Written by Melissa Summer. 1 min read.
In this episode of The Myers-Briggs Company Podcast, we speak with Julie Gross, founder and president of Collegiate Gateway LLC, a boutique consulting firm in New York City providing counseling on personality and interest assessments, college and graduate school admissions, and career planning.
In this episode, Julie explains what makes the ideal career, and provides tips for those starting out on their career. We also discuss the intersection of personality and interests and how career assessments can help people get on the right career path, and we hear stories of individuals who turned their skills and interests into satisfying careers.
Other questions answered in this episode:
- How do you define a successful career?
- What tools do you use to help people with their career choices?
- What tips do you have for people changing their career?
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Intro: Welcome to The Myers-Briggs Company podcast, where we bring together thought leaders, psychologists and personality experts from around the world to talk about work life, home life, and how to get the best from life.
[BACKGROUND MUSIC ENDS]
Melissa Summer (MS): What do you want out of a career? For many people, the answer that comes to mind first is a paycheck. You have living expenses, so you need a way to earn money to pay for those expenses. But what if you went to work excited about what you were going to do each day? What if in your career – where you’ll spend about a third of your life – you had a purpose that motivated and inspired you? In addition, what is it exactly that makes you as a unique person excited about one career that someone else might be dreading? The path to your ideal career isn’t always straightforward. Whether you’re starting your career journey or looking to make a transition, sometimes the path to an ideal career looks a lot more like a toddler’s squiggly doodle than an escalator.
So, how do you find your ideal career or how do you find a career with purpose? Is there even one best fit? Today’s guest is here to give us some insight and direction on that exact question. Julie Gross is the Founder and President of Collegiate Gateway LLC, a boutique consulting firm providing counseling on personality and interest assessments, college and graduate school admissions, and career planning. She’s a Certified Educational Planner, a Myers-Briggs Master Practitioner, and a Strong Interest Inventory-certified Practitioner.
Julie received her bachelors from Princeton University in developmental psychology and earned her masters in education from Harvard Graduate School of Education, and her MBA from Harvard. Julie has been involved with pro bono work strengthening public education in New York City, providing strategic direction to private schools in New York City metropolitan area, and advising a national organization about expanding music education to underfunded schools throughout the country. Ooh that is quite a resume. Welcome Julie!
Julie Gross (JG): Thank you so much Melissa for that introduction. And I am absolutely delighted to be here and to discuss my favorite topic, which is the MBTI and Strong assessments.
MS: Perfect. Well we’re excited to have you and I know that there’s going to be a lot of good information that comes out of this podcast. So let’s get right to the questions. First, in your opinion what makes for an ideal career?
JG: So I think first you need to define success for yourself, which is very related to personality and interests. And I can illustrate this using myself as an example. Each of the six Strong Interest Inventory themes has a different driver or motivator. My strongest interests are in the Social, Investigative, and Enterprising themes. People with a high interest in the Social theme are driven to help, guide, and counsel others. This is what motivates them the most in their career.
And this also correlates with my MBTI personality type of ENFJ, in which my heart of my type is NF, the combination of Intuition and Feeling, which relates to my enjoyment of empowering others to reach their potential. People who like the Investigative theme are motivated to satisfy their intellectual curiosity, which absolutely resonates with me. And the Enterprising theme involves the enjoyment of managing projects and people.
So I view my own career as very successful in that I run an organization that provides assessments and admissions counseling to individuals with the goal of helping them reach their potential. And I use my intellectual curiosity to learn about them and about specific fields of grad school and careers that would be a good fit. For each person, a successful career will be a unique blend of their personality and interests, as I’ve Illustrated with myself. And hopefully will also provide a work-life balance, challenge- I mean opportunity to contribute to society in a productive and meaningful way.
MS: Perfect. I like especially the contributing to society in a productive and meaningful way. That seems like it fits really really well with that heart of type that you were talking about – those two middle letters of the MBTI.
JG: Oh absolutely.
MS: I’m trying to remember. I’m pretty sure with my interests, the themes were AES – so it’s Artistic, Enterprising, and Social. And I remember when I went through the interests that I realized marketing, for me, that fits really well because it’s the graphic design, the creative writing, but also the Enterprising part and the Social part of helping people. And I think in general The Myers-Briggs Company – the mission of the company as far as helping people – relates to that.
