Monday, May 19, 2014

Where He Is Now: Three Years Later

Today is Commencement Day for Yale SOM's Class of 2014, making it three years since I graduated from my MBA program, and one since my last post.

Career-wise, little has changed since a year ago. Then, my client was a newspaper chain, and I had been working with them for over a year. Now, I have been working with them for over two years, helping them execute projects intended to grow their digital capabilities. (We're not allowed to talk about our client work for confidentiality reasons, so consulting gibberish is all I can offer.) This is the type of work I had hoped to do when I wrote my b-school admissions essays back in 2008 and said I wanted to leave journalism to study business and then contribute to the newspaper industry in a strategic capacity. I had no idea what that job would look like, if indeed such a job even existed. I certainly didn't think the job would be Management Consultant for Deloitte, particularly since at the time I wrote that essay I had heard of neither management consulting nor Deloitte. 

Naturally, like everyone does and should do, I occasionally scan LinkedIn and other job sites to see what else is out there, and from time to time I'm contacted by a recruiter, usually with a smaller consulting firm. I can't imagine leaving Deloitte to work at another consulting firm, because I love Deloitte as a company, and it is the global leader in the type of work I like to do. I may someday leave consulting altogether, but so far I have not seen a posting for a job I would want more than the one I have. 

I also am being promoted this year, on schedule. Deloitte has a mapped-out career progression, so pending promotions are clearly and widely communicated and planned for, and do not depend on someone above you leaving. So I've known this was my promotion year since joining in 2011. It is possible to lobby for a promotion after two years instead of three, but in the New York office this tends to be reserved for people with previous consulting experience, of which I have none.

Travel-wise, I had a project in the Northwest last summer, and although that was far from home, I loved being out there and took lots of advantage of alt-travel, whereby instead of flying home, I would use that money to fly elsewhere or bring in an out-of-town guest. This perk allowed me to experience amazing areas I had never seen, all during the beautiful summer months -- Portland and the coast of Oregon, San Francisco, Sonoma, Seattle and, by far my favorite of all, the majestic mountains of Montana. After that project, I had an out-of-town gig in the Northeast that was close enough to get to by car, which is a much more relaxing means of travel than plane or train, whose schedules rule your life and whose delays are out of your control. For the past couple months, I've been on a "local" project, commuting to and from home each day, for the first time in two years. This has allowed me to spend more time with loved ones, and to get back into the kitchen, both of which I've appreciated.

I continue to visit SOM pretty frequently, since I'm on the recruiting team. SOM moved into a new campus in January 2014, and also is increasing its class sizes and revising its grading policies, under the new dean. Some of my classmates worry that the culture of the school will shift along with these other changes, and while that may happen, that's not something I worry about. As an alum, my biggest concern is that the school goes up in the rankings (and stays out of trouble). 

I refinanced my loans through earlier this year, which is something I recommend and wish I had done sooner. The interest rate is lower, and compared to my previous arrangement, overall I will save about $30,000. If you have student debt, study your options for repayment. There's probably something better out there than what you have.

On the day of my last post, I moved out of my Hell's Kitchen apartment, where I had lived for two years, and into my boyfriend's two-bedroom apartment in Forest Hills, an affluent part of Queens. The travel aspect of my job is a two-sided coin for our relationship -- it took some adjustment, especially for him, to have me gone half the time. But on the other hand, it enabled us to take a lot of fantastic trips for a reduced price, gives us some space during the week, and encourages us to make the most of our weekends. Now that I am on a local project, we are readjusting to me not traveling, which is a different two-sided coin.

Those are the highlights. Be back next year.