Specialist or Generalist?  What kind of professional do I want to become? This has been my dilemma underlining my career path for a long time.   Should I choose a niche specialty and become an expert at it, or try to learn as much as I can and become a well-rounded professional?

I decided to do both.  For my specialty, I decided on biomedical engineering and started a research masters in the field.  In order to acquire maximum business knowledge, I took up the opportunity available through TalentBridge.  

Well, as you can imagine, pretty soon I realized I didn’t want to do both.  But being in both programs did allow me to critically compare both options.  I liked the idea of being a biomedical engineer, of building technologies that would help medical professionals save or improve lives.  But I quickly realized that while I liked the idea of it, I didn’t actually enjoy the slow research aspect of the job.  Research is slow.  Rewarding, but slow.  And what I kept asking is “where would this take me?”  The answer was simple.  At a masters level, in biomedical engineering, in a non-academia environment, I would be a lab rat.  To progress to anything else, I would need a Ph D.  But if I wasn’t enjoying 2 years of masters research, why would I enjoy 4 years of Ph D research? 

Concurrently, my experience with the TalentBridge program was going extremely well.  The introduction to the local business world was enriching and more importantly, energizing.  I liked it and I wanted more. 

So what did I do?  I switched from a Masters in Biomedical Engineering to Masters of Engineering Management and I haven’t looked back since.  Specialist or generalist?   I decided both.  I will be a specialist at being a generalist.  As a friend succinctly expressed it, I am and will continue to be “a student of all arts, but a master of none.“   My experience at TalentBridge helped me come to that conclusion and is helping develop an extensive portfolio of well-rounded experiences.

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