JG: Oh absolutely. I think we can interpret each of the interest areas very broadly. So if someone has a strong interest in the Artistic area for instance, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they want to have a creative career such as in writing or music or dance, but it could be that they want to apply their creativity to another realm.
MS: Well that kind of transitions to our next question, which is, so we’ve talked about what makes for the ideal career but how do you find what makes a successful career – and are those two things different?
JG: So I think that’s a wonderful question Melissa, and a lot of it is really getting to know each individual inside and out. And that is my first step, to gather a tremendous foundation of knowledge. And I do this through dialogue, asking questions, creating a safe space for people to share their reflections and experiences. So I’m interested in what each individual has found satisfying in their past, but also what has not worked as well for them. And I want to help peel away the “shoulds” and the obligations. Individuals may feel a pressure to pursue certain directions as a result of family or cultural expectations, and my objective is to help them identify their true authentic goals. So the tools of the MBTI and Strong assessments are invaluable.
As a Master Practitioner I’m able to offer individuals access to the robust versions of these assessments that are validated by the Myers-Briggs Foundation and only available to individuals through a special website that Certified and Master Practitioners have access to.
The first step is for individuals to take these online assessments, which produces reported results. And a major aspect of the Myers-Briggs philosophy is that there may be – and often is – a difference between reported and verified results because people may answer questions the way they think they should instead of answering authentically. And our goal is to identify the person’s true, innate personality and genuine interest so the follow-up interpretation session that I always conduct is critical in order to validate and interpret preferences and interests. And this is always an exciting discussion because increasing an individual’s self-awareness is so powerful in helping people live a fulfilling life.
MS: You mentioned MBTI personality type and that you walk people through the assessment to find out how to find out about their authentic self. But how does knowing about personality type help someone in their career?
JG: That is such a great question because I am devoted to these assessments, but then the bottom line is how can they actually help individuals? So people are satisfied when their career choice is aligned with their personality and interests, and it’s very impactful to look at the intersection of personality and interest. Let’s talk about personality first. The MBTI assessment identifies an individual’s personality preferences along four dichotomies. And these include preferences for receiving energy and stimulation, processing information, making decisions, and lifestyle preferences.
Each of the four MBTI preference dichotomies impacts an individual’s participation in an organization. As an example, let’s look at the preference dichotomy for receiving energy and stimulation, which includes the poles of Extraversion and Introversion. This greatly impacts how much you would like to interact with others in your career and how you will participate on teams.
And now let’s look at the heart of type, which is the combination of the two middle preference dichotomies of how you prefer to process information and make decisions. And this greatly correlates with different types of work environments. For example, my heart of type is NF – the combination of Intuition and Feeling – which correlates with the enjoyment of empowering others and helping them reach their potential. And often people with the NF combination also like the Social interest theme in which people are driven by an interest in helping, guiding, and counseling others. So they would be happiest in professions such as teaching, counseling, and providing therapy.
And the opposite heart of type combination to mine is the combination of Sensing and Thinking. And this is extremely analytical and not as people centered. Often people with the ST combination are driven by an interest in investigative analytic work, so individuals with the ST combination may be happiest in professions such as finance, computers, and research.
And I’d like to give an example to show how nuanced this can be. Let’s say an individual is very interested in medicine. And medicine is one of the areas that I provide graduate school advising in. So if you have an NF combination, you may be drawn to primary care, pediatrics, or psychiatry where you have enormous interaction with individuals. If you have an ST combination you could still pursue medicine, but you may enjoy radiology, for example, which typically involves very analytic work conducted alone with minimal interaction with patients. So you can see that you could have a certain career choice, but understanding personality and interest can help you refine exactly what specializations within that career might be the best fit for you.
And now let’s just throw the Enterprising interest theme into the mix, which is the enjoyment of managing projects and people. If you have a strong interest in Enterprising and medicine, perhaps you want to run your own medical practice. So there’s an infinite number of ways that all of these six Strong Interest themes can interact in a satisfying way.
