28 July 2010

When I applied to graduate school, I thought quite a bit about what I wanted to get out of the experience. It came down to a few key things for me:

1) I wanted to be immersed in an environment of rigorous learning, surrounded by smart people from all over the world bringing their different perspectives to bear on the many challenging conversations and discussions we would be engaged in.
2) I wanted to be exposed to more research and innovative thoughts and writing than I would normally have access to or know about.
3) I wanted the prestige and corresponding respect that went with having a Master's degree (or PhD) from an acclaimed university.

Since recovering from the blow of not being accepted into the programs I applied for, I've considered how to achieve those goals regardless. One of the steps I've taken is to seek out and bombard myself with smart lectures and writing, particularly in innovation, learning, and new technologies. My interests tap business, education, sociology, economics, change, growth, and technology, of course. I've found countless speakers online (TED talks, YouTube, Economist Idea Economy) and been recommended authors and books by my network. There's more than I can keep up with.

In the beginning of this process, I got an idea for a small business, and implemented it almost immediately. Within two months, mo foods has become profitable.

Around the same time I also started a weekly networking group to help me tap into my community of people and resources. It may not have Stanford's reach, but I now have access to accountability, moral support, realistic criticism, years of experience, and great ideas.

I think I'm doing it right.