Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Why Entrepreneurship?

(I have such a backlog of blog posts in my brain, where to start?)

Anyone paying attention to this blog last fall might have noticed that I sounded, well, a bit depressed. And I don't think I was alone in this in MBA land. Although I had actually fallen out of love with the IM track before matriculating and the collapse of the financial world was the push I needed to finally figure out what it was that I should do with myself, the experience was disorienting and overwhelming. After trudging along one career path for 5 plus years, allegedly on the cusp of capitalizing on all the grunt work at long last, I felt unmoored.

But the bigger problem was that no career route or company sounded appealing. I could not think of a single job that I wanted. (Which is actually why I ended up with an IM internship in my first year.) The offers other second years were receiving sounded completely unappealing. I sat in on a few corporate finance lunch and learns. I dutifully made an appointment with a career coach and plotted out a new exploration path. Etcetera. And it all just sounded awful. I dreaded employment more than unemployment.

If you look back at my Why Investment Management? post from April 2008, you'll notice that one thing is missing ... "research". I hated researching stocks. It brought me no joy. However, most of the rest of the list still remains true. While I don't want to be a portfolio manager anymore, there is much about my experience on and around the trading desk that I felt sad about giving up, most of all, a connection between effort and results that seem too diffused in the "corporate" setting and the frank and fast nature of the day.

The other issue is that the idea of putting on a suit and walking someone through my resume at this point in my life is unbearable beyond description. Ultimately, you can't "show" in an interview. It's all "tell". And I am so tired of telling people what I can hypothetically do. I just want to do something. And I'm not interested in seeking someone else's permission first.

Pre-MBA I didn't see the sense in getting the degree and then going off to start your own business. And while financially it's still a bit alarming, I do feel like my time at Booth has put me in a stronger position to pursue entrepreneurship. Primarily, because I have a broader and more realistic sense of the business world and my place in it. Also because I have an inspiring network of peers which was completely lacking previously.

At moments I still wonder if there are skills and experiences that I still need from a corporate experience. (The never-ending "not quite ready" excuse.) And I wonder if the lure of a regular paycheck at this rather expensive (childcare, ack!!) phase of my new family's life will prove too compelling to resist. But otherwise, the only thing that relieves the sense of depression I felt this fall is the hope that I never have to "find a job" ever again. I'd rather do something else with my time.


Anonymous said...

so what kind of business are you going to invent?

MaybeMBA said...

I'm hoping that a venture w/some fellow students will become income producing. They've already put a tremendous amount of work into it so happily it doesn't need to be invented, "just" sustained. This spring I'll know more on that ...