And I would like to note that the MBTI and Strong Interest Inventory reports are based on extensive research, and research that is regularly conducted again to validate all of the results. So, for example there’s enormous research on which of the 16 MBTI personality types are most satisfied in each of the thousands of occupations in the database. And this is not prescriptive. It doesn’t tell you what you should do as a career, but rather encourages you to consider an array of options.
MS: I know we have the research team at The Myers-Briggs Company. Dr. Rich Thompson is one. I believe he’s our Senior Director of Research and he’s been with the company, I think it’s been at least fifteen years so I can vouch for our research. I can point you over to our research team if anyone has questions.
But what you’re saying about both the MBTI preferences and the Strong Interest Inventory interests, it’s interesting because there- it’s almost like a layered approach, like taking different perspectives. I know a funny story. When I first got MBTI certified, I was in a group with one of our accountants at The Myers-Briggs Company who also got certified and we both came out with preferences for INFJ. And in my mind I’m thinking, “oh of course, I do marketing, it’s NF as those two central letters. It’s helping people understand things, but I have the introverted side and so I take more time. And then I realized that the person on the accounting team also had those preferences and I was trying to figure out how in the world can someone who has preferences for INFJ like I do, want to do accounting. I would never want to do accounting. I don’t even want to touch accounting with a ten-foot pole.
But then when we went through with the Strong Interest Inventory and realized that our skills and interests are completely different areas, it was really illuminating because it made me realize okay well I can have a certain interest and there are things that interest me about my occupation because of my personality preferences, but that doesn’t mean that it’s going to be the same for someone who has the same personality preferences I do.
JG: Absolutely. So for example, someone with an NF combination in accounting, the N is the intuitive big picture and maybe that’s someone who would like to develop models such as actuarial models. And maybe they’re very interested in how that impacts people’s choices of different insurance plans. So that’s where the F comes in, which is the interest more in the application of people. So definitely all different personalities can find fulfillment even in the same careers, but possibly a different variation of that career or a different component of it.
MS: And speaking of that, so I’m sure that there are different types in different areas of the organization, but is there such a thing as a team personality in an organization? Is it more likely that, for example, a group of nurses is going to have a Sensing Feeling preference? Is there such thing as a team personality?
JG: Absolutely. And I am fascinated by this because in addition to the hundreds of individual MBTI assessments I’ve conducted, I’ve worked with dozens of organizations to help the individuals understand their own personality, the team personality of their organization, and how each person can best contribute. In your example, the SF combination is considered the practical helper. Often, nursing and teaching would be ideal fields. And in terms of correlating that with the Strong Interest Inventory and those themes, there would certainly be the Social theme for helping people and also there could be the Artistic theme for helping people in creative ways. And if it’s an individual who would like to manage nurses and have an administrative or management role, that could involve also the Enterprising theme.
So it’s very interesting – all the different ways that the Strong Interest Inventory themes can combine. In terms of a team personality in organizations, it is the sum total of the four different preference dichotomies. So in my experience, for example, in working with an organization that has a marketing department and a finance and operations department, what I often will find is the operations, finance, accounting departments will often be more Introverted, more Sensing, and Thinking. And the marketing could definitely be Feeling because the orientation to people is so important. And often it would be the Intuition, the N, which is big picture and interpretation. So a marketing person would benefit from being able to have a big picture idea of the organizations that they’re dealing with and what their motives are, and the individual people. So that NF compared with the ST will have a diametrically opposed way of communicating.
One of the ways that I recently illustrated this when I did an organizational workshop for four hours for a few different departments is I composed a performance evaluation. So I made up a particular individual and I had their pros and cons in terms of the information that a manager should convey to them about what their strengths and what their areas for improvement were. So I gave an ST person in operations and NF person in marketing, in advance of the workshop, the exact same profile of an individual: “here are their strength, here are their areas for improvement. Spend some time preparing how would you give a performance review?”
And they each reviewed the other person. And I think it was one of the most fascinating exercises that I’ve ever conducted or that anyone in the room- there were fifty people in the organization. The organization has thousands of people worldwide, but they gathered the fifty top managers. It had such an impact because with the exact same information, the marketing person started with the positive: “Here are all the ways you’re contributing so well to our organization; here are your strengths. And there are just a few areas I think it could be very helpful. I’m really willing to work with you. I can give you more feedback about it.” And then the ST person came in immediately: “We’re very disappointed with a number of aspects of your performance.” And just focused on the areas for improvement.
