Personal entrepreneurship: COB lecturer takes message of career planning national

March 7, 2016

Mike Callahan
Mike Callahan shares an important message with his BA 300: Career Planning and Development students: Pursue your passion.

“What is it that you want to do more than anything? Do what you love because no one wants to be miserable,” said Callahan, College of Business internship director and lecturer. “But to make it work, you have to make a career plan around it, just like an entrepreneur makes a business plan. Because, ultimately, you are in business for yourself.”

Callahan started teaching this concept to students on campus nearly a decade ago. And now he’s sharing it with students across the country.

Last month he spoke to members of the Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity through their Principled Business Leadership Institute (PBLI), a professional skills building conference in Oklahoma City.

And later this month he will launch a seven-week free Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) about personal entrepreneurship. The course was designed for Alpha Kappa Psi members, but is open to anyone with an interest in the topic.

“When I say pursue your passion, some might say, ‘Well, you have to make a living,’” said Callahan, who is UM-Dearborn’s Alpha Kappa Psi adviser. “I agree with that. But what I’m saying is to know what puts fire in your life first and then figure out how to make a living out of it.”

Callahan first approached Alpha Kappa Psi’s national CEO Steve Hartman last year, seeking additional business learning opportunities for his students.

When Hartman said he was open to ideas, Callahan mentioned the BA:300 curriculum—which he had written after reflecting on his own career experiences—and that he had written a book further expanding on the idea, I, Inc.: Career Planning and Personal Entrepreneurship.

“It’s important for students—and everyone, really—to understand their personal interests, develop a plan that enables them to market those interests, and use that to launch their careers. That goes beyond looking for a job. That’s a strategy,” he said. “Steve told me that he liked that idea. The next thing I knew, I was invited to speak at the conference in Oklahoma, and they included the I, Inc. philosophy at all six of their 2016 PBLI conferences.”

When Callahan previously left a corporate human resources position of 25 years, this strategic thinking helped him transition into a new career. After some job searching frustration, he took time to note what he was passionate about: teaching, boosting careers and helping people see their potential.

“When I stopped thinking of myself as a former manager and focused on who I am and what I love to do, opportunities were everywhere,” he said.

“That’s what I want for my students—to know they are more than a title. To have a career plan that focuses on knowing themselves, knowing their market and telling their story. When someone is truly passionate about what they do, others will pay attention. Success will find them.”

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