Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Financial Consulting as Preparation for Being a Professor

I continue to be amazed at how my former profession as a financial consultant has shaped me in my current job as a professor.

When I was a financial consultant living in Florida, I had to start my business from scratch. I had no wealthy connections and no personal money to invest. The odds were against me succeeding. But I developed a strategy that targeted new retirees moving to Florida that worked for me.

In order for me to implement this plan, however, I had to do a lot of cold calling, seminars, and marketing. I remember staying in my office late at night returning calls and making initial connections. The key for me was making sure that my pipeline was always full, which meant that I was always doing something to grow my business. Even if I didn't experience quick results, I continued to fill my pipeline by making outgoing calls to new residents, following up on leads, planning seminars, and mailing information. Eventually, I was rewarded for my efforts as I added new clients and grew my asset base.

I have incorporated a similar strategy in my current profession as a professor. I continue to work at adding entries to my cv knowing that I will most likely not enjoy the fruits of my labor until much later. I spend hours each day in isolation reading monographs, preparing the material for the courses that I teach, and doing research for journal articles and books that takes months, and sometimes years, to see in print. As time progresses, my hard work pays off and I add entries to my cv: publications, courses taught, awards, presentations, and professional service. The more that I work to fill my pipeline, the more entries I add to my cv. The lesson that I learned in my former job as a financial consultant continues to hold true: work hard even if there is no immediate payoff.

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