Are you thinking about switching to a new career but nervous to take the first step?

The Maryland Alumni Association spoke with Brian Le Gette ’89, who transitioned from electrical engineering to entrepreneurship in a matter of years. Le Gette started his first business while he was an MBA student at Wharton to receive an MBA. After growing his company to a worldwide operation, he sold it and entered the world of technology. Now, Le Gette serves as a consultant for fellow entrepreneurs.

Le Gette discusses the benefits of transitioning into the career that is a perfect fit, as well as a bit about his time as a Terp.

AA: How can you market yourself when switching careers?

BLG: “When you’re switching industries and have a lot of different experiences— geographically and consumer to corporate, success and failures—it allows you to approach problems and opportunities indirectly and creatively. It allows for the creation of solutions that the industry may not have come up with. Since I’ve done this in health care and e-learning, I now consult in a myriad of industries. If you surround yourself with people that know that industry in a way that you don’t, it allows you to approach opportunities and problems obliquely.”

AA: What advice you can provide to Terps that may be interested in entrepreneurship?

BLG: “Especially for the students that are graduating now and in the next 20 years, given the impact of automation and artificial intelligence, virtual reality, augmented reality, etc, there is going to be a dramatic workforce change. I would encourage people to constantly look forward. It’s very difficult in this market to look 10 years out and have any idea of what the world is going to look like. They should be picking, whether it’s an entrepreneurial career or a career at a company, things that are future proof. These are skills that are going to grow in the future with changes. Take advantage of those changes to create opportunity and reduce risk.”

AA: Are there certain skills that will help alumni be more resilient in the work world?

BLG: “While I think the key skills were important at the time I was graduating undergrad— the ability to do math, read, write, basic leadership— are still important, the biggest skills right now are going to be about creativity. I will call it grit, the ability to preserve and the ability to see the future and lead people to it.”

AA: How do you stay connected with the university as an alumnus?

BLG: “I was very connected for quite a long time. I helped out in multiple student affairs capacities and I had a little bit of a connection with Alumni Affairs. It was a great place, great experience and I would recommend it.”