Tag: career planning

I recently saw this quote by George S. Patton: “A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.” In my opinion, Gen. Patton, often regarded as one of the most successful United States field commanders of any war, knows what he is talking about.

Gen. George S. Patton

Gen. George S. Patton

Planning—sometimes embraced, sometimes feared—is typically top of mind for most of us as we start off another year. We start making lists of things to accomplish. Many of us think of these as New Year’s resolutions. Last January in my blog “Begin to Begin,” I suggested a few ways to begin the New Year. Unfortunately, I did mention organizing my basement in that blog a year ago and alas, it is still on my list!

From a career perspective, you might be in the planning mode too. Planning to change careers? Planning to relocate, and need to find an opportunity you can sink into? Planning to finish a certification you have been working on? Are you putting it off because the plan wasn’t perfect? Whatever the plan is, it is important to remember that you will never have an absolute 100% fool-proof, water-tight plan. So don’t wait for the “perfect plan” to start moving forward. Gen. Patton’s words about having a “good plan” versus the “perfect plan” should appear above our heads in an imaginary thought cloud each time we start to question if we have covered all the bases. I can almost guarantee we haven’t thought of everything. The plan is, however, good enough to get started working.

If you are changing careers, have you assessed the areas you are passionate about and that you like to do? Can you make a living at it? Have you researched companies that support the type of role you are searching for? If you are relocating, have you started identifying people that can help you in the new location? These are just some items on the “plan.”

For me, I like six month plans that are a bit more detailed within a five-year overall horizon. I know I will tweak both the short-term and long-term plans. They are “good” plans, just not “perfect” plans. I don’t know every twist and turn life will take to make it a perfect plan. But I know it will get me going.

Please don’t forget the doing part. It isn’t only about planning. The plan gets you moving toward your goals, but you still need to execute. You still need to do something. Whatever it is, don’t just plan it—do it. (I am sure my brother would quote Yoda here! So here it is. Do. Or do not. There is no try.)

Looking forward to 2017, give yourself permission to have a “good plan,” not the “perfect plan” and you will make great strides towards you goals. Write out the plan, review it, update it, and acknowledge your progress and where you need to focus. Take it from The Old Man, don’t wait for perfection—you will be waiting a long time.

This post originally appeared on LMHAdvisors. In addition to LMHAdvisors, Lisa Hebert serves as a Career Advisor specializing in supply chain, consulting, and Olin’s veteran student population.

Time for Change: Career Transition

Being intentional in your career transition is, in my mind, the most overlooked “step” in successfully going from A to B. If you Google “intentional career transition,” what are the results? (Because face it, everything these days starts with a Google search, right?) I found a few websites for services to help with career transitions; however, the number of references were fewer than I expected. When I Googled “steps for a career transition,” I hit the jackpot. On the first page alone there were sites or articles that listed as few as five steps or up to 10. Most of the steps are very tactical: “Put together a resume” or “Update your LinkedIn profile.” All good advice, but I am going to talk about a more strategic step.

I believe the first step is to be intentional. Being intentional when you decide to venture into something new is along the same lines as putting together a solid project plan when you are about to implement new software or develop a new marketing campaign. The project plan documents your intentions. Documenting your intentions in your career is not really all that different.

When documenting your intentions, or your plan, you need to specify the five w’s – why, what, when, where, and who.

Why am I seeking a career transition?

You need to articulate why this change is occurring. Being very clear with why helps to make sure your plan is focused and leading to your desired end state. Without a clear understanding for why, then you may easily veer off into something interesting but not necessarily relevant. Ask yourself: Why now? Why something different?

What am I looking for in this career transition?

This is the big Kahuna of intentionality. This is where you get down to brass tacks on what exactly the plan is going to achieve. What is it that you are looking for in your next career or job? Can you define the characteristics, objectives, outcomes?

When will this transition take place?

Depending on when you are looking for a change, the actions you take to get there may be different. Timing is also partially dependent on what it is you are looking for in the future. If you are thinking the change should happen in six months there may be one set of actions to get there. If it is a longer-term plan (say 3 years) there is a totally different set of actions.

Where are you looking to go?

