Seton Hall alumus Edward Klink talked to Diplomacy students on February 6 about potential careers in the private sector at an event called, ‘Business Careers for Non-Business Majors’. Mr. Klink, Director of Marketing Strategies at the accounting firm KPMG, spoke to students about his own background at Seton Hall.
A communications major, Mr. Klink graduated from Seton Hall in 1989 and was offered a job right after college as a journalist writing classifieds for a newspaper. Klink turned the offer down, however, and accepted a job at a mutual fund instead despite not knowing anything about the mutual fund beforehand. From there, Klink worked his way up until being hired at a fledgling internet company. He was later laid off, but soon found himself at KPMG, one of the ‘Big Four’ accounting firms, thanks to connections he made from other jobs.
Klink used his personal experiences to illustrate that there are opportunities for many types of majors at companies that non-business graduates would not normally expect .
When he asked the room full of diplomacy students about who is planning to go into the government sector or an NGO, almost everyone raised their hands. Klink emphasized that while students naturally expect to go into a certain field once they graduate, most people do not stick to the path that they envision while in school.
Mr. Klink went on to talk about how people of differing backgrounds fit in at KPMG. He said that one coworker is a former teacher and another is a former NASCAR driver. He also pointed out that many, if not most, of the skills used in diplomacy are used in business and talked about how those skills fit into his own firm.
Klink also said that there are many ‘hidden jobs’ at firms that people from diverse backgrounds can fill. Take an advertising firm. He said that while most people would assume that they would need a marketing degree to work at an ad agency, those agencies still need accountants and people with other specialties besides marketing.
One of the key points that Klink focused on was to be flexible when looking towards the future, saying, “Don’t ask yourself, ‘What am I going to do for the rest of my life?’ but rather ‘What am I going to do for the next five years?’.” He also emphasized that “Things will not go according to plan” and provided a series of steps to success for all students regardless of major.
The first step, according to Klink, is to make a plan even if you are not going to stick to it. The second step is to adapt if the plan from step one does not happen and keep your options open. The third step is to build relationships with people, which he said is important for knowing about and getting jobs.
The fourth step is to do more and better work than others, as that will get you further and open more doors than anything. He said that this is essential and provided an example where two people, one from Yale and one from Ramapo College (a state university in New Jersey) were working on the same team at KPMG. He said that if you work harder than other people, nobody will care where you went to school.
The last of the five steps is to persevere in a positive way. He said that this comes down to not only being hard working but also being good to work with and making people want to work with you.
Mr. Klink’s experience and insight about the job market for non-business majors provided the students at the event with knowledge about career paths they likely would not have considered before. As diplomacy students, most expect to go into the public or non-profit sector. With Edward Klink’s advice, however, more diplomacy students may find themselves considering jobs in the private sector as an alternative.