Approach your career with an open mind, and seek a path that will capitalize on your greatest strengths and interests. Along the way, build your knowledge and continually apply what you’ve learned to the tasks at hand.
Here’s my story. After earning my MBA, I began my career as a financial analyst at a major oil company that rotated young professionals through a variety of analyst jobs every 18 months to expose them to all aspects of the controller’s function. I learned a lot in a very short time span, and I have been applying many of the skills I learned in that highly professional organization throughout my career. In fact, I think those skills have often set me apart from others who hadn’t had the good fortune of that experience.
That said, I realized back then that crunching numbers and preparing reports at my desk all day was not for me. Despite the fact that I had spent six years in college and graduate school preparing for such a career, I set out to find a way to use my writing skills, apply my interpersonal skills, and satisfy my strong interest in corporate strategy, while capitalizing on my financial training and expertise.
My persistence, and some good luck, led to a breakthrough. One of the recruiters I had been in contact with thought of me when an investor relations (IR) position opened up at a major bank. The executive who interviewed me was willing to take a chance, despite my lack of IR experience. If I could track her down today, I would thank her profusely because her blind faith in my ability set me on a path for success as an IR professional. Many people view IR jobs as rotational learning opportunities. I’ve chosen IR as a career.
I’ve practiced IR across many industries, including banking, waste-to-energy, diversified services, specialty retail, drug stores, and health care. Today I lead the IR efforts of an innovative and fast-growing Fortune 25 health care company, and I couldn’t be happier. The dynamic nature of our business and sector makes my job interesting and challenging, and I still learn something new every day. What more can someone ask for?