Alumni Share Career Insights in ZagToZag Podcast
This fall, three Gonzaga alums all working for Seattle consulting firm West Monroe returned to campus to recruit more Zags at the career and internship fair. Landon Kissinger (’16), Sam Atkinson (’19) and Brian Bowers (’20) then joined the Zag to Zag podcast to discuss their professional careers and ways their Gonzaga education has made a difference, as well as some great insights for college seniors preparing for their own careers.
The trio elaborated on several topics that college students focus on while transitioning to the working world: What should I focus on in school to help after graduation? What should my resume look like? How does job responsibility compare to college responsibility?
The ability to prioritize is paramount in the real world, said Kissinger. Being able to drive yourself to get things done can be a hard transition for many college students.
“You have to drive your own accountability of learning and delivery,” said Bowers. “It’s that kind of cognitive restructuring I had to do around dopamine cycles and rewarding for good work because you’re not going to get a pat on the back every time you hand something off like you used to get grade on a test.”
“I think people always have this advice for college students like you need to have abc skills on your resume and xyz experiences, but students should really lean into the college experience,” said Atkinson. “College life is such a unique experience and it’s so vastly different than working.”
All three had great advice on what they wish they could have done differently and what they did do that helped them most after graduation.
The three elaborated that exploring your passions can provide so many experiences to really grow yourself in areas you never thought to explore before. This willingness to explore, learn, fail, and try again is what creates a great worker and individual.
They also discussed the importance of understanding and seeking out complementary values.
“I just saw a connection between the school and West Monroe’s 13 core values. I am not going to go through all 13 core values but there is a correlation between the Jesuit way of teaching, learning, and life and West Monroe,” said Kissinger.
Kissinger agrees that looking for a job should focus on finding a place that reinforces your core values. A place that offers an easy transition in relation to values means it’s a good fit.
Discovering a lot about yourself in college can help on the journey to a working life. Failing, not just in academics, is the one thing that can help the most.
“Learning to fail, and not being afraid to fail within college, that really translates to life,” said Kissinger.