It’s also often said that experience is the best teacher.
So what have six Johnson & Wales University College of Business alumni who’ve landed in industries ranging from accounting to business to retail learned since graduation? From advice on how to take your first steps into the professional world to staying confident to showcasing your abilities, here are the key takeaways they shared in a recent panel on the Providence campus:
1. Experience experiences.
Henry Lewandowski ’96, ’98 MBA discussed the importance of personal branding with graduating seniors. “Your brand is all encompassing of both your personal and professional self”, Lewandowski stated. Showcasing who you are in an honest and professional manner will allow you to gain experience as long as you are open-minded. “Sometimes you aren’t sure where a career will take you. Be open-minded in the job market and you’ll go far”, he emphasized.
Nakesha Wilson ’14 advised students to “look for experience and seek it out.” Taking on opportunities when they present themselves is the only way to find out where you will truly fit in and be happy. Wilson pointed out that taking that leap of faith can be scary, especially for someone just entering the job market, but looking for experiences and opportunities that are somewhat scary will help you grow in both a professional and personal light.
2. Failing is okay … actually, it’s good.
Rachel Davies '17 reminded students that “it is okay to fail—take the risk.” Davies shared that sometimes it can be scary to take a step forward when you aren’t sure of the outcome, but failing is good because it’s the only way for you to learn where your limits are and continue to push past them.
Keiko Carberry ’14 spoke about being confident within the workplace, even if you are new to the job. “Don’t be afraid to speak your mind”, Carberry assured. Showcasing that you are passionate and excited to be in this new job or position will prove to fellow employees how prepared and qualified you are.
3. Look for a company that inspires you.
Hubert Klein ’86 discussed the incredibly diverse student body that JWU has to offer. Klein mentioned how “the diverse community at Johnson & Wales encouraged [him] to find a company with big diversity push.”
Kara Zanni ’10 encouraged students to “look for companies that fulfill you, not just job titles that fit what you want.” A job title or description could read the same way, but if a company—or what that company stands for—does not inspire you, then you might lose motivation to try your hardest.
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