RealJobs: Alex Walker

While at BC I was always so envious of my peers who knew exactly what they wanted to do.  Accounting Major to be an Accountant, or Bio major to prepare for Med School; even when I found a career path I wanted to pursue, I was not sure if I had the right tools in the toolbox.  If at the beginning of my senior year I flashed forward to now; sitting at a smooth wooden desk in Mexico City, surrounded by BMW logos, well-dressed colleagues bouncing around all Corporate with their Starbucks and laptops in tote, I wouldn’t believe my eyes.  Nor would I believe that I plan to return home and start studying for the GMAT—an MBA program wouldn’t have interested me 3 years ago.  But today, I see a potential future unfolding that I like the looks of.  And let me point out that out of my close BC friends (4/5 of my Senior Yr. roommates were CSOM), not every CSOM major has turned out thrilled with their Big Four accounting job or has enjoyed a smooth transition from school to work.  Sure, some have, but it’s a common misperception that CSOM=Guaranteed success/happiness, point blank.  If anything, A&S gives you a more diversified skill set through which to embark on the career of your choice—flexibility that is crucial in this job market.  And I mean no offense to CSOM students; in fact I wish I could have done a CSOM minor along with my A&S major.  The combination would have been the best of both worlds.

Excuse me while I step up on my soapbox for a paragraph.  Once you find out what you’re interested in, you have to pursue it relentlessly; don’t worry about whether you have the “right tools in the toolbox” from a literal sense (school, major, minor, hard skills).  Every interviewer (including my panel of seven at BMW), asked either, 1) Why did I choose Sociology/Spanish/Environmental Studies? 2) What did I get out of those courses of study? 3.) What else did I do in my life that has prepared me for this job?  These weren’t questions to fear, rather great opportunities to sell myself.  They were basically encouraging me, quite simply, to go ahead and convince them of my candidacy.  With some practice I was able to churn out out some excellent answers, answers that were dynamic, informative, and maybe a bit unique.  When asked a character question, I told a humorous story about an awkward situation in Madrid; when asked what I can bring to BMW, I got right into the environmental studies minor, commenting on future BMW technology I was aware of and excited about; when asked about my car hobby, I talked about starting AutoVIBEs, The Heights’ first bi-weekly automotive column (for which I am forever thankful to BC Career Center’s own Joanne LaRosee, for suggesting I start it Sophomore Year—thanks Joanne!)  Point being, you can sell your resume in creative ways that are relevant to the company or position you are applying for.  Do not apologize for the tools you lack—just march forward with the enthusiasm to acquire them later.

I hope my unique path from Sociology Major to socially/environmentally responsible corporate guy resonates with or even excites some of you.  Right now, I feel every decision I made at BC added to my likelihood of acquiring this job and I wouldn’t change much.  In fact, if I had studied business or not had any international experience, or not written my Heights column, I would not have stood out as a particularly unique candidate and may not have been hired; I truly believe that.  So take pride in your path, sell yourself confidently but wisely, and everything will fall into place.  Lastly, use the heck out of the Career Center—you will regret it if you don’t.

Best of luck through the twists and turns.

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