Erika Olson's Lessons From An Unexpected Career

On Wednesday, April 16, my fellow Business Scholars and I were given a presentation on career lessons by Erika Olson, who is a freelance film critic, blogger and writer. Olson graduated from the University of Michigan Ross School Of Business, and she earned her MBA from Harvard Business School. Olson talked to us about all the various different careers that she had throughout her life—one of them being the managing director at the Chicago Board of Trade. She talked to us about her experience within the financial services industry, and how she came to become a film critique over the years.

Here are some of the very profound lessons that Erika Olson talked to us about during her presentation “Lessons from an unexpected career:”

  • Who you work with matters, and this is perhaps even more important than what you do.
  • Give every job a chance, but don’t be afraid to admit that it may not be good for you.
  • Understanding what you don’t want to do is as important as knowing what you DO want to do.
  • Don’t be afraid to try something you always thought you hated.
  • Trust your gut.
  • Don’t compromise your morals.
  • Money isn’t everything.
  • Embrace the opportunity to travel.
  • Be prepared to put in long hours of work in the very beginning.
  • Seek out mentors and keep in touch with your workers after they have left.
  • There are very few things that will matter to you in the future.
  • You have opportunities as a student that you will never have at any other time; embrace them.
  • Network with professionals—especially alumni.
  • Set up informational meetings with professionals in the fields that interest you.
  • Get to know your professors.
  • Keep in touch with your professors after graduation.
  • No one can ever take your education away from you.
  • If you begin working at a large company, be patient.
  • Your communication, management, leadership, and networking skills are key.
  • Follow your passion.
  • Don’t worry if your career doesn’t go as planned.
  • You are going to spend a lot of time working, might as well do what you like to do—even if it takes a while to figure out exactly what it is.
  • Find what makes you unique.
  • Understand what really matters to you the most.