During my internship hunt this summer, I received two very enticing offers. The first was to go work with RBC Amplify, an intrapreneurship program in RBC, where you would work in a multi-faceted team to build a new product for RBC.

The second offer was with Clearbanc for a growth marketing position.

Here’s the catch.

RBC would pay me nearly double what I would be earning at Clearbanc. I would be taking a significant pay cut to work at Clearbanc, a fast growing fintech startup.

It was a tough decision.

My friends thought I was insane. My parents didn’t say anything perse, but implied that I should be trying to earn as much money as possible.

I chose to go work for Clearbanc.

There were two key principles that drove me to this.

Optimize for learning

Whenever I need to make decisions, I like to consult some friends who are more experienced and are doing what I want to be doing. The first piece of advice that was offered to me was that, if I could afford to take on the opportunity, then I should optimize for learning.

What I took away is that when you focus on learning skills in the present, you will do better in the long term. If I can significantly improve my growth marketing skillset at Clearbanc, I will be able to take those skills and either demand more at my next job or better monetize a future venture.

At Clerabanc, there were some “green flags’ that I liked. Visionary leadership in Michele and Andrew. My boss, who has experience exploding growth for several startups. The role, which was focused on data-driven growth tactics vs brand building. A promise from the team that I would be able to take charge and lead my own project during my term.

In short, a wealth of mentors doing what I want to be doing, learning the skills that I want to learn, and the autonomy to accelerate that learning by taking the lead of a project of my choosing.

Raising your ceiling

Where do I want to be in the next ten years? Or if there isn’t anything specific, what is a hunch of where you want to be in the next 10 years. Then…. how do you want to get there?

For me, a dream would be to be working on my own ventures, either as a startup founder or an early employee at a startup. I would also love to have side income coming in from projects.

I did some research on RBC amplify. I was asking myself: “where do the interns of the company end up after their internship?” I then wanted to compare my findings with Clearbanc.

At RBC, it appeared that many of the interns there ended up… working for RBC. Nothing wrong with that, but it’s not where I want to be in 10 years nor will it help me accomplish my goals. A large company like that focuses a lot more on their processes vs getting stuff done. That’s not going to make me a very qualified founder or an attractive first employee.

At Clearbanc? Oh boy. I followed the career paths of new employees. People who have gone from customer service positions to launching new markets in Australia. Employees going from an entry campus recruiter position to…head of people?

Heck, my own recruiter got promoted in the 4 month span that I met her. One day, I received an email that she was being promoted into a more strategic HR role. Good for her.

If I am looking for explosive growth, then Clearbanc was the winner by a far margin.

Ending Thoughts

As students, let’s all try to be a little bit more strategic about our career choices. Think in the long term and ask yourself if you will learn what you want to learn to meet your goals. Raise your ceiling, don’t settle.