You don’t have to be a fruit lover or carry four iDevices at all times to acknowledge the void the passing of Steve Jobs has created. Virtually everybody who is remotely related to business and/or personal development finds inspiration in some of the legendary tech pirate’s mantras. MBA-students spend the better part of the day on both business and personal growth, so projecting key learnings from the first 6 weeks through quotes of the master can shed some light on London Business School-life for applying students. (Noticed there’s even anApp in the word applying?)
1. It’s wonderful to have a beginner’s mind.
Honestly, before the program started, I thought I was a citizen of the world with brought interests and a keen understanding of what business and society was about. It was only until I started hearing the million life stories of MBA-peers that I realised how small the micro-cosmos actually was I had been operating in. There is so much going on, and so many things to explore, that it makes one dizzy just to think about it. Nothing more refreshing than biting for the first time in a new and unfamiliar subject! Understanding bond markets, grasping the dynamics of rugby or seeing for the first time words appearing from behind the previously mysterious Cyrillic letters of a Russian sentence comes close to magic. It’s like the world is finally telling you some of its precious secrets.
2. You can’t connect the dots forward – only backward
Most incoming MBA students march to LBS campus with the determination of an undaunted army: sharp objectives, a clear strategy, and a list of activities/clubs & courses that needed to be attended to guarantee victory. As the weeks roll by, resistance to deviate from the plan lowers. Interest is sparked in areas that were not part of the battle plan… Loss of focus? Should I panic?
I would argue that you have to follow your gut and try out new things. Take risks. Have faith that whatever you undertake now makes sense, maybe not today but at some point in the future. Join an Art club, date a Kazach girl, eat with your hands, take acting courses, represent your class in a political role or compete in a stock pitch. Executive Summary: “S t r e t c h ! “
3 Say no to a thousand things
The previous point doesn’t mean that you don’t have to make choices. Remember the time you went to a nice all-you-can-eat-buffet and you actually tried to eat it all… a stomach ache for sure. It’s essentially about making choices (There’s no Kazach girl in my agenda)! New things don’t come easily, and consume more energy than a tuned Hummer. So choose and engage. Engage and marvel. Marvel and blog (optional).
4. Stay hungry, stay foolish
This one’s so much larger than business school (and doesn’t relate to the all-you-can-eat buffet above). It’s about identity, curiosity, humbleness and fun. Don’t become the sleek suit you’re wearing, don’t turn into the list of A-brands on your resume.
5. Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.
V.I.T.A.L. Especially in the MBA context. This study is probably the biggest gift you will ever offer yourself. An endless pile of minutes and resources to find your voice, to carve your personality, to finally chase that dream (job). Don’t get caught by trends (Private Equity seems hotter than the iPhone 5!), peer pressure, time pressure, juice pressure (unlikely). If you want to fool yourself, there are way cheaper ways to do so. You’re smart, check. You’re articulate, check. You’re maybe even good looking… Stop proving points. More importantly it’s you-time, the real you-time! Enjoy.