This is one of the many aspects that I personally found most fascinating when I myself went through the initial certification program, which is I think we tend to assume that other people react and are motivated the same way we are. And this is one of the many beautiful aspects of going through an MBTI verification is you realize the different approaches of people with different preferences. So as a Feeling person I would prefer receiving and giving feedback in terms of what I call the positive sandwich. So what that means is Feeling people need to hear something positive first. They need to know that they are liked and valued before they can hear any of the critique and feedback about what they could do better. And then they want to end on a positive note.
However, a Thinking person, in contrast, would not have the patience to hear that positive at the beginning. They just want to get right to the feedback. They want to know what can they do to improve things. So when you go through this kind of verification, it opens your eyes to the fact that people with different preferences like to approach life in a different way, their vocabulary is different, their communication is different. So definitely, understanding the team personality – not only of the entire organization, but also of each of the departments – is absolutely critical. And it affects how the people in the department communicate with other people, and it also affects how people make decisions.
So there’s a theory of effective decision-making called the zigzag approach. And what this posits is that the most effective way for an organization and an individual to make a decision is a four-step process that involves both of the poles of processing information and both of the poles of making decisions. So the two ways of processing information are Sensing, which is literal and Intuition, which is big picture. The two ways of making decisions are Thinking, which is objective and then Feeling, which is more subjective and people oriented.
So here’s how the zigzag process of making decisions would work. You would first go through the two different poles of processing information: Sensing, which is very literal and fact-based. And then Intuition, which is big picture. And then the two different poles of making decisions are Thinking, which is analytical and objective; and then Feeling, which is subjective and people oriented. So the four-step process would be first, Sensing. Gather all of the data and the detail that’s relevant to the decision or the problem that you’re facing. Then, Intuition, which is identify all of the different options of how you can deal with that challenge or problem. Then we go to Thinking. You analyze all of the various options. And then finally, Feeling, which is you consider the impact of the options on people.
Since each of us has a preference for either Sensing or Intuition and a preference for Thinking or Feeling and the same way in an organization, which has a team personality, it means that we might tend to leave out two of these important steps. So again, using myself as an example, if I have strong preferences for Intuition and Feeling, perhaps I’m leaving out the gathering data and then the objective analytical. So this is one of the most important aspects to consider in an organization, which is you really need people with all of these different preferences in order to make sure that you cover every step of effective decision making.
And this is one of many ways that understanding your own personality can help you contribute in the most productive way to an organization, which also can help you move up in your career. And the more knowledgeable you are about your own personality and interests, the more you can apply that to the people that you’re working with. And this can help you interact more effectively with other people, manage them more effectively, and give you much more mobility within your organization and career.
MS: I know that you can’t, or rather, you’re not supposed to- slash it is unethical to use the MBTI to hire for certain things, so if you have, for example, a team of people who all prefer Thinking, you’re not supposed to go out and just hire someone who prefers Feeling just to you know, have that diversity of thought on the team. But I like what you’re saying about the zigzag model. I’ve heard it called the Z model I think. It’s that even if you have a team that has just one preference, you all know what the other preferences that you’re missing, and you can actively try and think in that way or use that preference.
JG: Oh it’s like adding more tools to your toolbox. Often if I’m working with an individual who has a very strong preference for Sensing – for being very literal – I will encourage them to discuss situations and problems they need to solve either personally or in the workplace with someone who is more Intuitive, who could think in a more interpretive big picture way and help them see another perspective.
MS: And mentioning tools too, I realize that some of the people listening, I feel like most of the people listening probably have a good idea of what the four dichotomies are of the MBTI – the eight letters that could possibly make up your four-letter type. But would you mind just going through quickly what the six themes of the Strong Interest Inventory are? Because people might not be as familiar with that? I know we’ve mentioned a few, like Artistic and Enterprising. But if you could list those, I think that would be helpful.
JG: Oh absolutely. So it’s often called the RIASEC theory because that is the acronym for the six different themes. So it’s Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional. And I’ll go through each of them.
Realistic people like to fix and repair things, and often that involves heavy machinery and is done outdoors, so it’s also correlated with nature. It could be occupations like a policeman, a firefighter, a park ranger.