We are taking simple geography here. If you need to – or want to – only look in a particular part of the world then you need to be clear on that. Don’t waste your time looking in say, Australia, if that is simply not realistic. While the job down under sounds fun and exciting, if it really isn’t in the cards don’t put it in the plan. Being distracted during your intentional search will derail your progress.

Who will help you in this career transition?

This is where your network comes into play. You have a network, right? If not, you need one. (I feel another blog topic coming on!) Being intentional with who you want to connect with about your new career/job search will allow those connections to be meaningful and sincere. Again, it is about intentionality, the foundation for focus. Additionally, you don’t want to abuse your connections, and if you simply randomly tap into your network you could wind up alienating them and doing more harm than good.

Being intentional is hard. I know–I have been there myself. Determining the 5 W’s for my own career transitions laid the foundation for all the changes I made. Some of my transitions were made in six months, some in three years. Whatever my time frame was, I approached it intentionally. I can help you do the same.

This post originally appeared on LMHAdvisors. In addition to LMHAdvisors, Lisa Hebert serves as a Career Advisor specializing in supply chain, consulting, and Olin’s veteran student population.

It’s a New Year, we are coming off of a five week break and with that there is an opportunity to reassess our goals.

It’s a perfect time for PMBA 38 to reflect. We are at a fork in the road following the end of the Core program. The question is, “where do I want to go from here?”

ShipMany folks know which direction they will head going forward. Some people will pursue a specialty track such as Finance or Marketing. Others will take a more general approach to the degree. Personally, I’m on the fence and still exploring my options, though it’s a tight race between Finance and Consulting.

This opportunity to reassess is a great chance to think about where we want to head in our careers and what we want to get out of the program. It’s important to note that there will be many times, in many different situations, where we will face the fork in the road and have to make a decision, possibly redirecting our course for our careers and our personal lives. Particularly in careers where the average worker now only stays in a job 4.4 years there can be steps forward, steps sideways, and even steps backwards. It may not always be the most desirable course at the moment, but there will always be value in every experience. We should embrace this current moment to reassess, reflect, and redirect our course (if necessary) toward where we want to go.

As first year MBA students at Olin, my classmates and I are forging the relationships that will form the foundation for our professional networks. We are meeting each other, second years, professors, and professionals in the community.

Another exciting opportunity that we can take advantage of is the Industry Insider Mentor Program. In this program, students are matched with Olin Alumni mentors in order to complement the curriculum with industry exposure.

Second years who participated last year were assigned mentors who offered valuable insights. Niki McKinney, who is targeting brand management positions in CPG firms says of her mentor who works in marketing at Nestle Purina, “I absolutely loved getting to know my mentor last year. He was a great asset for me to get to know my target industry, job function, and local opportunities. We still keep in touch now that I am a 2nd year, and he has been instrumental in connecting me with folks at Purina and elsewhere. I’m excited to continue learning from his experiences throughout my professional career!”

Other second years developed relationships with alums in diverse geographies, industries, and functions, such as private equity or procurement in the energy industry. Anton Gimmel says his mentor helped him “cut through the opacity of breaking into private equity”.

Mihika Baruah, who worked with the Director of Procurement for a natural gas company, sets a great example of how the student drives the relationship through consistent, professional communication: ” I connected with my mentor before my summer internship and received some valuable advice from her.”

To apply, follow the link in Susan Evans’ email and send her a copy of your resume at susan.evans@wustl.edu.

Take advantage of this great opportunity by October 11, 2013!

Lauren Colling, MHA/MBA ’08(pictured above), and her husband Arik Frankel, MBA ’08, are enthusiastic members of the Olin Industry Insider Mentoring Program. Both credit the mentors they’ve had for important career guidance and for inspiring them to become mentors in this video:


5 Things with the WCC Graphic
  1. Personal Branding– Build your social network by using LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook   as a window to new contacts and potential employers
  2. Community Service – Volunteer at a nonprofit, such as a school, community group, faith-based or healthcare facility to learn new skills and help others
  3. New Venture or Start-up – Seek out an alternative to traditional internships with a start-up or new venture to help determine if a field of interest is for you
  4. Global Adventure – Expand your world and immerse yourself in a new culture
  5. Make a Good First Impression – Develop rapport with others and grow your network