Career Advice With CEO Jeff Galvin of American Gene Technologies

On campus, one of the clubs I am involved in is AcademyHealth, which is healthcare networking club to provide students majoring in healthcare management and policy or those interested in healthcare with opportunities to learn and connect with healthcare professionals. Our first event this semester was a Q&A session with CEO Jeff Galvin of American Gene Technologies. AGT is currently working on a medicine to cure HIV/AIDS and eventually cancer and other health diseases. They do this by working on cutting out the bad genes and inserting good genes. Their solutions are highly creative, so I would suggest keeping up with them if you are interested in biotechnology.

Anyways, onto the career advice. Mr. Galvin had some great pieces of wisdom, and I thought that I would share them with everybody since we are all in the process of looking for internships/jobs.

1. Focus on Developing Your Brain

If you focus on learning and growing your mind, then you can set your sights on anything. These days, if you are into consulting or investment banking (two very popular careers on Georgetown's campus), then you need to be a creative problem-solver and an analytical thinker.

And so, learning new ideas that you have not been exposed to can help you grow your mind and grow as a person. The only security that we have is our brain.

How does growing our brain help us in our career? Because at Georgetown you have to take courses in theology, psychology, economics, politics, etc..., we are knowledgeable about different subjects and have trained our brains to be able to adapt to the different courses we are learning. In real life, you will be exposed to new ideas, new rules, and new perspectives and having a flexible mindset will allow you to succeed by adapting quickly and developing a skill set.

2. Be Passionate!!

You can have a 4.0 and top-notch extracurriculars, but if you are not passionate about the company's idea, then it will be tough for you to excel in your position. People who are passionate are always willing to learn and grow. You have to follow that core inside of you. 

So whatever opportunity you encounter to make sure you are passionate about it. As cliche as this sounds, if you love what you do, then you won't work for a single day!

3. Appreciate Those Hard A's

We've all had those classes. The ones we thought we were going to fail, and so we study and lock ourselves in the library. And then we take the final, and we see that we got an A?! It's those A's that take a lot more effort to achieve that matter more than the A's that we knew we were going to receive the minute we walked into class. 

It's those hard-fought A's that will cause us to challenge ourselves and grow and develop a new skill set. You learn a little something new everytime you get that hard-earned A. Maybe it was studying a different way or learning to ask for help. Whatever it is, just know that you have grown and developed. 

4. Happiness and Peace of Mind

If you're going to compete on one thing, compete for happiness and peace of mind. Well, at least for Mr. Galvin and me, that is our definition of success. Yes, money is nice and all, but if we focus on the materialistic aspects of our life, then wouldn't it be a kind of empty life? If we are all millionaires, then aren't we all just poor?

We should aim to achieve happiness and peace of mind instead. We should welcome everybody and be inclusive as a society. 

Because at the end of the day, if you are wealthy but lonely, are you successful? 

5. Don't Worry About Making the Right Choice - The Only Right Choice is Investing in Yourself

The world is always changing, and sometimes we all feel a little lost in it. I know that I sure do whenever I see my classmates posting about new internships or positions that they have received. It is so hard not to compare ourselves to others, but we should just focus on ourselves. 

But you have to do you. What do you want to spend the rest of your life doing? What are your values? If you figure out the answer, then follow that path that will lead you there. And of course, there are multiple paths but follow the one that you think best suits you. 

But also be aware of reality. Read the news every day so that you can see reality and plan ahead of the curve. Continue to develop yourself and grow your brain. Companies are continually reinventing themselves so that they seem fresh and brand-new. You should do the same for yourself. But don't accept everything because it makes you feel safe. Go against the norm. People might call you crazy, but that is because it is something different. 

So, focus on yourself and be aware of reality. Those who do that will continue to find success throughout their lives. 

6. Have a Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C

I usually have only a Plan A and Plan B, but after hearing Mr. Galvin talk about how he also has a Plan C, I might start having on too. 

Plan A is the aspiration. What is your end game? The answer to the classic "where do you see yourself in 20 years?" question. 

Plan B is realistic. Eliminating all the idealism that exists, what is that you think you can realistically achieve? You can get to Plan B anytime because it is realistic and not full of fairytales. 

Plan C is survival. Just an extra blanket of security. For those who are worriers, Plan C is the plan for you. In case everything falls apart if you have a Plan C, then you will be okay.

Ultimately, you want to stay above Plan C because then everything is open to you. You can get to Plan B anytime because it is realistic, and maybe Plan A but that involves a considerable amount of realism and recognizing all the forces at work that can potentially change your situation.  

I have to say that I learned quite a lot from CEO Jeff Galvin and felt quite inspired and uplifted after the networking session. Sometimes, all we need is a little bit of advice to reenergize us and convince us to keep chugging along.