As my internship winds down, this is a question I find myself being asked with increasing frequency. It’s an innocent enough question and is usually asked with genuine interest and thoughtfulness. It’s also a perfectly fair question. It’s not as though I haven’t given this thought – I came to HBS with a career plan that I have regularly reexamined and reconsidered as I discussed cases, talked with my peers and professors, and broadened my healthcare worldview. But despite all this, I feel my blood pressure rise whenever I get ‘The Question.’ What if I answer “wrong”? Should I be broad or narrow in my response? Am I closing myself out of an opportunity here if I don’t automatically reply that I’d like to explore full-time opportunities at the hospital? Am I sure I want to go back to California next May, or am I just homesick today? How can I appear strong and decisive, yet still give an indecisive response?
After panicking the first few times, I sat down and thought through a response that is open-ended but that also highlights my thought-process on the subject and learnings to-date. Only time will tell whether this response is the “right” answer to give, but I can say this with certainty: the response is entirely genuine and true to who I am, both as a budding professional and as an individual. And really, what more can I ask of myself than that
– Julie Whorton, MBA 2014