#043 College Major Identification with the Birkman Method

Show Notes


In this episode, it’s my great privilege to sit down with someone who has been a dream guest of mine for quite some time. Sharon Birkman is the former CEO of Birkman International and currently serves as the chairwoman of the board. She is the daughter of Dr. Roger Birkman, the creator of the Birkman Method. This revolutionary personality assessment harnesses the power of positive psychology to help people find their best career fit, and I personally have been using this method for more than a decade to advise over 3600 students and currently use it in my Launch Career Clarity course to help guide students to their best fit future college major and career..


As a parent, you are likely like me and want your child to grow up to be a successful and well-adjusted adult. But even moreso, you want them to be happy and fulfilled. After all, isn’t that the truest measure of success? But when it comes to choosing a college and career path for your teen, there seems to be an overwhelming number of different roads they could choose to follow. How can you know which one will best align with your child’s unique personality, abilities, and passions? This is where the Birkman Method is so incredibly useful.

The Birkman Method is examines the psychology behind our behaviors and preferences to accurately predict a successful, reliable, and fulfilling career path for students. There is no other personality tool that accurately also measures an individual’s needs and expectations of others and their environment. I have been using it for years as the as an essential starting point in my college major and career coaching 3 step framework for advising parents and students who want the best fit for college and beyond. That’s why I was so thrilled to be able to speak with Sharon about Birkman, how it works, how it has evolved over the years, and why it still stands the test of time.

Often, parents and even students will think they should follow a particular path because certain factors seem to indicate that it would be a good fit. For example, if a child has an aptitude for math, parents may assume that accounting would be a great career. Or if a child loves music, they should pursue their passion by becoming a musician. While these may seem like logical conclusions on the surface, there is actually a wealth of data and research that shows that this is often not the case. The Birkman assessment, coupled with my coaching, is the compass your family needs most as a starting point to remove overwhelm and making data informed decisions for a flourishing future. 


  • What differentiates the Birkman Personality Assessment from other inventories
  • How the Birkman reports in the Launch Career Clarity course remove overwhelm for teens
  • Ways to use the Birkman and Launch Course for college and career planning
  • Insights from the Chairwoman and former CEO Sharon Birkman

Meet Our Guest

As the daughter of company founder and influential industrial-organizational psychologist Dr. Roger W. Birkman, Sharon Birkman cultivated her deep expertise in human perception and organizational behavior through her lifelong interest in The Birkman Method.

Sharon, Former CEO of Birkman International and current Chairwoman of the Board, has been recognized with a multitude of awards, including EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year, the Women President’s Organization’s Mary Lehman MacLachlan Award, National Best and Brightest Places to Work For, and the Houston Business Journal’s Women Who Mean Business Award.

In addition to her responsibilities at Birkman, Sharon volunteers her services as a Board Member of Houston Public Media, Goodwill Industries of Houston, and a long-time Board member for ESCAPE Family Resource Center. Sharon co-authored the book “The Birkman Method: Your Personality at Work” and authored the book “Creatures of Contact” by ForbesBooks.

Birkman International is an industry-leading behavioral and occupational assessment company founded by innovative organizational psychologist Dr. Roger W. Birkman in 1951.

The Birkman Method remains a preferred instrument to better understand interpersonal dynamics through positive psychology. It is used widely in the fields of career and life coaching, leadership development, human resources management, and organizational design today.

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Links mentioned in this episode

Take the QUIZ: College Major & Career Planning

Launch College & Career Clarity Course

Follow Birkman on Social: @Birkman


[5:04] Birkman is unique because it’s able to pinpoint the motivations behind behaviors without burdening students with multiple questionnaires.

[9:19] Our needs and expectations are like the roots of a tree – they ground us into our lives and directly affect our personal health and well-being.

[12:00] Things that you enjoy doing in your personal time are just as important as your work

[15:13] The Birkman system allows students to funnel all possibilities down to something that is most likely to work for them long-term.

[17:27] Fewer choices means less overwhelm.

[23:33] Results tend to stand the test of time, with few to no variations. However, if the student didn’t take it seriously the first time, they may find that they get different results if they retake the test later on.

[26:28] Sharon shares a story about a young man who initially ignored his Birkman results, only to change paths a few years later.

Access the episode transcript here.