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“Tap into your Northeastern network and find people who can help you turn your idea into a career”

When rethinking career directions, for Casey Hogan, DMSB’15, her Northeastern network helped her set out on an unconventional path.

When Casey Hogan started her Business Administration undergraduate at the D’Amore-McKim School of Business, she thought she knew what she wanted to do – marketing. While earning her degree, she completed three coops: two in marketing and project management, and one a mix of the two. She enjoyed operations and project management, but her marketing experience opened up more job opportunities during her senior year. She took on a marketing role at a Boston-based company, after graduation. However, Hogan quickly realized that this wasn’t the path she wanted to take. Her real passion was on the operations side.

“It was a difficult decision,” said Hogan. “I expected potential employers to question why I wanted to be considered for an operations role, given my marketing experience – and they did.”

The Innovation Ecosystem at Northeastern supported Hogan through the process and helped her find opportunities in operations. From the co-op office, to Northeastern University Center for Entrepreneurship Education (NUCEE) – designed to help entrepreneurs become leaders – there was a team of cheerleaders serving as her mentors and advisors.

Add to this, Hogan’s personal drive and achievements: from 2013-14, she was President of the Entrepreneurs Club – which connects students with accomplished entrepreneurs, startups, and resources to help them explore their passions. This led to her receiving the Amin J. and Julie E. Endowed Scholarship for technological entrepreneurship, which was critical in helping Hogan head to San Francisco for her final co-op at MyFitnessPal. While in San Francisco, she met additional mentors who later helped her think through her career decisions.

Her mentors encouraged Hogan to take a step back to pursue her life-long love of food, and operations, by accepting an internship at the Boston-based, Flour Bakery.

“When I told my support system at Northeastern that I wanted to whole-heartedly pursue operations, and my passions within the food industry, they helped me lay out a plan to make it happen.”

Ultimately, a mentor at NUCEE introduced her to her next employer, the Food Loft – a Boston-based co-working space for food startups. This was her avenue to strengthen her network and operations experience, which led to her current role as Market Manager of the Boston Public Market. She will be starting her new position in November 2017.

It’s been a journey of steep learning curves for Hogan.

“To anyone thinking about starting a company or making a big career shift, take that idea seriously. Explore it, and don’t rule something out because it’s not what everyone else is doing,” said Hogan. “Nobody in my class was going to a bakery after graduation, but that experience allowed me to learn a lot about operations and efficiency. Tap into your Northeastern network and find people who can help you turn your idea into a career. There are many smart, accomplished people here, who are often very willing to give their time to help out a fellow Husky!”

published November 2017