Lauren Lahrman graduated in 2015 from MSU with a B.A. in advertising and a concentration in media management from the College of Communication Arts and Sciences.
As someone who is passionate about change and culture, Lahrman dabbled in many industries.
"I was always drawn to what I thought would leave the biggest impact,” she said. "I focused on advertising because I believed branding and marketing had the biggest societal impact."
Eventually, however, Lahrman landed in technology.
"It drives innovation in every single industry around it,” she said. “Technology defines our lives.”
When Google turned her down during her job search in her last semester, Lahrman thought her one shot at getting her dream job was over. But then, she started applying to as many tech companies as she could.
“One month before I graduated, Microsoft made me an offer that I could not refuse,” Lahrman said. “The funny thing is, I've been contacted by Google about their career opportunities twice since joining Microsoft.”
In a sense, Lahrman was lucky that her transition from college to career was smooth. Her insight on the matter is, “the initial city you move to does not equal the city you stay in forever.”
Lahrman also said students should look at potential career paths and not necessarily consider what they are passionate about first, but what they are good at. “It’s easier to turn talent into a passion than it is to turn a passion into a talent,” Lahrman said.
Her mentor Professor Karl Gude is an exceptional example. Gude initially moved to New York wanting to be a children’s book illustrator and currently heads the information-graphics program at Michigan State University’s School of Journalism.
"Never dismiss the doors that open to you just because it wasn’t a part of your original plan,” Gude said.
Although Lahrman was involved in campus organizations, she stressed the importance of building relationships with her professors and networking.
“Taking the time to develop a connection is a pertinent skill," she said. "It’s what has gotten me this far in life,”
In her final year, Lahrman worked in the Assistant Provost’s Office at MSU and met many faculty members and visiting scholars.
“It opened my world of contacts wide up, the people who teach and work and visit and share at this school are one in a million,” she said. "I haven't found that to be any more true now that I've graduated and no longer see these people every day.”