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As part of a semester long project my senior year of college I came up with an original idea for the creation of entirely new subsidiary/new company/new division of a Fortune 500 company. At the end of the semester I presented a 50 page report of my research, findings, and suggestions, in addition to an hour long oral presentation to several of the executives of this Fortune 500 company. There was a lot of work and thought that went into this.

The executives loved my research, ideas, and plan for a new division and new way of doing business. What I came up with was entirely new to them and their way of thinking. Since this presentation six years ago, the Fortune 500 Company did create an entire new subsidiary/new company based off my idea and plan. This new division has over 100 employees now, operates as a subsidiary to the parent company, and has had a significant impact on the company, and their industry as a whole - competitors have tried to copy this idea as well.

However, after I presented my ideas and findings, I was almost immediately commissioned into the military upon graduation and I never formally went to go work for the Fortune 500 company outside of my four months of research, planning, and idea generation. So while I came up with the entire idea and plan for this new company, I cannot claim I aided much in the execution of the idea within the company beyond the original idea, plan, research, and persuasion/influence of key figures. It's been almost six years since I came up with and presented this original idea, plan, and research, but I'm leaving the military soon and I'm looking to update my resume. I want to accurately describe my involvement in what I did and accomplished.

Am I the Founder? Originator? Mastermind behind this? Co-Founder? Architect? Consultant? Pioneer? Entrepreneur?

Humility and not being overly concerned with getting credit for the things you've done are values I grew up with and values I still try to live out today. So, I genuinely don't want to overstate my involvement or title, but I also don't want to understate or downplay my involvement - that's not humility either. I think I can accurately and humbly say this new company would not exist today if it wasn't for me, but I can also say the same thing about the executives that bought into my idea and pushed my plan forward within the company. There have been other key figures in pushing this forward and executing the plan.

I'm wondering if there is an accurate word or a title, that in good conscience, I can put down on my resume to describe my role in the story of this new subsidiary/new company??

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As a resume writer, I take your description at face value. According to your description alone, you can honestly claim the following titles:

  • Originator, Concept Originator, or Inventor
  • Mastermind of the concept
  • Pioneer (rarely seen on resumes, thus displaying great innovation)
  • Consultant (a bit too mild for the resume)

For verbs, you could state that you originated the idea, conceived the idea, or pioneered it.

Other terms (Founder, Co-Founder, Architect, and Entrepreneur) mean it was your business activity, which you say it was not.

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    – it was not my business activity, that is if you don't count research, planning, preparation, and selling the idea as business activity. The idea hinged on leveraging the parent company. Without partnering with a Fortune 500 company, the idea or concept would have been incomplete. My apologies for being vague with the company names and the specific industry involved. I want to be somewhat discrete and not unintentionally bring any negative attention, even minor, to the companies involved. – John Feb 14 '17 at 21:46
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    – In your opinion, If I would have gone to work for the parent company and participated further in the execution of this new initiative, would that change the title/verbiage? I'm not saying I disagree with your above answer, but I'm just trying to understand the distinction between founder and originator/inventor/pioneer – John Feb 14 '17 at 21:56
  • Your humility and level of discretion are striking. Bravo. Your creativity will probably show throughout your life. I would use founder only if I touched the foundation (bricks) of the structure. If you worked on the business in the business, you could then add more verbs. – Yosef Baskin Feb 14 '17 at 21:56

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