dcsimg

Career Story: Executive At A Health And Drug Abuse Consulting Firm

Executive At A Health And Drug Abuse Consulting Firm

Job Title: Chief Operating Officer

Type of Company: We help colleges and secondary schools address alcohol, substance abuse and mental health challenges within their student populations.

Previous Experience: I rose through the ranks at a think-tank and research firm called The Advisory Board Company in Washington, DC. Following that I worked in the non-profit sector for two years advising social entrepreneurs, and then I spent four years building a custom executive education business for a large consulting firm.

Job Tasks: I am responsible for a wide range of functional areas of our small company, which includes product development, marketing, customer service, technology support and sales. My goals are to coordinate all activities within our business so that we are growing revenue (through new sales and through high levels of customer retention) with products and services that are consistent with our overall mission/strategy.

On any given day I spend roughly half of my time in conversation with the heads of each of the functional areas I mentioned, helping them resolve their challenges -- which might include personnel issues, customer challenges, juggling deadlines/prioritization, competitor issues, budgeting, etc. The other half of my time is spent managing large projects such as identifying a new vendor for our online reporting to customers, developing an agreement with another company that will sell our services as part of a bundle, meeting with a large new customer for whom we might create a highly customized version of our online product, or cultivating a relationship with a company that might be interested in making an investment in our business. These large projects typically take months to come to fruition, and involve lots of relationship and trust-building at the outset. To make these projects successful, I rely heavily on colleagues who very specialized expertise like technology development, curriculum design, financial modeling, etc.

My job feels a lot like the role of a conductor, which is helping the whole orchestra work well together to ensure the music comes to life in a powerful way. The things I worry most about are making sure that our most talented people are happy and learning in their roles, and feel that our company is a great place for them to be. I spend more time on people-related issues than any other area of my job, because I have learned that having the right people in the right roles and feeling challenged and rewarded is the best way to achieve success.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best parts are when the "orchestra" comes together and I can see talented people working together to resolve challenges for our customers, which adds value to our business.

The worst parts of my job are dealing with employees who are immature, arrogant, overconfident of their abilities, and who don't work well with others.

Job Tips:
1.) Pick jobs based on the quality of the people, especially the people you can learn the most from (your direct manager or a mentor).

2.) If you don't get a good (positive) feeling for the culture of an organization, you are probably right! Don't join them.

3.) Reach out and build relationships with people around you, including fellow alumni and people with similar interests. It's important to have people you can go to for advice who can act as a sounding board when you need input.

Popular Schools offering Management Programs

quickinfoThese schools offer particularly quick info upon request, and we have written detailed profiles for each (click school names to see the profiles).

Request info from multiple schools, by clicking the Request Info links.

Matching School Ads

Ready to earn your business degree?

  • Programs: B.S. in Applied Management, M.B.A.: Leadership, M.B.A. and M.S. in Leadership (Dual Degree), more...
  • Degrees: Bachelor, Master

You've found Ashford University, where school comes to you. Earn your bachelor's or master's degree online.

  • Programs: BA/Operations Management and Analysis, BA/Organizational Management - No Concentration, MA/Organizational Management, more...
  • Degrees: Bachelor, Master

Lower Tuition Cost Than Many Other Universities.  Classes Start Soon.

  • Programs: Bachelor of Science in Management, Master of Arts in Human Dynamics, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, more...
  • Degrees: Bachelor, Master, Associate

Pursue your education at Pacific Oaks College.

  • Programs: M.A. Organizational Leadership and Change
  • Degrees: Master
Platt College
Alhambra, Anaheim, Ontario, Riverside

Turn your talents into a career at nationally recognized and accredited Platt College.

  • Programs: Business Management
  • Degrees: Associate

Study online with University of Maryland at College Park.

  • Programs: MBA - General
  • Degrees: Master
San Joaquin Valley College
Bakersfield, Delano, Hanford, Hesperia, Lancaster, Madera, Ontario, Salida, Temecula, Visalia

San Joaquin Valley College - A Private Junior College.

  • Programs: Certificate - Business Administration (Management), Degree - Business Administration (Management)
  • Degrees: Certificate, Associate

Northeastern University’s D’Amore-McKim School of Business is pleased to offer a 100% online MBA.

  • Programs: Online MBA
  • Degrees: Master

Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School has brought the philosophy of business with humanity in mind to a part time format.

  • Programs: Flexible MBA, Flexible MBA - Management
  • Degrees: Master

Earn your graduate degree online with Northcentral University.

  • Programs: Project Management - BBA, Project Management - PhD in Bus. Admin., Project Management - D.B.A., more...
  • Degrees: Bachelor, Doctorate
Matching School Ads
You are visiting:

Find a school near you

What are Career Stories?

Career Stories are concise, real-world career overviews written by people relating their personal career experiences and wisdom. They provide invaluable insights and mentoring advice to students and career changers.

Most stories include:

  • a typical day or project
  • tips and advice
  • best and worst parts
  • educational background
  • previous experience

Browse hundreds of Career Stories

More Details On This Career

Please also see our detailed information about General Managers, including:

Back to Top
SPEAK TO AN ADVISOR 1.844.285.6104