Long Overdue Introduction

Hello, WSO community

Quick and dirty "about me":

I grew up in Hawaii. Graduated from high school (barely) despite a 50% drop-rate for my class, and as one would expect college was not much of an option for me nor was it a desire. Moved to Los Angeles at the age of 18. Got a warehouse job for a clothing company startup (that is now massively successful), where I learned design and programming skills by training after hours with the design department.

Fast forward >>

Was a digital creative director for a Fortune 500. Left the company to be a founding partner in a branding strategy agency, where after a few years I started taking night classes with the intent of getting an undergrad degree and transitioning into a more business strategy focused career as opposed to what I was doing in branding/marketing strategy.

Fast forward again >>

I'm a year away from graduating with a B.A. in Financial Economics from a target school and hoping to transition into ER or management consulting shortly after--both of which I would derive equal satisfaction from as career paths. WSO has been a wealth of information. Happy to have found the site and hugely appreciative of everyone's contributions!

Comments (5)

May 18, 2014

Sounds like such an amazing life! I understand the desire to earn your degree but why the urge to switch careers?

May 18, 2014

You sound really intense, in all the good ways. How was doing the BA after having extensive/successful work experience?

May 19, 2014

It's good to hear that most people in the WS community understand my desire to earn a degree. The career switch is always the big question mark, though.

Midway through my previous "career", I realized that the discovery phase of branding a startup, or rebranding an existing firm (the phase where my team would collect data about the client firm in order to translate it to a visual identity) was the portion of my work that I enjoyed the most. Understanding a company's competitive advantage, knowing what management values, the initial creative phase--these aspects are considerably more intellectually stimulating (in my opinion) and are what I'm most interested in. In a nutshell, this is the reason for the career switch.

It's not convincing for some. Not everyone's values are translatable. It's certainly a backwards approach from the traditional path, but over time I've developed my tastes and know what I appreciate in life. Both ER and MC provide desirable career trajectories along with some competitive entrepreneurial aspects that I really enjoy. The added plus is that there are some carry-over skills in EQ and marketing (perhaps more in ER), though presumably over time anyone can pick up these skills.

Going to school for an undergrad degree having already procured a career brings its own set of unique challenges. All psychological: "what am I doing here?" "everyone's younger than me," "I used to work really hard and get paid for it, now I actually pay to work really hard." Sometimes I feel like I bit off more than I could chew in that I started my program in fall 2012 with a two-week old baby (torture, more like).

I've learned to appreciate processes though--I'm from the perspective that I should enjoy it while it lasts. And an education is something I value so I intend to do it well. When you've been forced by circumstance to teach yourself much of your life, I think one develops an appreciation for the opportunity to learn from someone else for a change.

May 19, 2014

To be fair, the "what am I doing here?" is a thing that a lot of very smart, high achieving individuals go through quite frequently. I think it's called the imposter syndrome.

Definitely would be awesome to go back to a time like college, knowing what I know now. It's nice to have the maturity/perspective that allows you to understand having a purpose for doing specific things and trying to make the best of bad situations, ie thinking about what can I learn from this despite the fact that it sucks.

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May 19, 2014