Podcast Episode 1: Taking Risks and Pivoting in Your Career

The Career Design Lab at Columbia’s School of Professional Studies recently launched a new podcast, “Rising to the Top: Lessons in Leadership.” The CDL team interviews senior industry leaders, including SPS alumni, who share the secrets of their success and reveal pivotal moments that impacted their career paths. Listen as they shed light on obstacles they overcame as well as wins they achieved.

To be successful in your career, you have to know when to take risks and travel down uncertain paths with only your instincts to guide you. But how do you decide when it’s time to try something new altogether or pivot within your current role or industry? The first episode’s guest is Ben Royce, ’13SPS, Information and Knowledge Strategy. Ben works in business development for the Cloud AI Services team at Google and explains the story of his career through key decisions he made by throwing caution to the wind.

“I wanted to learn how to think in multiple modes in order to develop the best strategy, not just be an expert in one strategy,” Royce says. His approach to his knowledge management studies at Columbia informed how he changed his daily approach at work. “I wanted to learn how to think, not what to think.”

He discusses the difference between management and leadership. “If you want to be a manager, you need to ask yourself why, and are you willing to accept the responsibility of that, and can you become a leader.” One skill he has learned that has had the greatest impact on his managerial style is the ability to weigh data analysis alongside holistic strategy. “The trick is to be very analytically savvy, but have a strategic decision-making mindset.”

Listen to the first episode of Rising to the Top on your favorite platform, and subscribe to the podcast to ensure you don’t miss future episodes. 


Ben Royce

At Google, Ben Royce prototypes new products using machine learning and data science techniques to find insights about how users consume and interpret advertising. Formerly, he was the Senior Vice President of Search and Data Science at Publicis Worldwide where he worked with clients such as Proctor and Gamble, Citibank, Heineken, and Merck.

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