The End

We all have a powerful memory of the person we were at that moment when we formed a vision for our lives

Yesterday was officially my final day at the Firm and marked the end of my 21 months as a business analyst. Now is a good time to reflect. For lack of a better structure, I will divide my musings on my time at the Firm into the good, the bad and the ambiguous.

The good:

  • Messaging and structuring: Being at the Firm taught me the importance of communicating in a way that is clear, consistent and coherent. The business world is full of noise and to cut through that noise, you need to keep messages simple, pound that message over and over and use several channels to deliver it: clear, consistent and coherent.
  • Broad exposure to people and business: I think I met more people and saw more interesting things over these past 2 years than I could have in any other job I was considering. The flip side of this is that I didn’t develop too many super-deep relationships as a result of being unable to spend 2 years with the exact same faces (as one might at a bank).
  • Polish and maturity: I feel more mature and comfortable in business settings than previously. Part of this is just straight experience, but I do credit the Firm with frequently putting me in either client or political situations.

The bad:

  • Living in Chicago: I enjoyed living in Chicago – the cheap rent, the good food (steaks/pizza) and the summers. But overall, I don’t think I ever really settled into a stable personal life and close group of friends there.
  • Lack of improvement: I don’t think I learned that much about running a business or different industries that would be useful in a new setting. Consulting projects feel akin to cramming for a test – you learn a lot in a very short time, you use what you’ve learned to impress the teacher (or client) and then you forget virtually everything by the next week
  • Decline of confidence: As a consultant, I felt that there really wasn’t that much I could do to separate myself from the pack – our roles just aren’t that hard. As a result, I lack the feeling of accomplishment, triumph and confidence that I had when I busted through physics during my last two years of college.

The ambiguous:

  • Rise of ambiguity: Contributing to the decline of confidence is the rise of ambiguity. There is a well-defined success metric in college – grades – and a well-defined path to getting there – studying. No such equivalents exist for the post-college period. Or rather, equivalents exist, but there are altogether too many of them – Should I be busy spending my time networking? Or learning a skill? Or out just enjoying myself?

Overall, I feel sentimental about my time at the Firm as well as a strong surprise at how quickly that sentimentality arrived. I’ll let that sentimentality take over and say I enjoyed my time as a BA, this initial foray into the uncharted territories of post-academic life…

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