Bryan Solar ’08

Current Job: Program Manager at Google

What has your career been since graduating from Colby?

I started in strategy consulting, then started a nonprofit to apply the strategy-consulting model to help turn around businesses in low-income areas. I then when to business school at Stanford. Next, I started a company, which I ran until it was purchased by Google.

How did being a global studies major give you advantages after you graduated?

Primarily the heavy reliance on needing to research other countries/cultures (which I then applied to understanding different cultures/behaviors within the United States). Customer research and understanding are key to building good products.

Where did you study abroad, and how did that experience impact you?

I studied abroad in China, and it impacted me in a huge way. It was like the Wild West in that it was both somewhat dangerous but also felt like anything was possible. Being in a place that was so foreign and completely different from anything I’d ever known had a huge impact on my sense of independence.

How did Colby in general help guide you in your career?

It was at Colby that I started my first company (as part of a class). That company gave me the entrepreneurship bug that now, more than a decade later, stays with me.

What advice would you give global studies majors at Colby about their experience in college and their future careers?

Try as many different things as possible. Don’t worry about what job you’ll be able to land right out of college. Figure out what makes you happy (and ideally what you are good at). If you’re passionate about what you’re doing, you’ll find a way to make a successful career out of it.

Also, don’t learn for the grades—learn because you’re interested (and if you’re not, skip it).

Are there any websites, links, or other tools you would recommend to global studies majors for career planning?

I’d start with the alumni database. Figure out what you really want to do. Then try to talk to as many alumni as possible and figure out if it’s a fit. If it is, try to get a job at whatever level you can. Then work your way up!