This week the Business Builder’s brought in Michael Lee all the way from San Francisco. Michael Lee is an Ohio State and Harvard alum with a degree in Finance. He has worked for GE, had experience on Wall Street doing investment banking, started a new division of a solar power company in China, and now has his own Electricity company, Evolve. Evolve, sells wholesale electricity that uses machine learning to predict price spikes of the market in order to cut people’s electricity bills in half. For this meeting Michael took a more laid back approach in order to obtain a truly candid and genuine conversation. He did this by letting the audience dictate the point of conversation. He reminded the audience to take everything you hear with a grain of salt, as no one’s advice is always the perfect solution, and that you should always know the perspective of the person you are receiving advice from. Michael went through a list of Professional Advice, Startup Advice, and Life Advice and then ended with an ‘Ask Me Anything’ formatted Q&A. Everything you see below is a paraphrased form of what Michael had to say.
Top 5 ‘Ask Me Anything’ Questions and Answers:
“What skills should we be building at OSU?”
- Emotional Intelligence. Everything will be automated 20 years from now and learning how to read people and engage in meaningful, face-to-face conversations is extremely important. People buy from people they like. Smile when you talk to someone. Actually get to know someone when you talk to them. In the end it will make all the difference.
- Time Management. It is not about what you say yes to, it’s about what you say no to. Your time is valuable and when you only have so much of it, choosing it wisely is extremely important.
“What is the best job to get right out of college?”
- Work for a Startup. Don’t go corporate. In the corporate world, you are going to be given a 5 year plan before you even step foot in the door. Your role is extremely defined and leighway is minimal. Embrace the chaos of a startup. See what it is like to have several undefined roles and not have your future predefined for you. You will learn a massive amount more about yourself and in general.
“How do you learn the Ins and Outs of an industry without having spent years in that industry?”
- Students have the best excuse to talk to someone new, yet this power is so often overlooked. There are so many alum that would be eager to talk to a student that is actually interested in what they do. Get on LinkedIn and show the interest you have for an alum’s industry and they will gladly tell you all about it.
“Because our future job might not be invented yet, what are the most important skills for us to have to prepare us for the future?”
- Always be learning. Stay curious. Don’t graduate from learning when you graduate from college.
- Know how to get a job at a Startup. Look at all the different deals that close on a day to day basis by using interfaces like Crunchbase. Startups from series A to E are closing deals and looking to deliver capital. They need people to help deliver this capital and are always looking for hires.
- Look at macro trends in the market in order to orient your skills properly.
"What’s your best advice on how to grow your professional network?”
- Don’t talk to people your own age. The people that boost your career and give you context are the people with more experience than you. Don’t talk to the 60 year old CEO’s because their knowledge is limited. They are too far removed from the industry. Talk to the people that are somewhere in the middle. The people that know the ins and outs of the industry, kind of hate their job, and most importantly know what’s wrong with it. They will be of the most value to you. Then as their career grows, they’ll often bring you along with them.