I still remember the hardest question I had to answer on my college application: “What is your intended major?”
At different times in my life, I had wanted to pursue a number of occupations: firefighter, zoologist, architect, physicist, and lawyer to name a few. Yet, even among those, the longest that I held to one was for a couple of years. So, who was I to try to predict what I would want to be in four years, or ten years, or forever. This prospect of uncertainty terrified me.
Ultimately though, I hedged my bets and declared myself a business major but also enrolled in the pre-law track. However, I soon abandoned any serious inquiry into law. Living with 100 other pre-law students my first year, I realized very quickly that I just didn’t share their passion. Simultaneously though, it was the first time I found myself surrounded by people who seemed so ardently connected to a purpose, and that environment mobilized me to seek out mine.
I tried my hand at a number of activities like student government, political activism, environmental sustainability, and a midwestern classic: broomball. While I found some form of enjoyment and interest in each of those, I didn’t feel like I was fully applying the skills that I had, nor putting myself in a position to develop those that I desired. Desperate to find something that really engaged me, I read every newsletter that entered my mailbox and eventually came across Students Consulting for Nonprofit Organizations, or SCNO.
Walking out of my interview for SCNO, I not only felt like I had really been challenged, but I was craving a chance to do it again. Fortunately, I was accepted and thrown immediately onto a project where I got my hands dirty with real problems facing a local nonprofit. As SCNO was structured similar to a consulting firm or ad agency, semester after semester I worked with various nonprofits of different sizes, maturities, and missions addressing a variety of deliverables, each with its own unique constraints. I relished every second, and kept reaching for more responsibility because I truly believed that I could improve clients’ circumstances and, in turn, the organization itself. Finally, I had discovered my purpose: making an impact by elevating others and their situations. But, translating that into a career proved much more difficult.
After graduating with a degree in marketing and economics, I spent most of my time trying to filter out sales positions in search of an opportunity to apply my statistical knowledge and analytical skills. After a great deal of exploring, I discovered KLIK and their mission to be the best ad agency in Washington DC and then the world. How much higher could I set my sights?
The initial case assured me that I would get to exercise my data analysis and problem solving prowess in pursuit of superior digital marketing, but it was a phrase that Chris Yee used in my interview that really hooked me: “hungry but humble.” I couldn’t find a better way to describe the impression KLIK left on me after my interview, just like I had experienced with SCNO four years before.
Yet, perhaps the ultimate aspect that drew me to KLIK was the potential to make an impact. Looking closely at the company, the influence and contributions of every individual are evident, from the most senior members to new hires their first day, and that’s no accident. The atmosphere is one where everyone is working towards a common goal and thus values any input on how to get there better. This makes the climate ripe for growth and innovation, and I was – and am – eager to make my mark.
Looking back, can I say with absolute certainty that I picked the best major for me? Honestly, it doesn’t matter to me anymore because to go back and change it might jeopardize where I am today, and I’m certain that is too great a risk to chance.