John Legend has a message for Penn students stuck in — or now pursuing — consulting jobs: never lose sight of your true dreams.
Before he became a world-famous musician, the 1999 College graduate worked as a management consultant for Boston Consulting Group, where he picked up a valuable life lesson.
"You learn that sometimes you have to do things you don't absolutely love," Legend said in a recent interview with CNBC. "But always have something in mind for your future that you're working towards."
Despite entering working as a management consultant right out of college, Legend did not see himself staying in the corporate world long-term.
"I was like, I don't want to do this forever," Legend told CNBC. "Now, I'm doing what I really wanted to do."
“[My friends and I] were doing what you would expect kids that graduated from Penn to do.” Legend told CNBC. "It was fine...I did meet some great people, I learned a lot, and I think it was a powerful experience to learn more about how business works, how to work in groups, make a PowerPoint presentation."
Legend always knew he wanted to be a performer, so he left his corporate job to pursue a career in music. Even when he was working in consultancy in New York City, Legend would write songs and perform gigs after work.
After his graduation, Legend has continued to inspire students at Penn to follow their true passions. In 2014, he delivered the Commencement address, saying success is measured by joy and positive impact on others.
"I had followed the path that the Penn graduate was supposed to take, but I didn't fall in love," Legend said in 2014. "I couldn't shake my passion for music."
He also wrote a column for the DP in 2011, sharing his belief that all children deserve a high-quality education.
During his time at Penn, Legend was an active member in the a cappella group Counterparts.
With his recent Emmy win, Legend is now the youngest African-American EGOT, an honor given to those who have received the Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Awards.