Then we go to Investigative, which is correlated with problem solving and scientific research. These are people who are propelled by their intellectual curiosity and like to analyze and solve problems. A lot of the professions in the Investigative realm end with “ist,” so it’s biologist, chemist, physicist, economist, psychologist.
And then we go to Artistic, which is the desire to express creativity. But it’s not only the immediate realms that you might think of: writing, music, and dance. It could be any forms of creativity like interior design, architecture, cooking, and baking. And this is a good point to also remind everyone that the Strong Interest Inventory captures not only interest in academics and potential career paths, but also hobbies. So when you take the assessment it could capture an area that you would love as a hobby, like baking, but maybe that’s not your actual career choice. Some of the professions in the Artistic realm would be creative writer, dancer, choreographer, architect, baker, musician, composer.
And then we go to S for the Social realm. Social is not to be confused with Extroverted in the MBTI schema. Social means the desire to help, council, and teach other people. So if you have a strong interest in the Social realm, it must be conducted with other people, whereas Realistic, Investigative, and Artistic can often be done alone. But you cannot accomplish the Social realm of helping other people without other people. This is a very collaborative, relationship-based theme. And some of the occupations would be teacher, counselor, therapist.
Then we go to the E for Enterprising, which correlates with both business and law because it’s driven by the motive to persuade and influence. So when you think about it in the business realm, you are persuading people to buy products or services. In the legal realm, you’re persuading them to buy your ideas. It correlates with all different aspects of law and management, marketing, retail, and the enjoyment of managing both people and projects.
And then finally the last theme in the RIASEC framework is Conventional. This is the enjoyment of systems and being organized. And because we use computers so much for that, it’s very correlated with computers, software, information systems, but also anything with numbers: so accounting, finance, banking. So, a lot of times people combine math and science as a STEM field, but in the RIASEC framework, the love of science would be typically more in the Investigative with research and problem solving. And the love of math would be more Conventional with numbers and systematic organization.
MS: Thank you for that. I even learned something new. I didn’t realize that Enterprising could be- I knew of it as business. I didn’t realize that law fell into that category too.
JG: Oh I’m so glad that that was informative. One aspect that I find so fascinating is how these themes interact with each other. You could take any two letters and the order of them suggests different occupations. So for instance let’s take S and A.
MS: Wait, when you say order, what determines the order?
JG: So when you take the Strong Interest Inventory, it yields your degree of interest in each of these six themes. So there’s a bar graph that shows how interested you are. Let’s say for instance your greatest degree of interest is in the Social realm and then the second is Artistic. So you might use the creativity of the Artistic realm to help you in the Social realm, which would be helping people. So that could be, for instance, thinking of creative ways to use different forms of therapy, let’s say, to help an individual reach their potential. Now if you switch it and the Artistic is your strongest theme of interest and then Social, then you’re going to use your motive to help people and to motivate them to further a creative enterprise. So in that case, you could use your skills in collaboration, helping people reach their potential. Maybe you’re the head of human resources of a music company. I think that is so fascinating that the themes can kind of act on each other in different ways depending on which is the strongest driving motivator for you in your career.
MS: So you mentioned the MBTI and the Strong as tools that you use, but how exactly do you help people with their career choices, using these tools?
JG: So, the first step is to give people access to these online assessments and that generates the reports. And then I would meet with them for several hours and verify their personality and interests and interpret what that means, and then discuss the specific occupations that are suggested for them based on the intersection of their personality and interests. And see, of what is suggested, which is truly of the most interest. And then at that point we could do a deep dive. So there is a website called O*NET, Occupational Network, that has information on the thousands and thousands of occupations that are in the Strong Interest Inventory database. And for each of those occupations, it provides extensive information on the education that’s required, the training, the responsibilities. One of the creative tasks that I suggest for people to do is look at the various occupations that have been suggested for you and highlight the particular tasks that appeal to you the most and see if you can think creatively of a field or even a new occupation that could combine everything that you love doing.
And I think some of my examples of how relevant that is to our world of constantly evolving occupations is about twenty years ago, there was no such thing as an iPhone app developer. That is a relatively new field that many people are hugely successful with and the first time someone thought of doing it, they were aware that they loved computers, they loved creativity, they typically enjoyed working alone. They put together all of these different aspects and started to work in a very different field.
