she invested to help me develop my career, but her ill temperament drove me away.
Shortly after, I landed a job in the hedge fund world. With accounting and tax fundamentals under my belt, I was eager and ready to learn a new set of vocabulary, Finance. With minimal work experience I was impressionable and happy to work for a firm that treated me with respect. Being a key player in finance research and high net worth asset management, my former firm was the perfect place (at the time) to learn about the fundamentals of investment strategy. Young and naïve, I thought I landed a great job that would spring board me to other opportunities within a firm I loved. Flashing forward five years later I was board and frustrated and made the mistake of “settling”. I had job security, but was learning nothing new. My pay scale continued to increase, but I had no motivation aside from earning a paycheck. Plateauing in my role, there was nowhere to move but laterally.
Finding My Destination
Getting too comfortable, I didn’t maintain my network and lost touch with contacts that I could have leveraged for job opportunities. Interview after interview, I grew frustrated with being pigeon-holed into positions that were mirror images of my job at the time. Yes, the pay was incrementally higher, but it took four interviews and three offer declines to realize, I needed to get my goal straight – which was not even a goal at all, it was a destination.
My once “vague” goal now became a mission to find my destination, my passion. I don’t want to be one of those cliché business people who set a career goal with no clue how to get there. Instead I want to outline a path that takes me to my destination. Some of us are lucky to wake up one day and know what to do for the rest of our lives, and others like me are gathering crumbs of information and hitchhiking opportunities hoping to finally arrive at their destination.
My path is still a work in progress, but I envision my current destination to be: creating or supporting business opportunities that have a positive impact on others. I want to utilize all the hard work I put into memorizing accounting and finance concepts, blend it with tax fundamentals and add legal elements to help recognize viable business opportunities or operations that make a positive impact on the lives of others.
Strategy to My Destination
Since I’m still picking up my crumbs and hitchhiking, I’m keeping an open mind. My current strategy is to find a role (or roles) that will put me in a position to evaluate businesses, operations and organizations from a macro prospective and make recommendations on a micro level that could make a positive impact. This impact could range from profitability, scalability or simply accomplishing an objective.
Learning more about the Venture Capital (VC) world, during the course of my MBA, I figured having a supporting role in Due Diligence within a VC firm might be part of my strategy, to help me reach my destination. My strategy isn’t clear cut and simple, because getting a job at a VC firm is like competing in The Apprentice (it’s tough). In addition to refining my resume, I need to build my network and harness the connections that could help me get my foot in the door, i.e. internships, people that know people who work at a VC, leveraging informational interviews to make an impression, getting connected with companies that work directly with a VC I’m interested in, etc.
Ultimately, I just want to be an indirect force that starts the chain reaction of positively impacting others. Since a chain has links, I can’t make an impact alone. If there is anything I took from this MBA program- “You need to be the change you wish to see in the world” by networking. Gandhi got it right, but technology coupled with Social Media took it to another level. Some of us, namely within our MBA cohort, want to create opportunities and others want to be a part of opportunities, I want to do both.