Like a lot of you out there as I’m getting older the reality that I will soon be entering the real world is starting to set in. I have one more year to live it up but after that I’m going to have to find a real job. Scary stuff. But the last couple summers when I’ve looked for internships I’m starting to realize more and more that it’s not what you know, it’s who you know (unless you want to be a doctor). Getting good grades obviously helps, especially if you want to work for an unreal company like Goldman Sachs, but in the end the connections you make and the network you establish will help a lot more.
This summer when I started looking for an internship in the finance world (I’m a numbers and people guy) the first thing I did was reach out to my neighbor who is a very successful financial advisor and an avid golfer. He was so happy to be helping out a young guy that was interested in the industry. I have very mediocre grades but by the next morning he had set up three interviews for me. In each interview we spent 80 percent of the time talking about golf and none of the guys even mentioned my grades or past experience in the industry (none).
The past year I have met so many people and made a lot of connections just because I am on the golf team here. This past spring break the team and I actually played golf with the Michigan Athletic Director Dave Brandon and a few big athletic boosters. We played at a couple different courses in Arizona that Mr. Brandon is a member at. He’s a member at 6 different golf clubs across the U.S. and he had only been to his amazing house that he calls Camp David (yes, he named his house) in Arizona once in the past year. I even had the opportunity to sit right next to him and his wife at a private dinner they held for their close friends and the team. He’s a super nice guy who has a great vision for the athletic department here at Michigan. Anyways, the point is I never would have had the opportunity to meet him or the other boosters if it wasn’t for golf and I am ever grateful for the opportunity.
So as your college experience begins to wind down, first and foremost have as much fun as possible, but also try to use the resources at your disposal and connections you’ve developed over the last few years. We are lucky to go to a university with a great reputation, a large alumni base, and a good career center so don’t be afraid to use them.