Finding your first job out of college does not begin in the fall of senior year. In fact, it starts much earlier. It is built on your past experiences: internships, classes, and summer jobs. It is a process of identifying the attributes that make you a desirable employee, as well as discovering the types of companies that that will support you in achieving your career goals.
Throughout my first few years of college, I had convinced myself that I was destined for a job at a large, brand-name employer. It seemed like the natural path. Success in high school leads to a prestigious university which leads into a job with a top consulting, banking or tech firm...right? However, after interning at AlphaSights the summer following my junior year, I began to reconsider my thinking. I looked critically at my resume and came to a startling conclusion. Despite my desire to work for a large, global company, all of my work experience was at young, small, growing companies. I realized that I loved the sense of freedom and empowerment that stems from the necessity of an "all-in" mentality. I loved the idea that co-workers could be friends, and that work was a place to develop and grow along with the firm. I realized that AlphaSights presented me with a unique opportunity and I took it. It is not where I had imagined myself all along, but I could not be happier with my choice.
AlphaSights provides me with the chance to take on a tremendous amount of responsibility. Despite my status as an "entry-level" employee, I have had the chance to manage projects, pitch ideas to senior management, and take ownership over initiatives to develop various aspects of the company. AlphaSights is a meritocratic environment that stimulates and challenges, that supports and enables. While I inevitably have to explain what I do to all my friends and family since the job does not fit neatly into a pre-determined bucket, the entrepreneurial start-up vibe is easy to convey.
So when the time comes to choose your first job out of college, think carefully. Consider what you are trying to learn from your first year in the workforce, and consider whether the companies that you are applying to can provide that. Look back at your experience and see whether you are more suited for a large, bureaucratic firm or a small, nimble company. After this consideration, you may not choose AlphaSights, and that’s fine. This type of environment is not for everyone. But if you feel that you are suited for this atmosphere, don't be afraid to ditch the comfort of a brand-name and take a chance on your own development. The skills you can learn here will serve you well down the road no matter your ultimate goals, and you will be grateful you bet on yourself to succeed in a less-traditional workplace.