Over the past week I had the pleasure of reconnecting with three of my former students, all of whom coincidentally graduated in 2005. Two of the students had agreed to be a guest speaker in my classes, and I met the third for dinner.
Katie, who currently works for a Fortune 50 firm, spoke last week about how her firm uses the Strengths Finder assessment tool. My students took the assessment before the class (which the firm was kind enough to pay for), and she incorporated the results into her presentation. The students were fascinated with the what the assessment revealed as their strengths and how such results could be effectively be used in the workplace.
Matt, a senior manager at one of the Big 4 public accounting firms, spoke to my class yesterday. Matt spoke about the new performance evaluation tool that his firm began using this year, and offered some great words of advice about what it takes to succeed at not only a Big 4 firm, but in any career. Since many of our students join a Big 4 right after graduation, the topic was of great interest to all of them.
Katie and Matt were sitting in the same seats as my students just 10 years ago, and are now great role models for the current group of students. I think students enjoy having speakers who are in a job that they may possibly aspire to some day, and find it easier to relate to someone who is closer to their age.
In between Katie and Matt’s presentations, I had a three-hour dinner with Justin, who is currently the VP of Operations for a family-owned design and manufacturing company. We have many of the same interests – health, fitness, sports, reading (e.g., James Altucher), and Apple devices, to name a few. As a result of our mutual interests, there was never a lull in the conversation and the time flew by. Justin also gave me several book recommendations that I look forward to reading this summer.
It’s hard to describe the sense of happiness I felt after seeing Katie, Justin, and Matt this past week. It was wonderful to see young people who have made the transition from college to career successfully, and just as wonderful to watch them grow personally. Knowing that there are such young people out there who care about their careers, their families, and have a strong sense of social responsibility gives me great confidence for the future of our world.
It made me want to reach out even more to former students, all of whom I am sure have great stories to share with me and with my students. It looks like I’ll be spending some time with LinkedIn over the next few weeks. If any former students are reading this, please feel free to drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org; I’d love to hear from you.
And finally, a big thank you to Katie, Justin, and Matt. I am proud to see all that you have accomplished, and proud to call each of you a friend. I wish all of you continued success.