The Success Circle is similar to the Frustration Flowchart, but with two key differences.  The order is reversed and the process is cyclical.  We choose a cyclical process because we want to evaluate several options to determine the best return on investment BEFORE we invest our money.  Continue reading to understand the value of reversing the order of the Frustration Flowchart.

Success Circle – Step 1: Choose a Career

Choosing a career is like choosing a market to sell your skills and services.  How do we do our market research?  The Fortune 500 is an excellent sample to do market research on.  There is plenty of data on these companies.  Don’t look at just the top ten.  Too many graduates exclusively apply to companies with prestigious names like Facebook, Apple, & SpaceX only to get denied.  They then complain that no one is hiring.  Spend a good amount of time looking at the bottom 3/4ths of the list.  This is where the jobs are.

Go to their corporate websites and browse the job openings.  Identify and take note of job titles that are frequently listed across multiple websites.  Choose one that you would like to examine further.  This will be the first career path we will explore.

Success Circle – Step 2: Choose a Degree

This is the easy part.  You’ve just explored a list of job openings that are common and interest you.  These job descriptions list the requirements for the position.  Usually the first requirement is the relevant degree for the job.  Note this degree down.

Success Circle – Step 3: Choose an Educational Institution

We will qualify educational institutions by several criteria as follows:

  1. The most obvious criteria is to make sure the institution provides a program for your desired major.
  2. The next criteria is nearly as important, but much more difficult to quantify.  This criteria is the relationship the institution has with the industry you are targeting.  A strong career fair is the best indicator for industry relationships.  Most universities have a career services website.  Here you can find details about the size and quality of the career fair.
    • A quality career fair has a good ratio of companies to graduating students.  This ratio is dependent on many factors including degree choice, current economy, and time of year.
    • A high quality career fair will have many fortune 500 companies and most importantly these companies will offer both intern and co-op programs.
  3. An equally important criteria is the cost of attendance.  This is easily found on a university’s website, typically in the undergraduate admissions section.  Be cautious here.  Many universities are offering lower tuition for the freshman year so they can advertise a lower cost of attendance.

Success Circle – Step 4: Calculate ROI

Calculating ROI is such an important and detailed concept we will give it its own segment in this series.

Success Circle – Step 5: Repeat

Since engineering is an iterative process we will repeat this process until we get the greatest ROI we can reasonably come up with.

Be sure to checkout the last segment of this series, calculating your return on investment.