How to Decide Your Career Path?

The framework consists of 3-step-process for you to follow:

  1. Create your hypothesis – develop a career hypothesis that you might be interested in testing. This could be an industry, job, or function that sounds interesting to you.
  2. Test your hypothesis – read articles, speak to people working in the space, join competitions or programmes, or even landing an internship.
  3. Evaluate your hypothesis – after you test, take a step back and reflect on it. Then it is your decision to refine and continue testing your hypothesis or pivot to a completely new hypothesis.

 

Creating your hypothesis

In this first step, it is important that you come to the first interesting idea to get yourself started. Chances are you probably already have some workable interest. There are many ways you can arrive at your interests. This can come from classes, conversations, and readings.

Some common example from our mentees expressing their interests:

“I enjoy sciences but I don’t see myself working in research or a laboratory setting.”

“I don’t have an interest in business school, but I love applying visual designs.”

“I enjoy solving business problems for different companies with new technology.”

 

As you’ve noticed, your interest statements can be general or narrow. That depends on how much thought you’ve put into your career aspirations. But the most important part is translating them into “I think I want…” statements.

“I think I will work in the business function of sciences”

“I think I want to work in UI/UX design within a company”

“I think I want to work in consulting”

 

Test your hypothesis

With your career hypothesis in mind, it is now time to test whether it is something that you would want to pursue. It is important that you are able to quickly test your hypothesis and decide whether to refine or pivot your hypothesis.

Here are some ways you can do to test your hypothesis, ranking from easiest to hardest:

  1. Reading online – this could come from online articles and forums, or even taking relevant classes.
  2. Joining a programme, competition, or event – competitions and programmes that specifically tailored to the industry or function that you’re interested could fast track your decision.
  3. Talk to people working in that particular industry – reaching out to people through your university alumni network, LinkedIn, or simply book a FutureLab mentor to know more about the industry you’re interested in.
  4. Intern in a company in that particular industry – basically mimics very closely to the day-to-day activities of the industry that you’re interested in.

 

For example, If you think you want to in consulting.

It is important that you start by googling about the industry first. Highlighting the top companies within the industry and what kind of services do they offer. In the process, start refining your hypothesis as you look for information.

After some research, you find that strategy consulting (Find out what’s the difference between Big 4 vs MBB) is particularly interesting to you. So your new hypothesis should be: 

I want to work in technology consulting

If you’re still interested, start pouring your efforts attending events, consulting programmes, or even competitions to validate your interest. Then taking a step further by reaching out to people who are already working in that industry.

All in all, the goal is to constantly test and refine your hypothesis. Always remember to dig deep and focus on higher effort ways like networking, and internships.

Evaluate your hypothesis

So after putting in the time and effort, you actually went for a summer internship with a consulting firm. Then there are two possible outcomes: 

  1. You LOVED your internship experience
  2. You HATED your internship experience

 

You LOVED most of the internship experience

This means that you can continue to build a specific hypothesis to explore the industry and truly understand where do you want to start off in the industry. So thinking about what you liked & disliked in-detail during the internship.

Taking our consulting hypothesis as an example, you might be able to derive some interesting insights into technology consulting.

  • You found that consulting is quite high paced and enjoyed the nature of it
  • You enjoyed the high-level problem solving of consulting – working with directors
  • You enjoyed solving business problems with cutting edge analytics for clients

 

Then, you should take a step back and evaluate your hypothesis. Your refined hypothesis could be: 

“I think to want to work in technology consulting focusing on analytics”

 

You HATED most of the internship experience

Though it is the opposite of the positive experience, you learn a great deal about what you clearly don’t want in your career. It is extremely crucial that you reflect WHY you didn’t enjoy your internship and start refining or pivoting your hypothesis to move forward.

Taking our consulting hypothesis as an example again, you might arrive at the following insights after your internship in technology consulting:

  • You didn’t enjoy the unstructured and face paced environment of consulting
  • You found it quite hard and technical to keep up with technology

 

Then, you should take a step back and evaluate your hypothesis. Your new hypothesis could be:  

“I think I want to work in a slower pace environment in a commercial firm”

 

Then you repeat the process over again, testing your newly refined hypothesis until you find you.

 

In Conclusion

Throughout the process, it is beneficial for you because you are able to learn about yourself at a much greater rate. Furthermore, this also helps you to systematically maximise your potential through experimentation and filling up your resume with solid experiences.

Source: 2by22