Adrien. Business and Management Graduate. University of Exeter.

I graduated from the University of Exeter in 2014. I had worked as a salesperson in a retail store during the entirety of my Bachelor, and that was more or less the entire extent of my professional experience. I didn't know how to look for a job. I didn't know how to interview. My worse offence, however, was being French in the UK.

I tried to make it work for a few weeks, but quickly abandoned the English dream and went back to France, hoping to find a job there. Not really knowing what I wanted to do. I considered going back to retail, for minimum wage. GRB got me an interview to be an assistant. I didn't even get that.

I persevered, and called / emailed the HR at the company that had just rejected me every week for two months to show them how eager I was to work there. This has a very, very low chance of success. Do not attempt; it will not work. I should have focused my energy on applying elsewhere. But it worked for me. I became account manager at a software company.

Obviously, this sounds like a tale of grit and courage. It's not. I had just met a wonderful girl, whom I believed deserved to be showered with gifts and dinners. So I did everything to move to Paris with her (sometimes in life, all you need is one really good decision), while avoiding minimum wage again. That was 10 years ago. I was 20. We're married now.

After two years selling software, I still was a bit lost and dissatisfied. So I went to do a Masters, and that's really when everything changed. I'd like to, once again, thank free European education. It was all easy from there: Consultant, Senior Consultant then Strategy Manager at Accenture - the world's largest consulting company.

So, a few lessons:

  1. Don't follow your dream: people who say that are already rich.
  2. Giving up is often the best choice there is. Too many people drag along projects with poor odds of success for far too long.
  3. You only improve when you're up against someone who's better than you. Move to the capital (whatever megalopolis is nearest to you) and get a Masters' degree.
  4. If life shuts a door, open it again. It's a door. That's how they work.
  5. Choose your industry wisely; it's better to be an average surfer on a big wave than a great surfer in a bathtub.
  6. The most important decision in your life is picking a partner. Compatibility, shared values, friendship, trust, responsibility, character, etc. matter at least as much as love.
  7. Success is wonderful, but the crises are what will define you.
  8. You don't find purpose, you create it.
  9. Get up. Dress up. Show up. That's always a good start.
  10. Don't underestimate the role of luck in life. Not all success is due to hard work, and not all poverty is due to laziness.