Why Graduating Early Was the Right Decision for Me
When I would tell people that I was going to graduate early, I would get mixed reactions. “Why do you want to do that?” my friends would ask, “you’re choosing to miss the best semester!” Others would ask me “how are you pulling that off? I wish I could be done with school early too.” I knew a few people who were also planning to graduate early for different reasons, but truthfully, I didn’t particularly want to finish school early and miss out on the last of my college years. I simply wanted to enter the real world and was itching for a feeling of responsibility and purpose that I could not get in a classroom.
Entering college, I kept hearing that Senior year would be the best year of my life. I looked up to the seniors with admiration, often wondering what it would be like to be in their shoes. However, when I finally got there, I realized that wasn’t where I wanted to be, and that underneath most people’s carefree exterior is a tinge of uncertainty, of not knowing what will come next. Having minimal responsibilities (aside from grades) is appealing and incredibly fun, but I grew tired of it quickly and felt that this wasn’t the experience that I wanted to have.
Fast forward to this past February where I began my career at AlphaSights, a semester earlier than my peers. It wasn’t an easy decision to jump into the world of work early and I missed my friends and the festivities of Senior year. But looking back on it now, it was the best decision I could have made and AlphaSights ended up being a great place to land after taking that leap.
The way the Associate role is structured at AlphaSights means that I have to operate autonomously every day, which led to a steep learning curve during my first 5 months. That head start enabled me to quickly become technically proficient in the role and now I regularly provide training to my new colleagues. My coworkers have quickly become new friends and my manager is my mentor, willing and able to offer a helping hand. The constant adventures of being a young professional living and working in New York City also provide memorable stories I now share with my college friends.
The decision to graduate early didn’t come easy, and it isn’t for everyone. But in the end, jumping into the working world has given me a proverbial “leg up” and has unlocked career development opportunities that simply would not have been available otherwise.
Mishelle joined AlphaSights in February of 2015 and served as an Associate on our Private Equity segment.