Crafting a Story Through Your Experiences – 8th Annual AMBA Conference
By Elvis Ge, MBA’17 & Graduate Affinity Conference Scholar
Imagine sitting on your 6-hour flight from Boston to San Francisco. You arrived a bit early and so easily find your seat by the window. You look out, you think about what the first restaurant you plan to hit when you arrive, and then you take out that travel magazine. Only 15 minutes left before takeoff. Every passenger takes their seats and buckles in. An hour in, the seatbelt sign turns off and you decide to get up. As you get up, you feel like you recognize the person sitting next to you, but can’t quite place who it is. You soon realize she was the CEO in the magazine for an up and coming startup in San Francisco. What are the chances?! How do you go about striking a conversation? What do you talk about? For 5 hours?!!! What’s your story?
What’s your story? That was the underlying message from the 8th Annual AMBA Conference, which Babson College’s Affinity Conference Scholarship gave me the opportunity to attend. From the CEO of 16 Handles, Solomon Choi, to Jesus Diaz from Dropbox and Rak-Joon Choi of the Weather Company (IBM) and many others, each were able to craft a story from their experiences that lead to where they are today. Although not all of us know what career path we want to have early on, we should at least have a takeaway from each internship, class, or experience. As you keep track of these takeaways, a story may start to emerge and help you understand where you want to go forward.
What if I can’t think of a takeaway or make progress? Then it comes down to why you are doing it in the first place. Not all bad situations are a waste of time. Challenge yourself. Recently after the conference, I went back to my internship and asked to be able to develop and work on projects that aligned with my career goals. They were open to the idea and now I found a fit for this imperfect puzzle piece on this journey I am on. There are opportunities everywhere. The speakers mentioned that new roles are constantly being created that never existed before such as Strategy for Diversity and Head of Global Consciousness. As companies expand in their functions and global reach, there is no one story that solves the company’s needs.
Moving forward, I realized we are in charge of our career outcomes. There may be challenges along the way. One speaker mentioned watching American football for a few months straight so that he had something to contribute during Monday morning’s chitchat. However, those few months of input kept him in the radar of his coworkers and managers; ultimately leading them to notice all the hard work and effort he put in his work and building long-lasting relationships. Make a list of what you’re good at, what you like doing, and what you want to do and try to find some intersections. Build on your strengths and acquire the skills needed one at a time. Once you’re on the path, opportunities will start to come into view. And maybe now you will have a story for why you are going to San Francisco and a story to talk about with the CEO next to you.