Students: It’s your career, OWN IT!

I gave a talk to a large group of newly minted BSBA students this morning, and my message to them was “OWN IT.” I’m using all caps on purpose here, because my talk to them was a tad bit over the top with volume and energy. But, even if the delivery was a bit over the top and potentially hokey to the jaded among them, the message is true.

Being admitted to a competitive program like Kenan-Flagler’s BSBA program is a tribute to their accomplishments. But, it’s really the start of the race, not the end. Two students could be starting the program at the same time, but if one of them commits to taking advantage of every opportunity and really owning their activities, that individual will be leap years ahead of the other when it comes time to apply for jobs and internships.

I asked the group of roughly 300 who was willing right now to commit to contacting one professional in their field of interest each week for the entire fall semester. Fewer than 10 students out of the 300 raised their hand. Now some of that might have been reluctance to engage with the loud guy at the front of the room. But, hopefully quite a few more than that are willing to take control of their education and really make it their experience.

Barbara De Angelis, a researcher on personal relationships, says, “When you make a commitment to a relationship, you invest your attention and energy in it more profoundly because you now experience ownership of that relationship.” The same can be true of your approach to career and educational activities. OWN IT!

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