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The following are three plans I envisioned for myself as in the future.


1. Wolf on Bay Street

The first future I envision for myself is becoming a management consultant. Since being a little kid, I was always drawn to strategic games -- real-time strategy games like Starcraft, trading card games, and even tower defense. I find it exhilarating in winning through calculated means. In addition, I value developing strong interpersonal relationships in all areas of life. Management consultants also work with a variety of clients, from different industries. This allows for diversity in the type of work and I will not be confined to doing the same tasks. All these factors contributed to my interested in aspiring to be a management consultant. They regularly interact with clients and deliver solutions to their problems.


The first step I would have to take in becoming a consultant will be to develop the necessary skills consultants use regularly, such as case analysis, having strong mental math skills, and being proficient in financial modeling. The next step is to pursue a Finance and Economics Specialist degree and do a PEY (Professional Experience Year) after my third year to enhance my skills during recruiting season in my fourth year. Optimistically, an ideal job would be working for the Big 3 consulting firms. I would spend around 10 years in the industry and eventually pivot to becoming a venture capitalist.


Some challenges I may face are my competency in the talent pool for an internship spot during my undergraduate career and the workload of being a consultant. Consulting, as a field, is very competitive among undergraduate business students. Not only is there very limited spots for internships, but there is a growing demand for consulting jobs in recent years, therefore making it an even more competitive field. There are not very many Rotman students that secure consulting positions as internships also. After speaking with some upper years who are also looking into consulting, the common thing they bring up is ridiculous  the workload. One can easily expect an upwards of 60-70 hours per week on a regular basis.

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2. MadMen

The second future I can imagine myself doing is a career in marketing. Even from my experiences in high school, I really enjoyed making posters and other creative media for extracurricular purposes. A career in marketing allows me to bring out the creative and sales aspect of myself. Fortunately, marketing is a broad umbrella term that can be split into two categories -- sales and branding. One deals more with the analytical side of marketing while the other deals with strategic campaigns of marketing. Jumping between both sides would not be a very difficult transition, in terms of careers, thus choosing the marketing path would bring variety in work and options for long term career alternatives.

The first steps I would take is to get into photography. I have always been interested in the field and doing photography as a hobby would help actively stimulate the creative part of my brain. Graphic design would ideally be the next step, after photography, in terms of hobbies to explore. In terms of academics, I would still pursue a Finance and Economics Specialists, because I am more interested in the sales aspect of marketing and such role deals with analyzing numbers regularly. An ideal position would be to work in big corporate firms, such as Amazon or P&G.

This future is the safest and most reliable future to work towards to. The biggest challenge would be in successfully securing a job in the early years in my career.

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3. Disruptor/Risk Taker

The third future I would pursue is being an entrepreneur. I was exposed to entrepreneurship in junior year of high school where I participated in an entrepreneurship venture with some of my friends. Prior to that, I did not realistically consider entrepreneurship as a viable career path, I envisioned an entrepreneur as someone with a tremendous amount of talent, like Elon Musk or Bill Gates. My view of entrepreneurship changed a lot with that venture. One of the biggest draw factor is the relaxed startup culture. The best illustration would be the company culture of big tech companies like Google and Facebook. The relaxed culture in those companies is almost a polar contrast to the strict traditional corporate culture.

A big part of entrepreneurship is the practical aspect rather than the theory. The first step I would take is starting my own eCommerce business. Such business is perfect for as a part-time side project as it does not require a big time commitment on a daily basis and it is relatively easy to setup thanks to all the tools we have access to (eg: Shopify for the platform, SquareSpace for the web design, Alibaba for suppliers). Next would be to learn to code on the side. It is definitely difficult as a commerce student to join a team for a startup (compared to a technical degree). I hope in learning programming languages, it would complement my business background. An ideal goal for me would be to work in the startup space but also able to sustain myself financially. This path would also allow me to pivot to becoming a venture capitalist later in my career.

Much of entrepreneurship lies in uncertainty and dealing with the ambiguities. The primary concern with the entrepreneurship future is stability. Startup success rates are notoriously low (~5%) and often co-founders forego income for the initial period of time. Thus, a big challenge in pursuing this future is juggling risks versus reward of being an entrepreneur.

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FINAL

Frank Zhang

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