Graduation date: 2015
Areas of study while enrolled at OU: Business Administration – Focus in MIS, Management & Strategic Leadership
Current professional role: Business Leadership Program Associate at LinkedIn
How has your academic or extracurricular experience impacted your career path?
My extracurricular involvement at Ohio University has impacted my career in immeasurable ways. My involvement with student organizations like Delta Sigma Pi and Select Leaders helped me to develop deep interpersonal skills like public speaking, leading a group, and understanding how to be an effective communicator. These skills in turn have helped me to compete with some of my colleagues in my current role, many of whom are from Ivy League or top-tier schools across the country.
My involvement also gave me confidence in who I am as a professional and confidence in what I’m capable of. I don’t think I would have moved to San Francisco if I hadn’t been so comfortable with putting myself in uncomfortable places and that move has afforded me some of the best learning I’ve ever experienced.
Ultimately I wouldn’t be where I am today if not for my student organizations and the College of Business.
What, if anything, has surprised you about the direction your career path has taken?
I can distinctly remember telling myself that I would never do cold-calls and that I would never do sales. Funny enough, that’s exactly what I was doing in my first job out of school, and what I’ll be doing at the end of this year with LinkedIn.
While these experiences weren’t what I expected, they’ve given me tremendous learning opportunities. Although I don’t envision myself in a sales role long-term, I understand the importance of a sales skillset and because I’d like to work for myself eventually, learning to sell is absolutely paramount.
What was the biggest challenge you faced during the job-search process and how did you overcome that?
My biggest challenge was that all of the companies I wanted to work for weren’t coming to campus or didn’t know about Ohio University. This presented the challenge of first getting in touch with people at these companies and then educating them about what OU had to offer.
While I was job-searching, I utilized my network and OU alumni to make meaningful connections with employees of these organizations, mostly through informational interviews. After I was able to tell my story and help them to understand what made Athens so special, many times they offered to refer me to open positions, which is exactly how I ended up at LinkedIn.
What is your favorite thing about post-grad life?
There’s a huge sense of freedom that comes from being completely independent, financially, socially, physically. Athens is a great place to be, but you tend to be more tied down in college than you actually realize. I love the fact that I can now decide to take a weekend trip to New York or Chicago to see friends, and fund the entire trip relatively easily.
Oh and no homework. That part’s pretty rad.
If you could go back and tell your college-self one thing, what would it be?
Don’t stress so much. I know it seems like you have to have everything figured out in college, but that can cause a lot of unnecessary anxiety. Trust in your own competence, have fun, and you’ll be just fine.