To what lies ahead

It’s July, I’m in full swing in my internship, and I’m diving head first into fall recruiting preparation already. Before I know it, I’ll be on my way to my first class of my last year of college and that is terrifying. And while that may be the case, I have been learning and absorbing so much about business, professional development, and simply building meaningful relationships with people. These are things that I definitely take back with me to school and into my future career.

So far in this internship experience, I’ve received a lot of exposure of not only supply chain but other functional areas in its periphery. I am getting to work on a couple projects for an integrated business manager which is a position I’m starting to think would fit me if I were to continue my career in industry. I’ve also met a lot of leaders with very good insight on how to plan for and succeed in whatever career path I choose. One of my favorite tips that I’ve heard is having a balance between processes and positive relationships to facilitate sustainable success. I 100% believe that both qualities are necessary in any job function.

I have noticed that a lot of people assume that I do not know where I want my career to head yet, which is a reasonable expectation for a college student. But I’m no normal college student. One director that I had a conversation with gave me the advice to have a 10 year plan, to make small career move objectives that will help me get to where I want to be in 10 years. Little did he know that I already had a 5 year plan put in place since last year! If you’ve been following my posts, you know that I know exactly where I want to be by age 25, starting my own nonprofit organization that provides entreprenuership education and consulting services to minority/women small business owners

And to get there, I’ve modified my smaller objectives a bit since the goal dawned on me. I feel like I’m juggling a million things right now, and despite my pushback on the model minority stereotype, I am doing all that it takes to get all the experience I need to fulfill my goal. My first priority is to secure a post-graduate job in a consulting firm. While it would be amazing to get an offer from an MBB firm, I’m grounded in reality. This is like college applications all over and getting into on of these firms straight out of college is tougher than getting into an Ivy League school. I’m currently studying up on the interview process and it’s a bit overwhelming. But if anyone out there is looking for a partner to practice case interviews with I’m your girl. I’m also attempting to build my network, which is hard for an introvert. I just need to keep in mind that the more attempts I make the better I will get and the more likely I can sustain the relationship.

I’m filling the cracks of my spare time with some experience in the Asian American and nonprofit spaces. I will soon be a one third of a social media management team for an Asian American nonprofit media website. (I will reveal it when this becomes more concrete!) I am also hoping to be able to get my feet wet in a research project about diversity in business with a professor/mentor at school, and I am going to go full force with one more year in our Asian Student Association as a student leader and hopeful organizer.

And on top of all that I have my personal life too. It’s not really something I talk about on my blog, but now it’s getting to the point where I am close to thinking about my future and what this means in terms of maintaining relationships with friends and family. I don’t want to be the person that puts her job first, but that’s precisely who I am. But I think what makes it different for me is that I know what I’m doing it for. It’s not the money or prestige. I just want to be able to help those in need with my strengths. And in the end, I want to be a founder and owner, in control of my own life and happiness. To what lies ahead…

One or the other?

If there is anything that I am not lacking, it is the inspiration and motivation to literally do it all. You cannot make a person like me a choose between two very different yet very equally fulfilling opportunities.

And yet there I was Thursday night at 7pm presented with this circumstance.

There are two sides of me: a logical one that loves to use Excel spread sheets to make life decisions and a passionate one that wants to trample social injustice and provide everyone with equal opportunities for success.

My initial career goal when I began college was to make it big as a business person. I was going to become some high earning top management professional and make more money than I needed so that I could help others in need with the spare change.

But last year I attended ECAASU 2013 at Columbia and it changed everything for me. I found my inspiration to take those risks that I was too afraid to take before and enter the nonprofit industry and possibly even start my own organization. It wouldn’t be a financially lucrative but I think the meaningfulness would make up for it.

This past semester while I was looking for internships and applying to jobs, the conflict between these two roads, the  safe route and the risk, was a constant factor. I thought that as long as I was still in school, I would do my best to get experience in both areas so I could make a rational decision upon senior year and graduation. So after I secured a summer internship in supply chain with a globally known company that could definitely take me places if I followed through, I did my best to contact nonprofit organizations to offer my services to them for free over winter break, with one response and no luck finding something in time for break. Bummer, but at least there was still ECAASU 2014 in Washington, DC. Or so I thought.

I think it all begins with my varying interests and involvement in student organizations.

As a member of our Operations Management Association, I snatched up the opportunity to join our APICS (Association for Operations Management) case competition team. I was super excited for the opportunity to travel, network, and get some more experience working on real-world business problems.

And as one of the members of our Asian Student Organization’s executive board that attended the conference last year, I took it upon myself to be on the lookout for registration information and dates for this year. I was involved in the ability for our organization to attend again from the very beginning. I’ve been waiting a year, literally since the day after the conference, to go again.