And I can use myself as an example because being a college and grad school admissions consultant, which is part of the work I do in addition to assessments, is a relatively new field. I would say about 30 or 40 years ago, this field did not exist. And in fact, when I considered what kind of work I would like to do about twenty years ago, I was eager to make a career change, which is also an area that understanding your personality and interests can help you in enormously. And so I thought of everything that I loved doing, and what are some occupations that could combine all of that? So in my field, I’m running a business – that’s Enterprising; I’m managing people and projects, which is also Enterprising. I’m helping people – Social – I am interacting with them enormously. The Investigative part comes into play because I am researching new fields, and college and graduate school lists that would be a good fit for them. I use computer systems – I’ve developed a proprietary software app to organize all of the information, which is Conventional. And the Artistic is a lot of creativity in helping students brainstorm essays. And the same with when I conduct assessments. There’s an enormous amount of creativity in helping people identify a career that would be a great fit for them.
So, I have actually covered every one of the Strong Interest themes except for Realistic. It is true, heavy machinery is not one of my interests. But all of the other themes, I bring into play in my work. And this is an excellent example of how you can think of what you most enjoy doing and then try to think of occupations that would tap as many of these interests as possible.
MS: That’s fascinating. Even just that career transition and your own story of moving to something that could use all these different parts of your personality and your interests and your skillset. I’ve seen – when you were talking about the RIASEC and using the different parts of that – I’ve seen something similar when it comes to your ideal career, which is the Venn diagram of three circles that overlap where one is something you’re good at, something you enjoy doing, and then third is a need or something someone will pay you to do this. And so if you can get two out of three, you’re doing pretty good. But if you can get all three, then that’s great. But I think a lot of the problem that some people run into is we don’t know what we don’t know when it comes to careers. We don’t know all of what’s out there, especially students.
JG: Absolutely. That is so true and that is one of the many reasons that these assessments can be invaluable is that they can open eyes to careers that you weren’t even aware of. And even if you think that maybe you would like to run a business or would like to be a lawyer, there are so many specializations that going through the assessments can open your eyes to different areas within the broader theme of what you’re interested in.
Another example that was so moving to me many years ago: I was working with a student and one of his themes of interest was Enterprising. He was very interested in politics. And in fact, he had started a new website to crowdsource people’s different political opinions to provide a forum for people to have a dialogue. And when we went through the verification, I showed him that the Artistic theme was so strong in his reported results. And he said, “That’s not possible. I’ve always thought the rest of my family is so creative, why aren’t I creative?” And I said, “You are, because you created a new website with an entirely new idea of what you wanted to accomplish. And that is a form of creativity. You can interpret creativity in all different ways.” And I truly feel it changed his self-image in a way that increased his confidence enormously because he had always valued creativity, but didn’t realize how it applied to him.
Another example is a student who was a professional level magician. And he taught himself; he went to magic camp every summer. He loved magic. In the course of doing the assessment, one of the themes that came up was Enterprising. And I said to him, “How about starting a business in which you advertise that you could do magic at parties?” And he was floored because he always wanted to see if there was a way he could convert this love of magic to something marketable. There are so many ways that learning about themes of interest can expand your world of what you can accomplish in a way that’s very satisfying.
MS: It sounds like- I’ll bet you have just an incredible catalogue of stories like this. And I wish I could listen to them all day because they’re so interesting.
JG: Thank you Melissa.
MS: So with that too, I’m sure there’s a lot of students or people who are looking to maybe transition their careers. Just as we’re wrapping up, what advice do you have for someone listening who might be either just starting a career or is maybe looking to make a career transition?
JG: Wonderful question. In terms of someone starting their career, I think one of the most important pieces of advice that I could give is to be open to options you haven’t even considered. I’ve been talking about how different themes of interest can combine in fascinating ways.
And also, do not feel a pressure to choose a career for life. That may have been the model fifty years ago. But there’s no longer the expectation that you should remain in your first job for 10 or 20 years, and new careers are constantly developing. Career paths are now so much more circuitous, where each of your job experiences informs your future choices.
