Best career advice for a graduate

In: Job & Career Tips

26 Mar 2010

I came across this interview with Guy Kawasaki.  Questions to him:guy

Q. What’s your best career advice for somebody who’s just graduating from college?

A. Most people who graduate from college think they have to make a perfect choice. Is it Goldman Sachs? Is it Google? Is it Apple? They think that their first job is going to determine their career, if not their life.

Looking back, that’s absolutely incorrect. By definition you cannot make a mistake in your first job other than becoming a consultant or an investment banker.

Let’s say you land in a start-up, and it becomes the next Google. Now you’re 25 years old, and you’re worth $50 million. Anybody would call that a success.

But let’s say you join a start-up, and it implodes. You would learn more about leadership inside a company that crashes than you would inside the next Google.

Specifically, you will learn what not to do. You can’t make a mistake as a college graduate.

Q. Why did you carve out investment banking and consulting?

A. With investment banking, you make a lot of money, and you get a distorted feeling of how wonderful you are. You’ll be flying around in corporate jets and you’ll be attending board meetings, but you don’t really add value.

The issue with consulting is that if you go straight to work for a consultant, you develop this perspective that the hard part is the analysis and the decision. In reality, that’s not the hard part. The hard part is implementing the decision, not making it.

So the problem with consulting is you get paid $400 an hour, you do your beautiful charts, you make your PowerPoint presentation, you tell the client what they should do, and you go on to the next project. Meanwhile, you’re building up this belief that you’re a genius: you know how to analyze; you know how to make a decision; and, worst of all, you know how to implement — but all without implementing.

You can develop an absolutely incorrect perception of yourself as a great manager when, in fact, you haven’t implemented anything. You haven’t fired anybody. You haven’t introduced a product. You haven’t supported a customer. All you’ve done is make spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations.

You can also throw venture capital into this pile. Going into venture capital straight out of school is a big mistake because entrepreneurs start sucking up to you and ask you stuff you know nothing about — like how to run a company.

Jobs for college graduates should make them gain knowledge in at least one of these three areas: how to make something, how to sell something or how to support something.

See full interview here! :)

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1 Response to Best career advice for a graduate


Pedro Gonzalez

March 29th, 2010 at 04:24

Excellent. Thanks for sharing this information.


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