Earlier this week, Ogilvy & Mather recruiters came to our campus to share about their summer internship program and offer advice to interested students. At one point during the session, the recruiter mentioned that typically around 2,000 applications come in each year, and only 20 of them are considered, and then finally hired.
Of course, I was interested.
And today one of my classmates and I were having a conversation about this opportunity; discussing how amazing of an experience that would be as well as how difficult the application process seemed. He started to described Ogilvy as “the Harvard of ad agencies” and proceeded to tell me it was a waste of my time to apply. I responded, “It’s not a waste of time. If Harvard is an option, you choose Harvard, always.”
After the conversation, his comment and overall attitude just lingered in my head throughout the day. It forced me to realize that he wasn’t alone in his thoughts, everyone thinks that way, myself included. We sell ourselves short and create limits on what is possible and what is not. Some call it “realistic,” but really, it’s a trap.
We need to have bigger dreams, bigger ambitions, and even bigger faith in ourselves that we can make it. One Forbes article I read recently described the top 10 traits of the most successful people in the US, and none of those traits included intelligence, inherent skill, or adequacy; however, traits did include persistency, optimism, and self-respect.
What does that mean? It means you don’t have to settle for plan b and watch your better friends steal the life that you imagined. Countless times throughout my life, I quit a sport/hobby/club because I genuinely believed I wasn’t “good enough”— someone else was better, prettier, faster, smarter, stronger, richer, etc. But it’s not those type of people who make it in the world, it’s the people who work hard, see their weaknesses and make adjustments, it’s the people who envision a goal and make realistic steps to make it happen. Ultimately, it’s the people who don’t give up. You don’t have to be inherently gifted or naturally smart or born from a rich family, you just can’t give up.
We all have a “Harvard,” and if you can define what that personally means to you, make it your goal right now and shoot for it. Because in the end…
Harvard is never a waste of time.