My time at Hamilton was full of profound friendships, memories, and experiences, but something seemingly small yet impactful has stuck with me--a sign from the Blood Fitness Center. The sign reads, “The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.” While incredibly corny, I think this quote reveals a lot about how to find success in any area of life and is something I’ve tried to embody since I left Hamilton.
After graduating Hamilton, I joined Bloomberg, a large financial data and news company as an equity research associate covering the restaurant sector. While there is no normal day in my role, my responsibilities include analyzing the company’s financial results, writing research reports, and engaging with management teams and investors. The job requires a blend of quantitative and qualitative analysis, as well as written and oral communication skills, making it a job I felt prepared for after my four years at Hamilton. I chose a career in equity research because I wanted a dynamic work environment where I would be challenged and pushed to grow every day, a job that required both analytical and communication skills, and because of my deep interest in understanding how different companies and the broader economy function.
Coming into my role, I was one of the few graduates from a liberal arts college. The vast majority of my new colleagues had finance degrees. I didn’t see this as a disadvantage, but instead as something I could leverage to differentiate myself. Despite not having a business program and minimal finance-related courses, I believe Hamilton does a great job preparing its students for a successful career in finance.
At Hamilton, I learned how to analyze and think critically across various subjects. I also learned how to communicate my analysis effectively through both verbal and written work, which is essential to be successful in a role regardless of the field. Most importantly, I was pushed by so many talented professors and students that I had to continuously work to better myself every day. I learned how to get comfortable being uncomfortable because I realized that, in order to grow and continue learning, I would have to keep pushing the boundaries of what I thought I was capable of.
This brings me back to the quote hanging up in the Blood Fitness Center, “The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.” Success by no means is easy to come by, but I’ve found that if you continue to push yourself to find that “little extra”, success will find its way into your life.
In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and a tight job market, I challenge you to push for that little extra in your lives, whatever it may be. Go outside your comfort zone, reach out to alumni for networking calls, work towards a certification in your desired industry or maybe take an extra online course to improve your skill set. In such a competitive time in the job market things like these can make all the difference.
Push yourself early in your career. If there is any time to fail or make mistakes it is now. The important thing about failure is to learn from your mistakes and to continue learning. You do not need to start your career in what you perceive as your dream job, but if you make the most of your situation and keep working towards that “little extra”, I am sure great opportunities will present themselves down the road.