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“Cultivate your networks and your relationships with the highest-possible level people,” urged panelist Steve Ethington ’73, principal at Ethington and Associates, with Gwen Cohen ’82, first vice president and wealth adviser at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney.

Know what you believe in

'Know what you believe in'

Kellogg alumni share tips on achieving personal and professional success with soon-to-be graduates

By Julianne Beck

4/13/2012 - To prosper professionally, remain true to your interests and values, a panel of distinguished alumni advised Kellogg students.

“It’s not just about managing your career, it’s about managing your life,” explained Gwen Cohen ’82, first vice president and wealth adviser at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney.

Cohen, joined by several other alumni, spoke at the annual “Career Management Starts Day One” panel on April 3. The panelists drove home the notion that even as students prepare for their first post-Kellogg jobs, they should be thinking about their next career steps.

Moderator Malcolm Jones ’82, principal, Trinity Partners, LLC., led a discussion on the importance of balance, positive relationships and focus. “If you can be focused and you can articulate passion for whatever it is you want to do, you are more likely to get through,” said Mark Fuller ’82, partner at William Blair & Company.

“You’ve got to know what you are about and what you believe in,” added Christine Mason McCaull ’91, co-founder of Milsal + McCaull, an innovative company that leads organizations into new markets.

For those who are unsure of their ideal role, first identify undesirable career characteristics, suggested Phil Ordway ’07, an investment analyst at Chicago Fundamental Investment Partners. Once you have direction, he advised, move toward it immediately.

Embrace growth
Lifelong learning is essential for career progression, concurred the alumni. Develop the skills now for your next job, read and learn more than everyone around you and be prepared to withstand setbacks.

Achieve balance
The panelists encouraged students to find the balance between their personal and professional lives. In addition to that point, McCaull emphasized the importance of finding a career with broad impact. “The problems that need solving in the world now are not only opportunities for you to make meaning out of your life and an economic opportunity to build businesses out of your life and personal abundance, but also an opportunity to use your life energy to work on problems that really matter to humanity and to the planet as a whole,” she said.

Foster your network
Determine what type of people best align with your goals, and build a network that will last lifetime. “Take a really close look at how you surround yourself with people here at Kellogg and other people that you know in your network,” said Cohen. “It’s about having the right team in place to get outcomes. It relates as much to the things that we do outside of work as the things we do inside.” To climb quickly, “cultivate your networks and your relationships with the highest-possible level people,” said Steve Ethington ’73, principal at Ethington and Associates.

The panelists concluded by emphasizing the importance of honoring one’s values, spending within one’s means, giving back and being proactive about finding one’s desired job. Be passionate about life — career, family and friends, summarized Jones.