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Non-Profit Consulting: A Rewarding Pathway to Passion


Austin Fanburg '19
Austin Fanburg '19

Non-profit organizations have always been a devotion of mine. Over the past 10 years I have explored many available avenues, from working with Habitat for Humanity multiple times each year since middle school, to leading groups on service trips all over the country with AXB, co-managing the Hamilton Chapter, to working in the development office of a small environmental non-profit in Maine. When it came time to select a career pathway to pursue my senior year, I was torn in three different directions: follow my pre-medicine trajectory into the field of healthcare, my heart for the nonprofit sector, and my yearning for high levels of intensity, competition, and cooperation in the workplace.

It was in the world of consulting where I found myself, similarly to many recent graduates looking to gain as much experience as possible from their first career without having a clear pathway beyond the next 5-10 years. Coordinated teamwork along with long hours and the ability perform on the spot in unknown, unpredictable situations was a skill set I was eager to learn. I settled on working at CCS, a strategic consulting firm that partners with non-profits across many sectors all around the world to generate short-term success and institute long-lasting, transformational change. At CCS, I have had the ability to work alongside many co-workers from all sorts of backgrounds, traveling to places I never would have had the opportunity to visit, meeting people who are committed to the service-based mindset and driven by performance.

One of the amazing aspects of consulting, as I continue to explore and discover, is that you can mold and shape your experience along the way. A commonly used analogy among associates is that the first three to six months are like drinking out of a fire hose, and eventually you either get used to it or find a way to slow down the water. This was an aspect that excited me, for within my first two weeks, I traveled through six major cities around the U.S., met more people than I could possibly remember, and had unique, interesting, and enlightening conversations with many people who I knew I could always rely on should I need assistance or professional advice. 

Even if you are not the most extroverted individual, which I certainly am not, the lifestyle allows for unlimited opportunity to join an enthusiastic yet competitive, complex yet welcoming community in which creativity and confidence are rewarded with success and approval across all levels of the company. No matter where I am in 10 years, I know that I will have built strong connections and learned more than I ever could have hoped for during my time at CCS. 

As I look to the future, other than going back to school for an advanced degree, my path is still unclear, but  a couple options present themselves currently: to continue in the non-profit consulting field, to move into the public sector of non-profit work, or to take a completely new and unexpected road, harnessing the skills I continually build upon every day. I might even return to the field of healthcare in one capacity or another. If I could offer one piece of advice to those starting to explore their future, it would be to consider as many passions as possible when choosing a career and see how many you can combine in the pursuit of your goals.

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