What makes a successful career? Candid advice from talks with 30 leaders

By Eric Eliasson and Lara Mitra | MIT Sloan Ideas Made to Matter | March 17, 2021

Turning their podcast into a qualitative study, Eric Eliasson and Lara Mitra synthesize interviews with industry leaders into 10 career insights.

We met in the front row of our operations management class during our first week of business school at MIT Sloan. Like-minded in our preferred place to sit in class and both management consultants, we became fast friends.

We also shared the same problem: We didn’t know what we wanted to be when we “grew up.” It seemed like most people in business school had it figured out; we were less sure.

With the alumni network at our disposal, we turned to people whose careers we admired and asked them the questions we had:

  • What makes a successful career?
  • How do I know when it’s the right time to leave one job and move to the next?
  • How much planning should I be doing about my career vs. how much should I leave to serendipity?
  • What’s the best way for me to articulate my generalist skills? Do I need to specialize to some degree?

Eventually, we started to record the conversations we had. We distilled them down to 20 – 30 minutes of the best content, and that is how our podcast, “How I Got Here,” was born. We launched over a year ago and have done more than 30 inspiring interviews.

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By MIT Sloan CDO