Maret Saat – Tartu University Estonia
My name is Maret Saat and I am an MBA student from Tartu, Estonia. I grew up in Tartu and finished university majoring in Spanish language and literature. As a freshman in Tartu University I heard about Southwestern Advantage through a friend of mine with whom we had played volleyball together for many years. She had gone to America the summer before to sell books and returned as a more mature, understanding, and positive person. I decided to hear about the program and after the info session signed up for the selection process. Southwestern just seemed like something that would be difficult and intense enough that it would be worth investing my summer in. It actually sounded like something that would be an essential life experience for somebody that does not want to settle for a mediocre life.
What have I gotten out of the summers? Having sold books for 7 summers I have talked to around 20,000 American families and worked with approximately 70 students, preparing and coaching them for the summer. That has given a pretty big understanding of human nature, the ability to read people quickly, listen to them, encouraging them to share, talk, and trust. I think I also have developed some good character. I always wished people well but it seems to me that it is much easier to be a good productive human after a lot of experience. Like my friend Triinu likes to say: “An emotionally strong person is a giver”.
Financially it has been an opportunity that can compete with the salary of high-end professionals in any field and definitely beats all small business owners and regular work force even in the first few summers. More money doesn’t necessarily bring more happiness but having money and using it wisely definitely brings more peace of mind. It is nice to start independent life after graduation with private housing and investments rather that with an unpaid student loan.
What I really love about the Southwestern internship, being a former sportsman, is that Southwestern is more like a sport than it is a job: it just never gets boring as long as you continue to learn and grow and thrive to get better. Just like it is almost impossible to run a perfect race, it is almost impossible to have a perfect human interaction. There is always room for improvement and that is interesting. Selling is very frustrating when you are not good at it, kind of like playing ice-hockey or kick-boxing for the first time. We all don’t like the things we are bad at. But being good in sales does not almost feel like a job at all. We create our own income level having fun with people all day long. Because what selling really is other than connecting with people?
Through the Southwestern sales internship I have learned that all things that are worth something in life come from hard work and commitment. Before running my summer sales and leadership business with Southwestern, I really never had to work really hard to accomplish something. Thing came pretty easy. Success in people skills came through hard work and 80-hour work-weeks which seemed exhausting at the time, but now, looking back, have given me the confidence that I really can accomplish pretty much anything if I work long and hard enough at it.
Last but not least, Southwestern Advantage is a group of the most talented, persistent and charismatic people I have ever had contact with. Being good in sales means that these people have really mastered the art of managing their attitude and making excellent impressions. They are just so much fun to hang out with because they know how to take work seriously but laugh at situations and with people in the process. I am very proud to be associated with them.
To sum it all up, I am glad that I have been wise enough to take up a challenging thing in early adulthood, rather than going for the seemingly easy way of just doing summer school, having fun or doing a low-responsibility job. Only now, after most of my friends from school have graduated and are competing for jobs, I realize the true value of having a lot of experience, people skills, and confidence. Like Harv Eker says: “If you are willing to do only what’s easy, life will be hard. But if you are willing to do what’s hard, life will be easy.”