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“Hard work and diligence, attention to detail and a little bit of bravado will get you where you want to go,” panelist Carole Brown ’89, senior managing director of Siebert Brandford Shank & Co., told Kellogg students May 18.

Carole Brown

Ready to run

When it comes to career management, Kellogg alumni tell students it’s a marathon, not a sprint

By Sara Langen

6/9/2010 - There’s a lot to think about on the first day of a new job. As you set up your work login and password, find out where the coffee is and track down office supplies, you should also begin planning how you want to leave that job, one Kellogg alum says.

“It’s strange to think on your first day that you need to start thinking about managing your career, but in an odd way, that’s exactly when you need to start creating an exit strategy,” Trinity Partners and Sperry Capital principal Malcolm Jones ’83 said at a panel discussion dubbed “Career Management Starts Day One.”

“What are you going to do if you want to leave? What do you do if they want you to leave? Because the odds are, one or the other will happen.”

Jones, who moderated the May 18 event at the Jacobs Center, was one of five Kellogg alumni who shared their personal experiences and observations on career management with students. The event was sponsored by the Kellogg Career Management Center, the Investment Management Club and the Asset Management Practicum.

Starting off on the right foot by distinguishing yourself and your work is the key to future success, said Carole Brown ’89, panelist and senior managing director of Siebert Brandford Shank & Co.

“For those first two or three years, you’re going to work really hard and make sacrifices so you can differentiate yourself and so you can become the star,” she said. “I think early in your career you have to commit to doing that so you can have the flexibility later on.”

Find a mentor, or a group of mentor/advisers, who can help give you guidance as you progress in your career, Brown said. The best advice her mentor gave her was that when you get a job, think about the next job you want and work toward achieving that.

“It’s a marathon, not a sprint,” she said. “That hard work and diligence, attention to detail and a little bit of bravado will get you where you want to go.”

Doing what you enjoy is also important, the panelists agreed. If you don’t like doing something, odds are you won’t excel. Business school is a good place to start thinking about what it is that you want to do, Brown said.

But if you’re not quite sure where you want to go, take advantage of jobs that allow you the opportunity to learn a range of skills, said panelist Matthew Simon ’04, a portfolio manager covering energy and utilities for Citadel Investment Group’s Global Equities division. Not sure exactly where he fit into the business world when he started out, Simon accepted positions and assignments that offered chances to get new experiences on the job and expand his skill set.

“When opportunities come up, I encourage you to take those opportunities where comfortable,” he said. “Keep the long term in mind, even if in the short term it’s frustrating.”

And if those opportunities don’t come your way, think about creating opportunities yourself, panelist John Rice ’73 said. As a senior financial adviser with the Global Private Client Group at Merrill Lynch, Rice is essentially able to be his own boss and set his own hours working with clients. Although the current job market is tough, there are jobs available in the retail brokerage side, he said.

“Why are the jobs available?” he said. “Because they’re not going to pay you much, but it’s up to you to go out and get business. When you do, the sky’s the limit.”

Finding a job might be difficult in this economy, but being a Kellogg graduate puts you ahead of the crowd, Jones said. Being adaptive to change and able to spring back from setbacks is also important, as well as working with people you trust and admire, he said.

But one of the most valuable things you can do is keep in touch with the people you meet at Kellogg and in the business world, panelist Steve Ethington ’73, executive vice president at DHR International, said. By dropping his card off at the Kellogg business office and offering to speak with alumni about any career questions they might have for an executive recruiter, he ended up offering advice to someone who later asked Ethington to do four executive searches for him.

“All that just came from the drop of a business card,” Ethington said. “Networking is key. Always return the phone call.”