How To: Know Yourself For Early Business Steps

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Even going back to our very first interview with Mari Andrew, we’ve received a lot of advice about the importance of knowing yourself to guide your professional path. Beauty mogul Vicky Tsai, from last week’s interview, highlighted this important concept for this week’s how-to by sharing a book she swears by. She first read it during her time at Harvard Business School (HBS), and it’s been her number one recommendation for aspiring businesswomen ever since.

“It’s called Discovering Your Career in Business. And it’s written by Dr. Timothy Butler who runs the career center at HBS. When you got to HBS they make you take an inventory assessment quiz. It’s not lot like, ‘Are you an introvert or extravert?’ but instead asks you how you value things in your life - ‘How much do you value time vs. money? Personal time vs. work time? How much do you like talking to people vs. thinking quietly?’ It’s really trying to get down to what your value system is for work, and what your work style is because that’ll tell you a lot about what kind of job you should do. And [this quiz] is available in the form of this book.

And that experience for me was one of the most eye-opening kind of experiences that I had because it made me realize that finding work that I loved meant more than a title and a company. So for anybody who knows that they think business is interesting, but they aren’t really sure what they want to do in business, I recommend starting [with this book]. And then from there, from what you learn about yourself, then you can learn about careers that interest you, and then from there I would do informationals.

If you think private equity would be interesting, entrepreneurship would be interesting, reach out to a network of people who do anything close to that and just ask for an informational interview. If you are able to afford it, especially if you’re in school, do as many externships (short term internships that are during the school year) as you can. Internships are great, but they take a lot of time. Externships are just a little more lightweight. Because the more things you try out, and see, and learn…even knowing what you hate is important, you know?”

Thanks so much, Vicky! Before you all rush off to figure yourselves out, don’t forget to mark your calendars for next week, where you’ll have access to the mind and insights of the woman who’s in charge of New York’s hottest co-working space. Hint: her name is also Audrey…!