Her QUEST since QUEST: Alumna Spotlight on Amanda Nachman

With the variety of interests and majors represented in QUEST, alumni career paths go in an endless number of directions. After graduation, QUESTees have a wide range of possibilities. However, it can be daunting to find a career that’s truly right for them. Amanda Nachman (Q12) helps young professionals across the country achieve a career that aligns with their passions through her podcast: Find Your Passion Career.

Amanda is the Publisher of College Magazine, a publication she founded at UMD during her senior year. She was inspired to pursue her idea after working on a QUEST project with ExxonMobil. Helping them create brand loyalty among the 18 to 24 year old market for their On the Run convenience stores taught her about the importance of this age group as a target market. “I knew that students would benefit from a guide on how to be successful in college,” she says. “Getting the opportunity to work with a brand like ExxonMobil with QUEST made me realize that on the other side of it, advertisers would be very interested in reaching the 18 to 24 year old market.”

After this experience, she founded College Magazine with support from the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship. She developed a minimal viable product and printed 5,000 copies of her first magazine. She printed this amount based on the number of advertisements she was able to sell and distributed the magazine across UMD’s campus. Since then, College Magazine has expanded to reach 9 million readers nationwide.

Amanda recently started a podcast, Find Your Passion Career, where she interviews career experts and professionals who are working in their passion career. Over the years, she has worked with hundreds of students through College Magazine. Through communicating with students about their goals after college, Amanda found that there is a lot of fear and pressure surrounding the career journey. The goal of her podcast is to help emerging professionals strategize a path toward a career they enjoy. Amanda says, “You work 40 hours a week, shouldn’t you be doing something that you love?”

For Amanda, the transition into creating podcasts and giving talks has been another step in her own passion career. “I love making this magazine, but I also want to be connecting with students and young professionals directly. Find Your Passion Career became that new outlet where I could connect with them through the podcast and through speaking events,” she says.

Amanda says the first step QUEST students should take when considering their passion career is to identify their interests and passions. “Ask yourself: when’s the last time you took a half-hour to yourself without your phone to ask yourself what it is that you love? What makes you light up inside? What drives you? What’s something you could do for hours on end? Write it down.”

Then Amanda says students should match their skills and preferences to their interests. “Think about your strengths. Think about your values, the principles you live your life by, the kind of work-life experience you want to have, the lifestyle you want to lead, and then start researching what’s out there that connects to your passion.” Finally, students should utilize their network, reaching out to professors and advisors. “Taking that time to explore those opportunities is going to really open up the possibilities of what you can be doing after graduation,” Amanda says.

Students can benefit from listening to Amanda’s podcast by learning from the experiences of the people she interviews. In the stories of how they arrived at their passion careers, none of them had a linear path, but they each pivoted and followed their passions. “The reason I created this podcast is I hope that it’s inspiring and it’s easy to listen to just one of the stories,” Amanda says. “Listen to one of these individuals who have lived their passion career and hear from them what it took. Know that you can do it too. A lot of times it’s just listening to yourself and your heart.”
You can listen to Find Your Passion Career on iTunes and Spotify!

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