So I am doing MBA admissions consulting, did I mention that?
I work at a private test prep and admissions consulting center run by b-school graduates. I work with an incredibly bright and diverse population of people and speak to hopeful and energetic young professionals every day. It is an honor to be able to guide them through the MBA application process, it is a daunting one. I have no regrets about my MBA as it was one of the best and most eye opening experiences of my life, although I am still waiting for it to “pay off” in the traditional sense of the term.
Yesterday a young Indian coal trader came into my office to ask for advice on getting into MIT. He had spent the last 6 years in Geneva and moved to Singapore recently when his group was shut down. He let me know that he might not be moving forward with the MBA if he can confirm funding for an entrepreneurial venture he is trying to start. What is this venture, you ask? “I want to use agricultural waste from the palm oil industry to generate carbon neutral electricity,” he said.
How did it feel to hear this young man express the very same ambition that I spent the last 18 months working on? It was interesting, to say the least. I felt a bizarre sense of satisfaction, but only momentarily. I had always known the idea was good, and that others would soon be doing this. This was real business, I felt. Making things. Selling things that people could use. Keeping it simple and scaling up.
After my moment of smug satisfaction came a slight twinge of jealousy at the idea that this young man may be better equipped to succeed where I failed, then a tug of curiosity at how much he knew about the product and the market, about whether there might be a chance for me to get involved. But after cycling through these feelings in a few transfixed seconds, I found myself settling on a contentment. The contentment of letting go. I had recently began unsubscribing to the renewable energy and biomass email lists I was on, as I no longer read them. Maybe I will come back to this at some point of my life, but I feel like I’ve moved on and this was a beautiful test and confirmation of my readiness to explore new adventures.
I still don’t know what can or will come next for me. I have some ideas of what I would like to happen, but there is no telling what will happen. I stay nimble, lean and open minded. I read a lot and listen to podcasts while I walk and ride the train. I keep my ear to the ground and look for trends. I go to networking events and meet people. I listen carefully.
And sometimes I still find the time to play a game of pool with a co-worker, have dinner with a friend, his wife and their newborn child or share a bottle of wine with a statuesque blonde. Life is good.