Gregory Falcon’s historical training is serving him well in his role as a research analyst at Plethora Businesses, an investment banking firm in Orange, C.A., where he is responsible for analyzing economic trends across various industry sectors. Making use of his manuscript research skills, he assembles reports, lists, and other various writings to help business clients make informed decisions.
This new Graduate Career Focus feature of The Voice of Wilkinson highlights the nuanced and multi-faceted career paths of our current and former graduate students. For our inaugural feature, recent grad Gregory Falcon ’21 discusses how his MA in War and Society impacts his work at Plethora Businesses, an investment banking firm here in Orange.
Voice of Wilkinson: Tell us, personally and/or professionally, what have you been up to since graduation?
Gregory Falcon: After graduation, I received the opportunity to present my thesis, Below-deck: The Specialist Sailor in World War II, at the McMullen Naval Symposium in Annapolis, Maryland. In September 2021, the Naval Academy welcomed nautical and naval historians to present papers and panels across all subjects in the maritime sphere. This opportunity truly expanded my understanding of the field. There was an impressive breadth of voices, each with insightful and actionable manuscripts. As a new graduate, it provided tremendous insight into one avenue forward from graduation. And of course, in the meantime, I found it wise to partake in some personal vacation time and explore this part of the reopening country!
VoW: This feature’s focus is those first steps into a career post-degree. Can you tell us about your job search process after completing your MA? What were you initially interested in? What resources did you use (LinkedIn, Indeed, etc)? What were some surprises—either in the search or interview process?
GF: Initially, I began my search narrowly with a single area I wanted to devote myself to—history museums in California—but focusing this narrowly inhibited my full exploration of the possibilities ahead of me.
“My job-search process fluctuated at times, but was very enriching when I began to motivate myself to think big. All the skills I had attained from my MA degree, such as research, writing, manuscript drafting, presentation, and others, became part of the conversation.”
I re-evaluated my search with a more open mind, taking into consideration all these skills I had developed, and realized I could find an opportunity I liked regardless of subject or outlet. Job search platforms like Indeed helped me narrow in more closely on these job identifiers in a variety of positions. Keywords helped me find a variety of opportunities based on my skills. Incorporating these skills with my work history led me to consideration of companies and fields I would not have considered earlier; such as marketing analyst, policy analyst, and others.
This realization afforded me additional confidence that employers would take me seriously in a variety of fields. My conference presentation record was one highlight I leveraged when interviewing for varying positions, as most of them that later became promising included some sort of speaking component.
VoW: What strengths or advantages have you found from your studies and research in the humanities and history in your role as a research analyst at Plethora Businesses?
GF: I discovered an intense appreciation for delving deep into single subjects, historical actors, and thematic questions. I utilize that daily at Plethora Businesses, as I am often tasked to report on single industries. This helps me define good clients and advantages within the industry. One of my recent assignments was a longform narrative report synthesizing IBISWorld studies. I harness these, and other, data-driven or argumentative sources to research deep into business industry topics. Sometimes I get the chance to speak directly with clients in-person or virtually, creating a joint understanding about a given industry. A few more of my favorite assignments have been presenting at trade shows and other outside meetings which allowed me to engage with industry representatives.
VoW: For our incoming students to the War and Society program and other graduate programs, what did you wish you had known starting your MA? What did you appreciate about the program? Is there a takeaway that still serves you in your day-to-day endeavors?
GF: My time in the program was instrumental for my growth. If I could return to the moments before starting, I would have implored myself to trust that my interpretations, understandings, and additions are always welcome and worthy. One unique thing about escalating into a Master’s program is the tight bond you create with students and, conversely, how insular everything can feel at times. Although daunting, always commit and jump-in to anything that challenges you; whether that be program events, discussion participation, conferences, you should do it!
VoW: Finally, as it is graduation season, what words of advice do you have for graduate students completing their programs this May?
GF: Trust yourself and challenge yourself. Although you may not always see it in the work you produce or the choices you make, each one is a result of the skills you have honed.
“Take stock of how far you have come and what you have taken from the whole experience! Do not forget to take note of skills you often overlook.”
Dig around and you can mine some surprising things about yourself. Pretty soon, you will find that employers appreciate all of the small and large intricacies that encompass you; embrace all of them!