5 Mind-Blowing Ways To Apply The 70–20–10 Rule As A Student!

The 21-C Student
5 min readApr 13, 2021
A Student Model of the 70–20–10 Rule (image credit: Chidera Okonkwo-Samuel)

I recently read about this leadership development model on an online article published by the Harvard Business Review. You can read more about it online but building on this model, and for the purpose of this article, I’m going to share a bit of my experience as a student and tailor this rule for many of my colleagues, anyone and everyone, intent on building themselves and their careers.

If you’re like me, you’d enjoy the thrill that comes with discovering new activities as a student on the best way to shape and build your career. Asides music and sleep, that’s one of my greatest pleasures: discovering something new. Discovering is one thing. Selecting and balancing are another, and they can prove to be tricky, because there are so many options. First off, I’ll suggest: TRY EVERYTHING. Every single one. I’ll explain that more in my third point. I am a huge and firm believer in the endless opportunities and options to begin anything from anywhere, anytime. There are, actually, especially in school. It all boils down to how you choose to look at it. And you also need to have this fixed, positive mindset that the world is yours.

Which is where the 70–20–10 rule comes in.

Now, 70 percent goes to your practical, out-of-the-classroom experiences — that wealth of experience you garner in engaging in challenging industry-related assignments, job-related experiences; 20 percent goes to your interactions — developmental interactions, networking with people; 10 percent, as much as it may sound like a comedic whiplash, goes to your formal education, coursework and all that training, and/or Skillshare or Coursera. Your education and bagging the degree are still very important however!

How do you balance that, because at the end of your programme, you need to come out well-developed in all facets to shape the global market today?

1. Map Out Your Career Path

Career paths can change at some points with our decisions, and the consequences are neither here nor there but are very much certain. Nevertheless, it’s a great building block to starting out: mapping out what you want to do, where you want to do it, how you plan on getting there. It regulates your focus and helps you channel your investment. Asking those familiar questions of where do you see yourself in 5years go miles in streamlining things down and sharpening your focus. Journaling these down is an excellent method because they subtly help you commit to it. Checklists, to-do lists, sticky notes, and vision boards help too.

2. Create Your Personal Brand

At first, I thought it was a fanciful name, a bit classy — some string of laughing emojis there. But building your personal brand at such an early period as being in school is important. What do you want people to know you for, to reckon you with, to reconcile you to? When people come to your online media — it is advisable to monitor your digital footprint — what do you want that first impression to be? What are your core values? What impact do you want to create?

3. Apply. Expand. Engage

There are many opportunities out there. Join that student developer club. Be active in that student finance club you’re in. Apply to that internship. Be a volunteer. Join that religious peer group. Take that course on Coursera that’s entirely unrelated to your programme. Attend that conference you’ve been so scared of. Begin that startup. Build your online media profile. Organize those paid tutorials. Personally, I’ll tell you: TRY EVERYTHING. Things within your field. Things outside your field. Things that aren’t even related to the underlying factors in all industries and fields — that’s if you find one; everything is interconnected in one way or the other. And besides, you won’t know until you try out. The ones you’re great at and love, the ones you also love and can improve on, the ones you don’t like, and in-between the spheres, the ones you can choose for some other purpose and maybe “manage”. Learn new skills. Unlock your potential. Build new wealth.

4. Network. Build Meaningful Relationships

Yes, build them. With your peers. With people older than you are. Connect. On social media. In-person. Strengthen your interpersonal skills. Meet new people. Build professional relationships. Have a mentor. And it all begins with “communicating with confidence”. A simple Hello, just wanted to say hi or Happy Birthday message can go a long way in sustaining a relationship. An equal overcoming of shyness and being the first to send a message on any social media space, stating: ‘Hi, I’m Charity. It’s great to connect with you. I’m excited to learn from you and share and grow’ does miracles in building memorable ones. Focusing on choosing your inner circle is also part of the relationship-building, because your inner circle contributes significantly to how you form and shape your core values and principles.

5. Last, And Definitely Not The Least, Focus On Your Education Too

It is still important to not let that part suffer. It can be unexpected — the shifting of schedules. But, will it. Pursue it. Stay determined. Push through. Try as much as you can to get good grades — there are opinions on getting grades as not necessary. It is necessary. It puts you ahead. Good grades are also a measure of how disciplined, diligent, committed and consistent you are. You can check some YouTube videos on employees’ experiences at being interviewed at Goldman Sachs for more explanation on that. What’s more? Complementing good grades with other extracurricular activities and personal developments are the best and the new model to adjust in this shifting ecosystem.

On a final note,

Permit me to borrow a quote from the famous Nickelodeon Avatar: Legend of Korra series, made by the figure, Zaheer: “When you base your expectations only on what you see, you blind yourself to the possibilities of a new reality”. It can equally be applied here, depending on how you choose it to be. You have within yourself everything to make you successful here. Don’t limit yourself. Push the barriers. You’re limitless. Don’t shut yourself down or out. You. Can. Do. It.

Best of luck! I’m rooting for you.