16 May 2018

The importance of finding your own lane

It’s second year. You’re a penultimate year student in a Bachelor of Commerce program hoping to score an internship with the hope of gaining some sort of graduate role.

Or… like me, a second year student in a Bachelor of Commerce (Liberal Studies/Advanced Studies) program who is keen on getting early industry experience.

Whilst I knew that early experience would be ideal for my career progression, I was not sure where to begin. Whether it would be spending countless hours admiring marvellous LinkedIn profiles of peers or listening intently to alumni experience working in the big corporate firms (i.e. Deloitte, McKinsey & Co., BCG, PwC, etc.) I was still lost …

I was beyond amazed by these peers, graduates and alumni. I had the dream of emulating these individuals. That perhaps one day I could just be like them. I thought to myself perhaps that’s what I would like to do. Even worse… I thought maybe that’s what I SHOULD do. And that is where I was wrong.

Having spent the recent holidays profoundly contemplating what I truly wanted with my life, I concluded that I had to be myself. From that day on, I wake up to each morning with one thought in mind.

Be yourself; because if you are not, no one else will.

Honestly think about it, if you were stripped away of all your tangible assets and possessions - what are you really left with?

As Peter Drucker iconically comments: “Success in the knowledge economy comes to those who know themselves - their strengths, their values, and how they best perform.”

And so after coming to this stark realisation, I put aside the desire of having a sense of security by working at a big corporate firm and instead joined a start-up business, PUSHAS.

It was a pivotal move. At the time, I was sceptical. Would this look good on my LinkedIn? Can I benefit from this? However, in retrospect, it is a move I do not regret at all. A move that has really transformed me as an individual.

Despite being an intern, the practical experience I have gained has been nothing short of amazing. I am blessed with such an enormous amount of responsibility and initiative in starting my own campaigns and projects. And the best thing about it all is that whilst everyday has its own challenge, there is always room for learning and development.

Whether it be initiating partnerships, blogging to increase SEO value, building community through content or contributing towards business development; the most fulfilling thing is to see the fruits of your labour.

So what now? Whilst I am still interning here for the next few months, I will be undertaking USYD's Industry Placement Program to gain some corporate experience. Yes, I might be unsure of what it might entail, but I guess I’m making the most of the opportunities there for me.

I hope the corporate environment challenges me to develop my critical thinking and problem-solving skills. I am really keen on getting to work with professionals who have been in the industry for so long and have an abundance of valuable knowledge AND wisdom. I think being young and getting the opportunity to work with experienced marketers will be so beneficial in terms of establishing a mentoring relationship. Also, being a marketing student, I am keen to gain insight into how big companies conduct their marketing campaigns and hopefully I can take these insights back into the start-up environment.

As a final remark, whilst I may still be young, there are two things I want to share:

  • Don’t live a life where you’re comparing yourself to others. Life is never a competition. The only competition is you - to be a better you tomorrow than you were today.
  • Never be afraid to go out of your comfort zone. To test things you are unsure of. Don’t hinder yourself by living or conforming to a life of security. As cliché as it sounds, you only live once so it’s important to make that lone opportunity count. And even if all fails, you never the one who loses because end of the day you either win or you learn.

Written by Daniel Tran 
Current student at the University of Sydney Business School.

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