We recently caught up with Andrew Waldman, 2014 graduate of Kansas State University, to discuss the opportunities at K-State that helped him be successful in his career. Andrew, a Shawnee native, received a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Industrial Engineering. He now works for Deloitte Consulting.
Describe your transition from college to career. What were some of the major adjustments?
I actually had an unexpectedly quick transition! I wasn’t able to finish my Master’s thesis in May like I had planned, so I had to delay my graduation until August. I wrote and defended my thesis that summer while also completing a full-time internship at my fraternity’s Administrative Office. I finished my internship in Ohio on August 15, and moved back to Kansas over the weekend to start my first day at Deloitte on August 18. It was chaos. But I’d say the biggest adjustment was (and still is) learning how to balance a career with my personal life. There is literally always more work to do, but most of the time it’s not worth sacrificing quality time with friends and family on the weekends. The work will still be there on Monday.
What resources at K-State, if any, did you utilize to help with your future career?
As far as getting the job, I really leveraged the Career Center. I went to the Career Fair, did resume critiques and mock interviews, and tried to take advantage of the K-State Industrial Engineering (IE) network. But as far as actually preparing for my career, I owe a lot of that to my involvement in professional organizations like Blue Key, Student Alumni Board, and Student Foundation. Interacting with alumni and other professionals on a daily basis really polished my social skills in ways that a classroom just can’t do, and I’d say those are the soft skills I use more often.
What advice do you have for current students as they finish their degrees and hope to start their careers in their given field?
That’s tough! There’s so much I wish I could tell 5th-year me. If I had to narrow it down to just one piece of advice, it would be never settle… but I mean a few different things by that. First, just because you’re graduating, don’t let that be an excuse to stop learning. Second, surround yourself with people who challenge you to set lofty goals, then push you to achieve them. And finally, if you don’t like your job, do something to change it. I’m not saying that you should become a serial job hopper just because the work is hard, but we’re too young and life’s too short to be in a career that makes us miserable.
What experience at K-State best prepared you for life after graduation?
I firmly believe no experience prepares you for life after graduation quite like being a fraternity or sorority president. There’s just so much adversity when you’re trying to make decisions that impact 100 of your closest friends and peers! Much like a career, there are people you don’t agree with, but the fraternity experience adds a little twist because at the end of the day when the decisions are made, you have to live with those same people. I developed a greater sense of empathy and patience and compromise throughout that year, and all of those things have helped me be a better employee today.
What role did your parent(s) play in your collegiate years as well as your transition to career?
There’s no way I could have done it without them. They’ve always been my biggest supporters. Honestly they just let me experience college and become my own person. Sure they set up some guardrails, but they’ve always encouraged me to be independent. And then at the end of the day, I think they crossed their fingers and hoped I’d graduate as a gainfully employed, self-sufficient adult with integrity and a strong moral compass.
Thank you, Andrew! We appreciate your time and input!
Authored by PFA intern, Annie Jewell