Navigating Setbacks

How four recent Fisher grads moved forward from failure

April 2020

writer & designer: priyanka jain  photo: alexandria jackson, vattsa mehta, nick stewart, grace goldenberg

Alexandria Jackson ‘19

Major: Marketing with Nonprofit Management Minor

Current Position: Retail Sales Representative at Hershey in Boston, MA

Please share a failure from college. What did you learn and how did you move forward from it?

  • I took the first accounting class twice and that was a hard failure to deal with because not only did I want to achieve academically in college, but also I did not think I would struggle this much in a class. I took it the first time and barely passed with a D+, and then I took it a second time to raise my GPA and passed with a C-. I was putting so much time and effort into the class and was not getting the results I wanted out of it. I learned so much from not passing this class, but the main thing was play to your strengths. As a marketing major, accounting and I did not click; however, this failure allowed me to focus on what I was good at and really hone in on my skills! This allowed me to excel in my major classes and find new interests, which is how I ended up in sales today!

What advice do you have for business students entering the working world?

  • There is such a HUGE learning curve with starting a new job, moving to a new city and starting adult life post college. You honestly just have to take it day by day and just wake up the next day ready and willing to learn and be better.

Vattsa Mehta ’19

Major: Finance and Economics

Current Position: Consulting Analyst at Accenture in Columbus, OH

Please share a failure from college. What did you learn and how did you move forward from it?

  • As a freshman I applied to a few clubs and business fraternities that I really wanted to be a part of; however, I did not get accepted. At first, I was really upset and felt a little less in terms of self-worth, but in hindsight, not getting into those clubs allowed me to allocate more time to Scarlet and Gray Financial — the financial literacy program run by the Student Wellness Center. That was when I really found what I was passionate about, and I was able to stand out to some extent in terms of doing something "different". I wish as a freshman I cared less about what everyone else was doing and what groups they were a part of because by my senior year, I was able to have a significant impact on campus and, to my surprise, I was recognized quite a bit for it.

What advice do you have for business students entering the working world?

  • In the working world I have realized that I don't know everything and that sometimes, as a new college grad, it is better to closely observe others and my seniors. I beat myself up in some cases because I am a perfectionist, but the whole point of being in an entry level position is to learn. So really just breathe, see where things go and try to be a sponge.

Nick Stewart ‘18

Major: Marketing with Design Minor

Current Position: Graphic Designer at WD Partners in Dublin, OH

Please share a failure from college. What did you learn and how did you move forward from it?

  • I initially came to Ohio State to study design. For one of my first projects, we had to create a 3D installation that would be showcased somewhere in the design building. I created this massive boat made out of newspaper that I meticulously cut, folded and stacked together. Two days before it was due, I spent 10-12 hours straight and even had a great backstory that carried a deeper meaning than just an amazing boat sculpture. Towards the end, I sent a picture to my professor to double check that this would meet the requirements and my professor said, “you did not understand the assignment.” I completely misinterpreted the goal of the project and spent hours on something that I wasn’t supposed to do. I was so angry that I had wasted my time. I had a choice to turn in this project that I knew didn’t fit the requirements or create an entirely new project. I went with the latter and ended up doing well on the project. It was not a failure in grades, but a failure to read directions, a failure to not ask questions, a failure to not consult my peers and a failure to take off my blinders. It’s always better to start over and do it right than give up and keep it wrong.

What advice do you have for business students entering the working world?

  • Don’t be afraid to reinvent yourself. It’s never too late to add new skills, pick up hobbies, or change what you want to do or who you want to be.

Grace Goldenberg ‘18

Major: Accounting

Current Position: Staff Accountant at Meaden & Moore in Cleveland, OH

Please share a failure from college. What did you learn and how did you move forward from it?

  • When it came time to hunt for a full-time job after graduation, my GPA was not as high as a lot of my top choice companies required. I was frustrated because I knew that I would work hard to be a good employee but felt like I was getting rejected because my grades were just under the threshold. I thought I would never find a job that I was truly excited about. I started applying to any company I could find, whether I knew much about it or not. All of the jobs that I applied to were industry accounting jobs. I was almost positive that public accounting was not for me, but I applied to one public accounting firm because my sister told me to apply. I went to the interview to get more experience, not expecting to want the position, but when I finished my interview at the firm, I just knew I felt comfortable there. I tried to fight it, but I could just tell that that is where I wanted to be. One year in and I am in the middle of a 70-hour work week, but I cannot believe how much I have learned and grown in just a year. The people here are incredible and genuinely invested in me as an employee, and I have zero doubt that I chose the right place.

What advice do you have for business students entering the working world?

  • The key to being successful in your first year of work and getting settled is to find one person or a couple of people that you click with right away and then go to them with your questions/for general advice. They can introduce you to other people and next thing you know, you’ll know everyone.

Responses were edited and shortened for clarity.