MBA students have the toughest choices.
I’d like to say that everything I’ve done in my MBA courses has been relevant to my career; I’ve analyzed the Disney/Marvel merger (twice), I’ve performed linear regressions (multiple times), and I’ve determined my BATNA (ever more frequently).
One thing, though, stands out as the most beneficial exercise I’ve performed to date: My Future Résumé.
In Professor Clark’s Management of Organizations and Human Capital course, we were instructed to develop a résumé which reflected how we wanted our “next five professional years” to pan out. My first reaction when I sat down to do the assignment was a little nervousness.
Before this assignment, I was still trying to find out “what I wanted to be when I grew up.” I wasn’t walking a well landscaped and properly drained path like many of my colleagues. My path was more reminiscent of pave stones forming a crooked, yet generally straight line surrounded by grass that hadn’t been mowed in a while. Couple of weeds in there too.
The path was a mess, but the destination it was leading to was a little less unkempt. Destination: I want to be a leader in business. Vague? Duh. But it was less vague than my actual career path. When I began putting together my “5 Year Résumé,” I went into it with an open mind. Whatever I decide to “concentrate” in at Kogod doesn’t necessarily determine where I go in my career. Not to mention, my career, God willing, is going to be over a fairly long period of time. The chances of me changing my mind or becoming interested in new things are rather high – especially for someone like me.
I started with what I currently think Kogod could result in. I like the numbers and analysis we performed in economics, and I also like the soft skills I’m learning in my other classes. “Maybe Private Equity or some other financial field would suit me well,” I thought. “Maybe that’s how I start my new career when I leave Kogod.” So, the early years of my 5-Year Résumé reflected some financial analysis experience.
My thought process, however, kept coming back to an operations mindset. I’m moving away from being an engineer, per se, but I’m not losing my interest in how things are made. In fact, I love the show “How It’s Made.” So, I envisioned my career turning toward something more logistical in the products industry (rather than the services industry). I suppose, though, I could always operate a service…but, that’s neither here nor there.
You can't operate this with an Xbox controller.
I decided I’d take my “newly acquired” finance background and transition into Operations Management for a manufacturing firm called Company X. They make widgets…damn good ones, too.
There I would start managing the general operations of a factory (no, I’m not a floor manager) and then progress through the ranks employing innovative thinking and strategies to cut costs and increase employee retention. I even imagined creating a “brand new” way to incentivize my workforce. It involved a company trophy. Nuff said.
At the end of five years, my Future Résumé has me working as Director of East-Coast Operations for Company X. Sounds good to me, I guess. Is this necessarily what’s going to happen? I hope not – that’d be mad boring. MAD boring. I’m fully expecting things NOT to go according to plan. But at least at this point, my path is a little more manicured, the weeds have been trimmed back, and my destination is a little more in focus.
I figure this trend will continue as I progress through the MBA program and gain new insight to the possible career options I’ll have. I recommend that everyone develop their own Future Résumé. It’s a great way to determine how to potentially reach your goals and it helps make sure your current path (if you have one) still leads to the goals you have in mind.