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Nonlinear career paths can get you further, alums say

New podcast follows entrepreneurs and innovators across their careers

how i got here

The expectation of landing the perfect job after graduation can be stressful for college students at competitive schools like Northwestern University. 

And that’s an experience that The Garage, Northwestern’s central entrepreneurial hub, is trying to change. Elisabeth Wright, The Garage’s marketing manager, said reminding students that there’s no right way to build a career can be useful.

“We want to remind students that success looks different for everyone,” Wright said.

To do that, The Garage is launching a new podcast, “How I Got Here,” to challenge the assumption that all professionals have linear trajectories to high-ranking careers. Starting today (Jan. 5), the podcast will release episodes every Tuesday that trace the journey of young professionals with interesting jobs at prominent companies such as Apple, Instagram, YouTube or their own startups. More than 60 student-founded startups emerge from The Garage each quarter.

Connor Regan graduated in 2016.
By listening to host Mike Raab, the associate director of The Garage, as he follows Northwestern alumni from college to career, listeners will receive lessons and tips for landing their dream job. The first episode of “How I Got Here” follows Connor Regan, ‘16, who now works for Google. 

The entrepreneurial bug bit Regan during his time working on startups at The Garage. He says The Garage allowed him to supplement what he was learning in class with real-world experience.

“The pressure of the realness is part of what drove the learning,” Regan said. “At one point, I was running a late-night student-run business which means if the customer needs something at 1 a.m., then I need to be up at 1 a.m.”  

The Garage invites students to various networking and professional development events throughout the year. On Jan. 20, The Garage will host a virtual startup matchmaking event, where 20 student-founded startups will share pitches and calls for help with interested students.

Outside The Garage, Northwestern has a comprehensive career services department. Northwestern Career Advancement supports students and alumni by offering programming and promoting partnerships with employers, academic departments and the University community. The department aid students in everything from resume help, to procuring clothing for interviews, to counseling, to gap-year support.

The Garage serves as physical space and a network of resources for students with big ideas and an interest in entrepreneurship, helping to give them what they need to thrive in any career. Founded in 2015, the hub welcomes any student at any level of study and from any school with an interest in entrepreneurship and innovation — and an idea.

Learn more about “How I Got Here” and subscribe here.

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