Originally these two events took place on two different weekends in February. I thought I could do both. I found out last night at 7pm that they were now to be held on the same weekend.

I’m starting to believe that life is one giant fractal of difficult life decisions embedded into each other and to navigate that maze you must be careful to make the right choices that will lead you to your ultimate goal.

The logical part of me, the scared part of me, my parents, and my friends never fail to bring to light the rational decision to do all that I can to get a financial safety net and business savvy before I venture out into the unpredictable world of social entrepreneurship. My friends probably think it’s silly of me who clearly has the brains and the opportunities to throw them away for a “frivolous” conference. It was really no question as to what I should do, go to the competition rather than the conference, but it was the admission that to make this decision might be closing doors to new ideas and insights for my social activism and to inspiration that would keep me going when I had to make difficult decisions like this. What I’ve been afraid of happening already is. I’m losing the fire I felt on the last day of the conference to make a change in our society. I’m falling into the safe route. It’s comfortable but it doesn’t make me completely happy. I don’t to make it a habit that will trap me in a cubicle for the rest of my life.

In the seventh grade, my history teacher told me that he wish he could clone me so that he would have more students like me. Now I wish I could clone myself so I could do everything I want to in this world. No matter how hard you work, it’s not possible for you to be in two places at once. I think I need to borrow Hermione’s Time Turner.

These connections I’ve made

Like I’ve said before, I’ve joined APICS at my school which is an Operations Management organization of sorts. We’re kind of new and kind of the remnants of what graduating seniors that didn’t care anymore left behind last year. Well, I saw it as an excellent opportunity to get involved, and in a big way. I volunteered myself as the Secretary and the club is small enough that there was no opposition.

So APICS has these events or gatherings of both professionals and students where we can network and see a presentation about operations in the actual real world. This past Tuesday I went to one. Although I had so much work to do and things to study for, I definitely did not regret spending 3 hours away from school and getting to know more about what I could be doing in the future. The speaker was from Campbell’s Soup and the talk was about talent management. I was completely appalled by the fact that I actually knew some of those terms they throw around like supply chain and SAP. I literally learned about all of this stuff in the past week in my Marketing and MIS classes. It’s so nice to see that what you’re learning has a real world application.

I learned a lot about what kind of skills I should work on in order to make myself appealing to employers. They emphasized an understanding in Marketing, reassuring me of my desire for a double major in Operations and Marketing. However, they did cause some qualms. The emphasis on technology made me consider an Management Information Systems minor and I know for sure that I have no room for that unless I drop my Math or Asian Studies minor. And while I could see myself dropping Asian Studies, I would not want to because I want to be able to use college as not only a time to learn about my future profession but I also want to use college as a way to study and learn all I want before I am trapped. I have an addiction to learning, I really do.

I had some nice conversations with people from Campbell’s and DuPont. It was kind of amazing to talk to Campbell’s (DuPont’s been around my whole life because I’m from Delaware). My image of the soup company is like some large corporation who makes the chicken noodle soup with the possibilities. But behind every product or brand is a real person. And I could be that person one day.

Speaking of networking I went to a career fair of sorts yesterday. I talked to a few companies like Macy’s, Chase, Frtito-Lay, Pepsico, Target, and Enterprise. A few of them have amazing opportunities and internships for what I’m interested in. A lot of them are looking for Juniors and Seniors though. As a Sophomore who is dying for some hands-on experience, life is rough. I also have to decide whether I want to try for this study abroad internship in Hong Kong which is unpaid and which I have to pay for or to find an internship at home for the summer. Before I was thinking that saving up for the study abroad after my Junior year would be better, but now I’m thinking, if I can get into the Hong Kong program as a Sophomore, when I’m a Junior and these companies finally want me, I’ll be more than ready.

Now, I know most the people who read my blog are looking for knitting posts and I promise they are coming. I just haven’t had much time to knit or take pictures of my WIP sweater but this weekend it’s happening. I’m almost done the first sleeve and once I finish it I’ll get some pictures.

End of internship, end of summer…

Today was my last day interning for JDRF Delaware. Ah, it’s truly a sign that summer is coming to an end!

I had an awesome time working with JDRF. I met the three awesome ladies that work in the office. I can’t imagine managing all the JDRF activities in Delaware with just 3 full time workers but I guess a lot of effort is also put in with the handful of volunteers like me. I got to meet some other interns and volunteers that help this organization run smoothly, including another Operations Management major that also goes to UD.

While there were a bunch of interns working this summer we each had our niche. My main job within the internship was managing and revamping their chapter website and social media accounts. I guess all the time I spend on the computer pays off! While it may not have been directly related to my major (Operations Management), I did learn a lot about working for a non-profit, something I could see myself doing in the future. I could definitely see where an operations manager could be needed in a non-profit organization in which funds and resources must be allocated to yield the best possible outcomes.

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