Did you ever see this scene in Modern Family where Alex has a mental breakdown when she finishes university? Hayley helped her by explaining that until then she had this one goal, and then out of the sudden, this goal is gone. Not saying I am anywhere near the genius Alex is, but I completely understand this. When I landed my master graduation internship, the following step after that is, well, professional life. It absolutely scares me, and excites me as well, there are so many options.
I don’t want to go into too much detail of all the options you have, I probably cannot even imagine all of them. But I did want to talk to people that already are living the options that I feel like are within my scope, and like Hayley can give Alex advise. I talked to three people that were able to give me advise, and maybe it will help you as well.
Starting with Christiaan Teeuwen, innovation Space co-founder, advising me when I originally joined innovation Space. He is now an associate at &Strategy, consulting companies in a variety of markets on their strategy. In my consult with him (you see what I did there?), he explained what his job entails. Within his work he collaborates and advises many companies. He thrives on change and works with a lot of complexity and changing environments. He applies his way of thinking and problem-solving capabilities he learned during his time in innovation Space. He advised me to look at where my learning curve would be the steepest, and to go there.
Next is Fêdde Zijlstra, PhD candidate within the ITEM group in the IE&IS department. He is doing his PhD in collaboration with ASML. He explained that a PhD project can be a solitary endeavor , but having the freedom to research and learn everything about a topic is very exciting. The ability to apply research immediately within the business context makes it extra rewarding. He told me when considering a PhD, it is important to realize that while a PhD may be challenging, if a specific topic excites me (which it does), a PhD is amazing to do.
Lastly, Tom Selten, innovation Space co-founder, and business development lead at Lightyear. Entrepreneurship is very exciting, Tom tells me. When I called him on a Friday night, he just came out of a meeting, so it is not an 8-5 job. However, he is following his boy’s dream, working on cars, and changing the industry. It is exciting to see this change happening, and being an entrepreneur was something he wanted for a very long time. He is able to share Lightyear’s vision and it is very exciting to talk to Tom. In his quest for his post-graduation life, he was able to get advice from many people, also within innovation Space. This inspired me to schedule meetings and discuss my opportunities pro-actively with my mentor, internship-coach, and innovation Space colleagues.
These three heroes have given me a lot of interesting and useful insight, which make me dream about the future. They also gave me energy, seeing all of them happy with the paths they have chosen. It definitely helped me develop a new goal to work towards, and I would love to advise you to also talk to people that are in positions you might find interesting. Like this, my breakdown, and yours, will hopefully not become as full-blown as with Alex.