From Freshman to Consultant: Investing in my Employability
by Keegan Sharp
January 27, 2021
As an incoming freshman at Northeastern University, I craved an understanding of my skill level and a real-world challenge. That is exactly what I got through a consulting case project from Professor Julia Ivy. The project began simply with assigned teams and instructions to identify a company that wanted to expand globally.
The professor prompted us to find a company where the decision maker of the company was a relative or a friend. While seemingly trivial at the time, this aspect of the project proved to be the most essential in introducing our team to the professional world and providing us with consulting experience. The assignment became less of an academic case write-up and more of a trial by fire in the world of consulting. Through this gauntlet I would discover my leadership ability and problem-solving mindset.
Imagine that you’re boarding a flight to a tropical island and hear the pilot’s voice come over the intercom. Would you rather your pilot tells you how he was top of his class in flight school but had never flown a plane before or that he was in the middle of his class but had flown dozens of successful flights?
While teachers and textbooks teach you a great deal about your subject, experience prepares you for all the unexpected bumps in the road. Like a pilot having experience flying in heavy turbulence, this project gave me essential experience cooperating with teammates, communicating with a CEO living on the other side of the globe, and presenting ideas in an efficient and powerful manner. The value of experience is immeasurable.
In my opinion Jimi Hendrix is the greatest guitar player to ever live. He isn’t the fastest or the most knowledgeable but I love his style. Music, like most things in life, is very subjective. Believe it or not, so is your employability.
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While a potential employer can compare you to others based on grades and accomplishments, it is your style that differentiates you from other employees. I learned this lesson from Mr.Şinlak- the CEO of Şinlak Holding. As his passion and drive allowed him to both create a sense of magnitude among my team and receive favorable government contracts.
Furthermore, Şinlak Holding differentiated itself from its competition through its style (business model). In the same way a company differentiates itself from competitors, employees should differentiate themselves. After this experience, I found myself enhancing my style while having confidence in my differences. Understanding that my uniqueness can be wielded strategically has become a prime aspect of my employability strategy.
About the author:
Keegan Sharp is a Business Administration and Psychology major studying at Northeastern University. With a love for strategy and a chess-player’s mindset he hopes to enter the world of consulting and start his own businesses post-grad.