So I provide grad school admissions as well career advising, and another trend is that individuals are working for several years before going to grad school in order to become more knowledgeable about what you enjoy and what your goals and preferences are. And that leads right into career transitions.
Reflect on what you have most enjoyed and what haven’t you enjoyed, and all of that is very useful. It’s just as valuable for you to have tried a job and found that it wasn’t satisfying, and that can inform your future choices. So there are always new fields being created that are combinations of different skills. I mentioned iPhone app developers, there’s financial software developers. Make a list of every work activity you have most enjoyed and then try to creatively devise a position that integrates all of those responsibilities. And if you’re applying to graduate school, it is just as acceptable now to use graduate school to make a pivot as it is to use graduate school to increase your skills in the area that you’ve already been working in.
MS: Ah I never thought about using grad school as a pivot to a different career transition. So I got my MBA from Santa Clara University and I do have to say I was surprised at how many people in my graduate program were computer scientists and engineers who were then using that knowledge from the MBA program to transition into management and leadership positions while still having the tech background to understand enough about the people that they were managing and the projects they were working on.
JG: Oh absolutely. I’ve worked with many candidates for business school who were in finance positions and found that they didn’t enjoy it that much and wanted to pivot to marketing. So definitely, it is very acceptable as long as you can demonstrate a strong degree of interest in the new area and some familiarity with it. But I think pivoting has become extremely common now among people in their 20s and 30s and even beyond.
MS: Do you have any suggestion if grad school might not be in the cards for someone? What’s another way that someone could make a job transition to a new field if grad school isn’t an option for them?
JG: So one of the most popular pivots recently is coding. Computer software. There are a variety of coding boot camps in which you need to demonstrate proficiency before you’re accepted into the boot camp, so you need to teach yourself some coding for a month and then you’re accepted. And you need to learn more for a month and take a qualifying exam. And that enables you to then take a three- or four-month very intensive course, and guaranteed to receive interviews and at least one job offer doing coding for a company.
Software has become so common in terms of underlying every single industry. In fact, I attended a business school admissions conference and they were mentioning that tech is now part of every aspect of business. So there’s no longer finance, it’s fin tech. So that would be one example. In addition, there are MOOCs. Massive open online courses which started about ten years ago, which leading universities in the country – Princeton, Harvard, Stanford, MIT – started courses that are available free of charge to people all over the world, in every possible field of knowledge. And it is more acceptable now to be self-taught, and you can acquire enormous knowledge on your own that could allow you to pivot.
In addition, in the area of finance, there are also boot camps. Wall Street has a variety of financial boot camps that will enable you to have an entry-level position in a banking firm. There is such a different career environment now where it’s no longer a straight-line path through education through a bachelors and then a masters. There are many other vehicles that you can use in order to pivot to different careers.
MS: That’s so much good information. I’ll make sure to put this in the show notes, these resources, because I feel like there’s so many that you mentioned I need to go back and type them all up for this. Thank you so much Julie for joining us for this podcast episode.
JG: Oh it has been absolutely my pleasure. And I wanted to mention that although I’m physically based in New York – I have offices in Manhattan and East Hampton – but I conduct nearly all my meetings now on Zoom with clients who are individuals and organizations all over the country and internationally. And I’m always delighted to offer a complimentary half-hour consult where I can get to know the individual or organization and describe my services and how we can work the most effectively together.
I encourage people to look on our website: Collegiate Gateway dot com [www.collegiategateway.com] and anyone could fill in a simple contact form for a complimentary consultation.
MS: Perfect. So that’s how people know where to find you. Part of me hopes your inbox does not get flooded, and the other part of me is very aware that it may very well get very flooded after this episode. So you’re going to have to use that Conventional organization part of your skillset to manage all of those inquiries I’m sure.
JG: That would be wonderful since I love people so much. I truly feel every new person I work with enriches my life, so I’m absolutely delighted to meet new people.
MS: Perfect. Well, I will put that website in the show notes as well. Thank you so much again for your time. We appreciate it, and hope to speak to you again soon.
JG: My pleasure Melissa, this was so much fun. I greatly enjoyed the dialogue.
Outro: Thanks for listening to The Myers-Briggs Company Podcast. If you like what you heard today, please share it with others, post on social media, or leave a rating or review.
Thanks again and we’ll see you next time.
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