When Bruce Soll attended CMC, the library was his sanctuary. It was in Honnold that Bruce found that he could read newspapers from all around the world, could connect with people doing interesting things in magazines like Time and The Economist, could be inspired by the diversity of ideas that he discovered. At the time, Bruce’s major at Claremont McKenna was called “political science,” but he always found a way to tailor his studies to explore the global aspect of politics and government relations.
Mr. Soll went to law school at USC before his itch to see the world set in again and he flew off to travel Asia and Europe. Finally, he settled down in Washington, DC, planning to get into a career in government and politics. However, after finding that practicing law in these spheres did not suit him, he decided to start working for The Limited, an international organization that offered him a more globally-minded career.
In his current job as the councilor to The Limited brands, Mr. Soll gets to travel more than ever. The Limited has spinoff brands including Victoria’s Secret, Abercrombie and Fitch, Bath and Bodyworks, and many more, so Mr. Soll is constantly traveling around the country and around the world to check up on their various companies. Soll’s job is somewhat like being an in-house consultant, advising founder Les Wexner on how to manage external relations or plan for future branches. He describes his work as “a little law, a lot of working on policy issues for companies, working on international business issues,” and tells me stories of visits to stores in Dubai, in India, in China.
To those students passionate about travel and international relations, Mr. Soll says that these fields are more important now than ever. “The world has changed, communications have broken down global barriers, relationships are much easier to manage,” he says. Our generation has more of a chance than any before to break down intercultural barriers and work for a truly global community.
Mr. Soll assures me that, although his story sounds like a clear trajectory from one accomplishment and opportunity to the next, it never felt like it in the moment. “The stories we tell about our past sound obvious, like a screen play, because we can filter out the screw ups and things we did wrong,” he says with a laugh. But in reality, he says, he never knew where things were leading, and it was just one fun adventure after another. His advice to me, and to all students at CMC, reflects this understanding: “You can make your own future,” he says, “Define your own success.” And while it may not seem clear where the next opportunity may lie, you will know it when it arrives.
Nora Studholme ’14