Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Path of Lease Resistance

So last week I decided to go back to my original career path plan of investment management. What a relief.

So, over the summer I started to think I wanted to do something related to alternative energy. I really want to see both the developed and developing world make better choices about energy production/consumption and I figured helping folks making innovative technologies find capital was the best way I could contribute (since I'm not an inventor myself). I also find equity analysis too far removed from 'reality' sometimes, and, to be honest, a little bit dull. I think if I didn't have a small baby I might have plowed on with an attempt to break into VC, as a first-year MBA I'm in a great position to take such a detour. If it turned out I was a complete failure or hated VC, I could probably just redirect my second-year recruiting plan to IM without too much trouble.

But I finally just conceded that I didn't have it in me to do an intense off-campus job search in a relatively unfamiliar industry. Although I do have some background in energy and a certain degree of experience with basic principles of investing, I'm not a very strong candidate for VC and I just don't have the time and energy to fight that battle. If I can make it through classes and IM recruiting and raise a reasonably well-adjusted baby, I'll be satisfied. IM is familiar and comfortable: I know I like the work, I understand what people are talking about, and I've invested a lot into this career path. Suddenly, instead of wanting to stretch myself, I wanted to just do what was "easiest". (Not that landing an IM job is "easy", it's just more doable than anything else for me.)

I've also been thinking a lot about what sort of organization I want to join after graduation. I've worked for small firms mainly in the past and while I appreciate the entrepreneurial aspect and extreme flexibility I've experienced, I also long for a more structured, resource rich experience. I'd like my post-MBA employer to have a great reputation and to feel that I was landing a position which would open many doors in the future. A small upstart firm just feels too risky. I've been there and seen how easily initial hopeful expectations can turn to disappointment and frustration. And while I'm excited to capitalize on the years of investment in my career, I also want to save as much time and energy to devote to my family. I feel that larger firms can sometimes have better policies and procedures in place to enable that, or at least it may be easier to feel that out prior to hiring.

VC and/or energy technologies is now the longer-term vision. Right now I'm just focusing on learning how to be one of the world's great investors, while making time to be a complete human being. We shall see.

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