By Nicholas Knoth
A few weeks ago, I wrote an article on Industrious’ interview with Brad Rose ‘07 — a professional soccer player who studied at Yale and now works as a manager at Deloitte. This time, I’d like to share the details of our most recent interview with another distinguished Old Boy: Colin Greening of the class of ‘05.
Colin Greening’s Story
Coming from a small school in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Colin (17) was in for a “huge change” when he started at UCC. Nonetheless, he quickly got accustomed and began to excel academically and athletically.
After graduating from the College in 2005, Greening went on to study applied economics and played division one hockey at Cornell University. After earning his Bachelor of Sciences in Applied Economics and Management, Greening played ten years of professional hockey in the NHL for various organizations including the Ottawa Senators and the Toronto Maple Leafs.
He retired from the NHL in 2019 and decided to pursue a new career, namely, sports management and consulting. To break into this field, however, Greening knew he needed burnished credentials. Accordingly, he applied to several business schools and now attends none other than the coveted Harvard Business School (HBS) and is working towards an MBA.
Two weeks ago, the Industrious team had the chance to interview Colin to learn more about his numerous careers paths, listen to some of his valuable advice, and find out what he thinks it takes to be successful in the rapidly developing world.
One piece of advice that Colin emphasized pertained to the notion of specialization. In today’s competitive landscape, it is typical for students to focus their efforts on specific skills and work in niche subject areas. In other words, they specialize. Although he does agree that “there are certain areas where specialization is helpful,” Greening strongly believes in “the importance of [having] a number of different experiences that really sum up to making [students] so much better prepared for any job that comes up.”
This is especially true when considering that, like Greening, people transition between careers all the time. Greening also mentioned that roughly half of his colleagues at HBS end up “changing jobs or changing their tune” before graduating. In essence, he pointed out that more often than not, students’ carefully orchestrated career plans often end up being forgotten as new options constantly become available to them.
Hence, the danger of specializing too early is that it becomes very difficult, if not impossible, to change careers later on. As Colin put it, you don’t want to become a “one-trick pony.”
His advice to students then is to “create as many experiences as you possibly can and don’t worry about having to be so specialized right now — you’ve got plenty of time.”
In the thirty-seven minute interview, Colin shared many other insights into the life of a professional athlete and student at one of the world’s most prestigious institutions. If you’re interested in hearing what else he had to share, the full interview can be found on the Industrious Youtube channel and other updates can be found on the Industrious Instagram account.