Undergraduate Blog / Career Development

Company Cultures — Finding Your Happy Place

This post was written by Jerry Baker ’16, CCD Peer Career Ambassador

Babson’s Undergraduate Center for Career Development stresses the need for students to find their fit.  Looking around the office, posters remind students to “find your happy place.” However, this doesn’t always seem possible.  From the media, we’d believe that the only fun jobs in the world are those at the tech giants – but that just isn’t true!  There are plenty of companies with equally as great or even better company cultures.  I had the unique opportunity to experience this first hand over the past few summers.

Located in the heart of Detroit, Quicken Loans is the nation’s largest online mortgage lender and the second largest mortgage lender.  Led by Dan Gilbert, Quicken Loans has developed a culture that rivals, and in many cases surpasses, the cultures of the tech giants.  Walking through the halls, most would think that the culture is developed through the abundance of free food, scooters, fun activities, and gorgeous work spaces.  Though true, the real difference between Quicken Loans and other companies is the focus on the development of the employee.  One part of the extensive orientation program is an entire day spent with founder Dan Gilbert and CEO Bill Emerson going through a list of life lessons.  Over the years of growing the company, Dan Gilbert amassed a list of short lessons, isms, that are the guiding principles of both his life and his business.  He shares this list with new employees not only to build better employees but to provide people with the tools necessary to better themselves.  It is the amazing commitment that Quicken Loans makes to its employees to always be there to help and guide them that helps create the one-of-a-kind culture.   This amazing list of life lessons can be found here.

As much as I loved my time at Quicken Loans, it isn’t fair to say that they are the only company with an amazing corporate culture.  On a smaller level, I had a very similar experience when touring Christian Book Distributors in Peabody, MA as a part of the OEM program at Babson.  There, we had the opportunity to tour the facility, meet with employees and even speak with the owner.  At Christian Book Distributors, there is a similar desire by the company to better the employees.  Their culture is achieved through various programs such as Ping-Pong competitions and picnics.  But it is also achieved through committing to their team by promoting and hiring from within the company.

Though there are countless more examples of companies that have amazing corporate cultures, it is important to remember that a fun work space is not the same as a fun workplace.  Fun work spaces may be beautiful to look at, but they do not necessarily mean that you’ll love your job.  As seen above, finding a company that is willing to invest in the futures of its employees is one of the biggest aspects of finding a job that you’ll love.  Don’t be hesitant to ask potential employers about their company culture and about their mentoring programs.  Find your happy place!