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14.06.2023 Today’s Insights from Inc Magazine: Barack Obama’s Best Career Advice for New Grads

14.06.2023 Today’s Insights from Inc Magazine: Barack Obama’s Best Career Advice for New Grads
Dear Students,
As it’s graduation season here in the US, everyone is offering up their best advice for newly-degreed talent like you. And why shouldn’t Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States, weigh in, as well? During an interview with LinkedIn Editor-in-Chief Daniel Roth, Obama offered a simple 3-word recommendation to aspiring professionals: “Get stuff done.”
In this spirit, a few additional key take-aways from their chat:
  • Given that nearly every role contributes to some form of “problem-solving,” Obama highlighted the importance of focusing on the impact that an ambitious young professional (even a new grad or intern) like you can have, by noticing issues that need to be addressed or resolved within a workplace
  • Extending this insight a step further, the 2009-2017 POTUS encouraged rising talent (yes, you!) to identify problems that “others don’t want to solve” and to take the initiative to personally undertake these to find solutions. (Doing so, of course, serves multiple benefits, including companywide (improving the organization, potentially leaving a lasting impact), and for you (engendering self-confidence and raising your  visibility to leadership)
  • Find your passion, As in: “When you are focusing on things you are fascinated by, you are also likely focused on solving problems,” exemplified by Bill Gates’ pursuing his passion for tech while in high school
  • Impact is more important than status or money (Career professionals, like your Mandarin Consulting coaches, have actually learnt that the former tends to foster the latter, while building your individual self-esteem, promoting a sense of belonging within the company/department/team and simply inducing the great feeling of having made a meaningful difference)
While writer Jessica Stillman’s article is brief, it offers a lot to potentially explore and discuss in coaching sessions with your experienced, professional coaches, including questions like:
  • What kinds of challenges have you addressed – and potentially resolved – in previous jobs, no matter how small the projects or how minimally paid/unpaid these have been?
  • How do you feel you’ve personally impacted/made a difference in such roles, on academic project teams and/or in university projects/clubs etc.?
  • Think of a time when you stepped up to do something no one else in a group wanted to. What motivated you to do so? What did you learn in the process? How did you feel afterward?
  • What’s the most positive feedback you’ve received to date about how you have favorably impacted a project/team/department/company etc.? What led to your receiving it? Who did it come from? Do you agree with it? 
  • What are you proudest of having accomplished in a previous, interactive environment – no matter what kind – that had a meaningful impact on those around you?
  • When you consider your life goals, what will really important to you, when you think 5-10-25 years down the road? What will truly impassion and motivate you, besides money and status?”
and many others.
In short, we hope to help you realize that as ambitious international students, your thoughtful contributions to a collective effort are what will be valued in any professional environment, and these are also what will ultimately foster your own fulfillment (even if you might not have realized this yet!)