Around three years ago, I entered a business school, with my head full of Adam Smith’s invisible hands, Friedman’s money helicopters and Ricardo’s comparative advantages. I expected something like “general principles of money making” from my first lecture in Entrepreneurship and Business Planning. Instead, the PowerPoint title said “Why shit rules and how to make the world suck less.”
What followed was the story of designing a portable wheel toilet – to tackle the problem of 2.5 bln. people in developing countries lacking basic sanitation services. Our Entrepreneurship Professor, Fionn Dobbin, told us about his journey to India, about developing a toilet prototype, meeting Muhammad Yunus, and finally lunching the product. This was my first introduction to social business, and the extent of impact achievable thrilled me.
I was lucky to figure out early enough what I wanted to study. However, stereotypes still got me: at first, I was too firm of a believer in “homo economicus”. From the outside, it’s easy to make this conclusion about business students: that we are in it for money… Then I became a business student myself and realized a whole range of options: from investment banking to social entrepreneurship. I have to admit, my alma mater, Stockholm School of Economics in Riga, offered a great deal of eye-openers to make me realize this: business is about value creation, not money-making.
Now, what about you, folks? Ever thought of enrolling in the business school? Here’s what I believe holds true for any education (or career) choice: let your major lie in the intercept of three magical circles: What you enjoy doing, What you do well and What pays well. Ok, that was a pragmatic piece of advice. Now, an idealistic piece of advice: forgo clichés, forget about peer pressure and don’t be afraid to rebel against your parents, – just go after what you truly love.
Yeah, some final thoughts on this one. If you think business is your passion, remember this: Business is about making a difference; making money is merely a by-product.
Credit for the photo: http://mayrsom.com/tag/finance/