Undergraduate Blog / Career Development

Follow your own path for career success

Fortune magazine has recently interviewed several top female executives about how they achieved success in the workplace. What is their advice for the millennial generation? The common thread is that taking risks and embracing failure led them to successful careers.

Cathy Engelbert, who was recently named the new CEO of Deloitte, LLP and is the first female CEO of a “Big Four” accounting firm, was asked what the best advice was that she received at the beginning of her career. Her response was to be in action, “take risks and take on new responsibilities.”   She said that to be a successful leader, you need to build diverse capabilities and experiences.

Trish Lukasik, SVP of Sales at PepsiCo, advice is to be bold early in your career, take risks and fail since greater learning comes from making mistakes. She also said that your first few positions after graduation, even if they are not the most glamorous, offer you the greatest learning and create a foundation that can influence the rest of your career.   Even if the job doesn’t follow your ‘5-year plan’, take it because it may lead you down an entirely different path that you love. If you don’t, you still take away useful knowledge. Finally, a linear path to success doesn’t exist so follow your unique passions and dreams to create your own path.

When I meet with students in CCD, I often hear that they are scared about choosing the wrong internship or job. As these 2 industry leaders highlight, you can learn from each opportunity, the risks you take and failures you encounter. You can’t go wrong if you are being true to yourself and your values along your career path. If you need help defining your values, schedule an appointment with a Career Adviser, who can help you through the exploration process and onto your path to success.