I recently had the opportunity to sit down with alumnus Moises Cohen, a 2011 Tufts grad who is now in his first year MBA student at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Moises has a fascinating career path and offered some really valuable insights for all of the Tufts students in attendance, particularly graduating seniors who may be a little anxious about what the future holds. Here are a few takeaways from the morning that I think every Tufts student needs to hear.
There is no one path to success. Moises graduated from Tufts without a full-time job, and had many positions before going back to school at Wharton. He told us a story about how once, after making a big mistake at one of his first jobs, he called a Career Advisor from the Career Center and essentially asked, "What do I need to do to get into business school?" The Advisor gave him a piece of advice that he has really tried to live by since that day: there is nothing you need to do to get to your goal. You just need to focus on building a story that is authentic to you, and then you will get there. Through his work in non-profit fundraising, Moises not only found satisfying work, but was able to get to his goal of attending business school.
It's okay not to rush. One student at the breakfast asked Moises why he decided to wait a few years before going to business school, and when he decided it was time to go back. Moises explained that there was no rush for him to go to grad school right away - for many programs today, the average age of entry is somewhere in the late 20s, and graduate programs across all disciplines are increasingly beginning to value real-world, professional experience in their candidates. He knew it was time to go back, however, when he began to see a "learning plateau" coming at his job. In order to avoid hitting the plateau, and feeling like he had already gotten everything out of his job that he possibly could, Moises knew that he had to further his education.
Find a mentor. In his jobs after graduation, Moises was able to meet and work with many people who he referred as his "mentors" - people who do amazing work, who offer advice, and who inspire and help others succeed. A mentor is an incredible asset for any young professional to have, and I'm sure Moises would agree that maintaining positive relationships with your supervisors and colleagues, even after your time working together ends, could come in handy when you want to look for a new job.
Work hard to get the results you want. In his time after Tufts, Moises worked with BUILD, a fundraising non-profit in Boston. He spoke briefly about how he struggled to adjust to this job at first, and about the challenges he had to face. But, once Moises really started trying his hardest - hiring interns, managing a team, speaking with other professionals in the field - he not only tripled the funds raised, but he came to love his job. He encouraged all of us to work hard and not to be intimidated if it doesn't click right away.
As you might imagine, Moises' story was great to hear, especially for those of us about to embark on our career journeys. He was very candid about his experiences, and how they may not have seemed like the straightest bath to business school, but he can look back and see that he has begun a story that is authentic to himself. (And, his story is a reminder that the Career Center is open even after graduation - don't lose touch!)
Until next time,
Class of 2017