Our Campus Recruit spotlight series introduces recent graduates that are making the transition into the professional world.
This month, we talk to Kyle Brown, a Process Excellence Consultant in Columbus.
1. When did you start with Centric? What did your recruiting process look like?
I was fortunate to have a good friend who interned with Centric the summer between our junior and senior years of college and he encouraged me to check out the company based on his good experience. At the Ohio State Career Fair, I was immediately interested based on the level of enthusiasm Centric’s recruiting team showed while speaking to more than 1,000 students.
After the speech, I attended our campus information session and met a few people who were willing to talk ad-nauseam about our shared interest in process improvement. That’s when I cemented my interest in the company.
Centric Columbus actually has a unique recruiting step, which I love, where they get the entire team from a location office together for a meet-and-greet with recruits. I loved meeting everyone in Columbus – and it gave me a much better sense of the culture at Centric than any amount of interviews ever could have.
I accepted a position with the company a week after that event. I started in May 2015 after I graduated from Ohio State University.
2. Tell us about your work experience prior to coming to Centric.
Prior to joining Centric my work experience included a supply chain internship at a chemical company as well as a warehouse job for Ohio State. Both of those experiences taught me a lot about what I was looking for in my first job out of college.
The company that I did my internship at had a great culture and my coworkers were all phenomenal to work with on a daily basis. At the warehouse, I had the best boss that anyone could ask for. He taught all of us the value of continuous learning and developing your skills as you continue to progress in your job.
So naturally, when I began looking for a job for after college, I knew I wanted to be surrounded by people that I wanted to work and collaborate with on a daily basis – and mentors that would drive me to continuously improve. In Centric, I found both of those things.
3. What has the transition between campus life and working for Centric been like?
The transition was not difficult at all. It helps that Centric has some extremely cool people that I get to hang out with on a regular basis.
Life on campus is great because your hours are extremely flexible as is your ability to do new and interesting things in your free time. Centric provides a high level of flexibility and a lot of opportunities to work on things outside of your normal work hours and your normal skill set. That being said – I was never a morning person and I enjoy making my own schedule.
Centric has a great respect for my personal time and that has definitely helped the transition because it allows me to continue to get out and do a lot of the things that I was involved in prior to joining the company.
4. What has been the hardest part of the transition been? The easiest?
The hardest part of the post-college transition for me was being self-motivated. It’s very easy to hit deadlines when there is someone grading all of your work and prescribing dates.
All that changes when you are the person who has to set dates and people ask you how long work will take. I struggled with this, but ultimately became more organized than I was in college and the additional accountability became empowering.
The easiest part of the transition has been the work itself. There is rarely a single answer to any problem in the world of business, unlike in school. This leaves you open to brainstorming and the possibility of developing many solutions to any given problem, which is incredibly freeing.
5. What is your favorite part about working for Centric?
My favorite part of working for Centric is the people who I get to work with. I have met great mentors and coworkers who have become friends. We have a great company culture that is hard working, inclusive, caring, and most of all fun – and I think everyone I have met here embodies that culture in their own unique way.
The other thing that I love about working for Centric is the flexibility. There are plenty of roles at Centric just waiting for people to step into them and define them. And if a role doesn’t exist, people have the freedom to create it.
I was fortunate enough to tackle some event planning for our Columbus team, and they really let me run with my ideas about what social events should be.
6. How does your current role fit into your desired career path?
When I joined the company, I tried to tell anyone who would listen about my desire to work in Process Excellence (PEX) and they told me they would do their best to find relevant work for me. Those promises were not just lip service.
All of the roles that I have performed so far have been related to PEX and developing a skill set in Business Process Improvement. I don’t know what skills I want to develop next, but I know that no matter what they are, I will have advocates in leadership helping me.
7. What is your advice to those looking for careers after graduation?
Be open to new possibilities. I was dead set on going straight into a supply chain role because that was what I studied and it was also the work I did during my internship.
But when Centric came along as a technology consulting opportunity, I had to totally reevaluate my plan. It turns out that all of the skills I learned were easily transferred – and this field can set me up for the future I want better than any entry-level supply chain job could.
You may not know the perfect fit for a career, but you can roll with the opportunities.
8. What are some of the biggest lessons you have learned during your time here?
The most difficult lesson that I learned while working for Centric is that your work style will not be compatible with everyone you have to collaborate with. A large part of being a part of a team can be aligning expectations and making sure that everyone is working toward a common goal – and that is alright and a natural part of any process.
The most important lesson that I have learned is to be a self-advocate. Never be afraid to tell people what you want and be very clear about it. No one can help you achieve your goals if they are not aware of them – or the resources that you need. People are happy to help you as long as you let them.
9. Can you describe an unmatched employee experience that you have had while you’ve been with Centric?
Even though Centric is not a travel-heavy consulting firm, I was told there would be travel opportunities when I joined the company. So from the very start, I expressed to leadership that I would like to travel.
Leadership took notice and kept their eyes open. As soon as an opportunity came up, they allowed me to hit the road for a project. It was exactly what I was looking for and I really appreciate the fact that leadership not only heard me, but enabled me to work where I wanted.
10. Can you describe an unmatched client experience that you have delivered while you’ve been with Centric?
I genuinely feel that every project I have worked on has been an unmatched client experience. The teams that I have been a part of striving to bring a great attitude to the office every single day. We aim to deliver beyond what is in our charters and to make sure that the client is always satisfied.
I think that we go beyond delivering any single experience because the most important thing for us is being 100% referenceable.