Defining values and working toward a calling

Looking for one’s calling or purpose is a pretty daunting task, especially at only 22 years old and still in an undergraduate program. Although I say that my concentration is supply chain management, I am still trying to figure out how this can manifest itself in my career. Getting caught in those thought processes while still in school can be stressful, but this is also the prime time to start setting the cornerstones for finding said purpose, by having those hard conversations with yourself. That is what I realized during “Management as a Calling.” This program consisted of two off-site retreats, secluded from technology and our common spaces, and co-curricular lectures with inspiring guest speakers. Led by Professor Andy Hoffman, I and the other program participants engaged in a series of workshops and exercises that helped us deeply evaluate what it is that we value most in our lives. During this experience, I learned how defining what we value—and staying true to it no matter what happens around it—is key to living out our purpose.

In my personal experience, I looked back on what gets me energized and matters to me the most. Three things that helped me find my purpose are: Puerto Rico, the environment and people. I was born and raised in Puerto Rico, and I have seen firsthand how the lack of an efficient system to maintain public infrastructure, combined with increasingly strong climatological events, can significantly deter the quality of life. The reason I studied business was because I saw how business could be a leading force for positive change in society, especially in a place with as much need as Puerto Rico. Whenever I have worked with people for a common cause, whether in school or in public service, I have felt the most energized. 

What really amazed me about this program was not only its structure and the exercises we went through but also the people who surrounded me while doing so. Being around people who are driven by something greater than themselves, who want to have purpose in what they do on a daily basis, inspired me to strive for more in the search for my calling. Many of my peers were graduate MBA students, and as an undergraduate, I learned so much from hearing about their experiences in work and life in general. From people who have worked in roles similar to those I am applying to, to peers who have worked as elementary school teachers and other non-business-related roles, meeting this cohort is something that I will forever be grateful for. What I experienced in this retreat is only the beginning of a long journey to finding my calling, but it laid an important foundation for living more purposefully and committing to doing business for the greater good.