“Tell me about a time you failed.”
Mood Music: Gallant – Manhattan (Real Slow Remix)
“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” – Steve Furtick
I hope you’re doing well. This piece is dedicated to the student leaders of Binghamton University, incoming, current, and outgoing.
I’m writing a personal note to them, and I encourage them to also share what they know about leadership and connecting with others. Otherwise, my wish is that this piece connects with many of you, and you take away something of value.
To start off, I hate this question:
“Tell me about a time you failed.”
But this is my answer:
– Got enrolled in SOM without me knowing, and impulsively decided to become a Finance major because it sounded cool
– Wanted to be hot shit but knew nothing, and lost my cell phone within 2 days of college
– Was taught how to take a bus by a member of the Video Game Association
– Rejected from Dean’s Mentoring Program (no interview)
– Did M&A Case Competition (first case competition) and was a nervous wreck
– Waitlisted for RA
– Rejected from OA (only like 7 people got rejections after group process including me lmao)
– Lost China Care Club Treasurer Elections
– Lost Video Game Association Vice President Elections
– Rejected from PwC Scholars
– Got my first internship interview and didn’t get the position
– Legitimately thought girls couldn’t get mono because a couple girls jokingly told me that
– Rejected from Dean’s Mentoring Program a 2nd time (got an interview this time at least lmao)
– Missed a pop quiz class trying to catch up on work for that specific class (ACCT 211)
– Got a C in Accounting 211 (thank you TAs for rounding it up)
– Rejected from Management Consulting Group Task Force
– Lost Management Consulting Group VP of External Affairs Elections (I wasn’t even 2nd, I was 3rd lmao)
– Lost Management Consulting Group EVP Elections (29-30, I actually lost by 1 vote)
– Legitimately demoralized that I got triple rejections from MCG lol
– Failed Korean Language 1 (I honestly wasn’t too upset)
Junior Yr & Senior Yr
– Got a C- in Finance 311
– Dropped my Finance major to become a Consulting & Leadership Major
– Had a hard time getting interviews for a while during Junior Yr
– Rejected from TAMID Binghamton National Charter (I was on E-Board and it was brutal)
– Didn’t get that GEICO Ambassador position I really wanted
– Did 12 case competitions throughout the 4 years, only won 1 (I got some nice final round experiences though! 4 to be exact)
– Thought lingerie was pronounced ling-ger-ree
– Still pronounces Kamsahamida wrong
I failed so many times during college, but this is what I have to say about that:
When I lost China Care Club elections, I reran and got VP. When I lost VGA elections, I reran and got Treasurer, and continued to be Treasurer for 3 years. At the start of Sophomore Year, I was on 4 E-Boards. In the middle of Sophomore Year, I became an RA and President of China Care Club.
Throughout my time here, I was on E-Board for 6 different organizations, and had 6 paid jobs/internships (I never had one before college). 6 of my rejections came from SOM programs, but I stayed involved, and became a J-Core TA, MGMT Mentor twice, and SHRM Treasurer for 2 years.
I secured a full time position with GEICO before my Senior Year began, and I did countless resumes/LinkedIn profiles/cover letters/CVs/grad school statements/mock interviews/presentations/professional development workshops to help other people secure their future as well.
I started a journal Freshman Year that is now 750+ pages, documenting every important moment and person in my life. I have written/interviewed for 7 (I think?) different Binghamton University media outlets. I was featured by Asian Outlook 8 times (thanks AO) and I performed at an event for every other ASU group at least once. During my Senior Year, I performed at 41 different events.
I only got so many opportunities from trying, but most of my opportunities came when I tried AGAIN.
Leadership is about changing yourself. That’s not possible without pressure, and more importantly, resiliency.
I have an undying willpower to connect with people and experiences, which drives me even when I get my ass handed to me multiple times. If you have a similar drive, and you’re just as willing to get your ass kicked, then trust me, amazing things will happen for you.
Know what you want, create a way to get there, and most importantly, understand exactly the pain you will need to endure on the way.
If you do all of that, then you won’t need to follow your dreams. They’ll follow you.
Thanks so much Readers.
P.S. To all of the incoming, current, and outgoing student leaders of Binghamton University, I probably don’t know what’s next for you, but I know you have what it takes.