By Robert Cain ’21
Over Thanksgiving Break, I interviewed Kyle Weiss ‘15, a recent CMC graduate and former Kravis Leadership Institute employee, to inquire about his career history, CMC education, and his definition of the meaning of success. Co-founding FUNDaFIELD, “a non-profit organization, run by students, dedicated to enriching the lives of less fortunate kids in the developing world through sports,” he has made strides in making a global impact through innovation and forward-thinking.
His past experiences highlight unique aspects of the CMC education and challenges conventional views of success.
The atmosphere of CMC is extremely career-driven. From perfecting your resume and acing interviews to selecting accurate career interests on Handshake and reaching out to alumni, CMCers are trained to pursue success as early as their first year of college. But what exactly is success, and how is it quantified?
I have observed a common theme at CMC: students declaring a major and pursuing a career path strictly for financial gain. CMC advertises expertise in certain majors and industries—consulting, economics, financial services—and many students feel compelled to follow them for the simple reason of it leading to the highest paid salary. When I asked Kyle about this topic, he noted how CMC students pursue a career because their views of success align with that of former students, societal expectations, or CMC norms that funnel students into specific industries without them thinking twice about their decision.
“Saying some CMC students equate money with success is true, but I think reality is more nuanced than that. I think that many CMCers equate success with success, and by that I mean they equate the image of success with success. They all want the big brand-name job. They want the familiar feeling that comes along with the next accomplishment,” Weiss claimed.
But even with clearly defined career paths, CMC students still experience immense pressure to succeed, as Weiss states that “more of the challenge with CMC is the pressure. There is so much pressure that students turn to well-defined paths because they see how other students before them equated that particular path with success.”
Unfortunately, this ideology forces students to choose majors and careers based strictly on narrow interests, leading them to disregard questions like “what do I actually want to do? Do I want to work in front of a spreadsheet all day? What kind of impact do I want my work to have?,” as proposed by Weiss
It’s not all about the dollar bills. Of course, we all want enough money to comfortably support ourselves and future families; but if the pursuit of success blurs our vision with dollar signs, then is it really worth it? Is all the money in the world worth sacrificing career fulfilment?
In Kyle’s case, he founded FUNDaFIELD in order to better the lives of children in the developing world by “enriching the lives of less fortunate youth and providing soccer fields and equipment to African schools.” “By utilizing the therapeutic power of sports to support the rehabilitation and recovery process in post-conflict and post-trauma regions around the world,” he built sustainable change in areas that needed it. FUNDaFIELD has raised over $500,000 to date and built 10 soccer fields in three countries.
Kyle’s success with FUNDaFIELD shows how small, meaningful actions eventually result in a positive outcome for both the giver and the recipient. If you are persistent and intentional, they just might “spiral into wonderful opportunities,” Kyle explained
Looking back at his CMC experience, Kyle regrets not having more appreciation for the GEs, because he now realizes the importance of “seeing things through a bunch of different lenses. The world is changing too fast to narrow in on one skill. Depth is still critical, but breadth gives you the ability to dynamically react to any situation.”
I wanted to know what makes Kyle get up in the morning; what motivates him to pursue success? He responded with a list that did not include the word money: making an impact, traveling, meeting new people, constant inspiration, learning new things, exposure to new ideas, strong relationships, and building something out of nothing. Discover what makes you get up in the morning, and pursue that rather than zeros on a check. I think you will be surprised at how often the two intersect.