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As a business person, if you could give one piece of advice to your former self, what would it be?

I created a Business Club at my school, and I wanted to ask a few questions. #business

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Subject: Career question for you

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Jim’s Answer

My advice to myself would be to get the education up front. I'm a general manager in the restaurant field, and am responsible for the business management, but it's been hard sometimes with a lot of trial and error. If I had gotten my degree upfront, things would have probably gone easier, and it likely would have accelerated my career.
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Jeffrey’s Answer

Hi Kaitlyn,

Have a sober talk with yourself about who you are and what type of business environment would make you happy and give you a sense of accomplishment and perhaps align with particular values you have. For example, do you want to work in a small company where people know each other, or in a fast-pace corporation where you meeting a lot of new people? What type of industry are you best suited for: technology, education, finance? And do you want to sell, design new products, cultivate human talent, work with data and spreadsheets. Try to be honest with yourself. You will be spending a lot of your waking hours at work.
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Jennifer’s Answer

I would definitely tell myself to work on my confidence. The business world can sometimes be cutthroat so walking in being sure of yourself is a huge plus!
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Yueming’s Answer

- Don't worry too much about the future and don't put too much pressure on yourself to make the 'right' decision. Do what feels right and don't overthink it!
- It's important to have a north star, but be flexible and open to exploring the many different paths that can lead to success.
- Index on getting exposure to different experiences before focusing on specialized skills. Think broad.
- Be curious and don't be afraid to reach out to people and ask them questions.
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Simeon’s Answer

I would tell my past self to maintain more of my connections from undergrad. There is a lot to be said for networking. I think I also would have gotten a certification or two, maybe in computer coding. You don't want to pigeon hole yourself by only being able to be hired for one type of job. More options means you're more likely to encounter great work opportunities when they pop up.
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Jonah’s Answer

I would have said to go to college right out of high school or to do college while in the field you want to study. I have been successful in my career, but without having my degree complete many organizations will pick the other candidate with a degree if experience is similar.
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Sarah’s Answer

Hi Kaitlyn. My advice is to spend time getting to know yourself throughout your career and then be true to who you are. Be willing to try new things and figure out what you like and dislike along the way. Ultimately most of us spend a large percentage of our time working and you should make sure you do something you enjoy. I'd also add to try and avoid the temptation to compare yourself to peers. Focus on yourself and making your own progress. There are no "right" paths.
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Jennifer’s Answer

Hi Kaitlyn, my advice to my former self would have been to go to college right after high school to earn my Bachelor's. Another piece of advice would be to take advantage of employer opportunities to further my education and/or certifications. I finished my Master's degree through Verizon and am very grateful to have done so with no student debt. Never stop learning or growing in your field. There are constant changes and improvements being made in any field and being able to stay current is very attractive to employers.
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Parimal’s Answer

Look at the long-term gain and never lose focus on short-term failures. It takes some time before you start seeing profit in any new business venture.
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Suleyman’s Answer

Allow yourself to make mistakes. Learn from them. Make it better.

If you avoid doing thing or taking opportunities just because you are afraid that you will fail, you will miss the best opportunities to learn and get better.

The other thing would be: do not try to do everything on your own. And do not try to invent what is already there. Use other people’s knowledge and delegate anything you can.
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Michelle’s Answer

Hi Kaitlyn,

My advice to my former self would be to not be so hard on myself. My father was diagnosed with cancer when I was in high school and the series of issues that ensued made my early college years very challenging. Instead of taking a real break to focus on family, I kept trying to force myself to focus on my studies and it didn't go well. It ended up taking me nearly 10 years to finish my Bachelor's, yet today I am leading the Divisional Sales efforts for a major Wealth Management firm and am 16 years into a very successful career in that field. Had I given myself the space to step away from school initially, I likely could have gone back and finished sooner and perhaps be even further along in my career than I am today.

Now hopefully neither you, nor anyone in your club, will have a series family illness to deal with, but challenges always arise. The point is that your ultimate success won't be determined by whether it took you 4 years to finish your degree or 6 because you had other priorities, opportunities, etc. that made your education somewhat nonlinear. I wish I had known that when I was 18...

Best of luck!
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Tamathia’s Answer

Networking really works and pays off. Continue to network and build personal relationships. Learn as much as you can by networking. You can never have enough mentors.
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Orain’s Answer

Hello kaitlyn,

I hope all is well.

One advice to my former self is to minor in Computer Science in college. This is because it would have been a great complementary to my accounting degree.

Thanks

O.M
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Michelle’s Answer

Get comfortable with not knowing the answer. Learn how to make decisions with incomplete information and take calculated risks. Culture eats strategy for breakfast (i.e., you can have the best plan, but if you can't get people on board with that plan it will fail). Say "and" instead of "but," (as in "I see where you got that number, AND I want to test a few assumptions"). Diverse teams make better decisions. You may not love all the people you work with, but you need to empathize and do your best by them. If the data is good, you need a REALLY good reason not to follow it. Recognize when it's time to fire a client. Find opportunity in the crisis. Don't let the chase for quarterly gains undermine the long-term strategy. A kind leader is a strong leader. Your instinct is both your greatest asset and your most dangerous enemy. Take care of yourself and the people you love.

(I couldn't pick just one--hope that gets some ideas flowing!)
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Ryan’s Answer

My advice to myself would have been to focus and eliminate multi-tasking. My younger self was always in a rush to do everything at once and I would become spread so thin that I would end up floundering across the board. Focus is a great quality that I still work on.

Secondly, I would add in not being afraid to fail. You learn a lot more from failure and adversity. Be open to trying new things and get comfortable with coming up short. Learn and grow from it, and get back after it.

Best of luck!

Ryan
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Dhimant’s Answer

Go ahead and venture into starting a new business. Even if it doesn't succeed, you won't lose anything. Instead, it will serve as a valuable lesson, paving the way for success in your next business endeavor.
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DAve’s Answer

Begin gaining experience in managing a business. You can start on a small scale - consider buying and selling items on eBay. This will help you get familiar with reviewing profit and loss statements and understanding financial accounts.
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