Saturday, August 15, 2015

Goals after Stanford

It is pretty amazing to think that my time at the GSB has now been officially over for more than two months. I see students in the years below me post pictures about their internships and my classmates posting pictures about their travels. Some friends already work again, others try to push it off as far as possible (Hi Reinhard!). Everyone sees friends and family and gets ready for the “real life”.

I, for my part, have been doing a little bit of travelling, but have mostly been playing stay-at-home-dad (without kids – that would have warranted its own blog entry) in New York. I found an apartment and volunteered at a local soccer camp and read fiction every day. It was different not to have such a scheduled day – yet it made me ready and excited to work again.

One thing I have been thinking about though is that now with the MBA over there is nothing to look forward to. I mean of course there are birthdays, vacations and so on. But three years ago I looked forward to applying to business school and then later to start at Stanford, a year ago it was my internship, a GMIX trip to Rwanda or the Africa Business Conference. But what now? – I start work on September 3rd and that’s it. What’s the next big thing, the next milestone? For all my life education has been setting most goals – getting through high school, going to a good college, semesters abroad, then it was finding a job that would set one up for success (and success being getting into a good business school) and so on.

I tried setting myself more personal goals – running more marathons, starting to journal. Those don’t seem to be big somehow. I am hesitant to say that I want to be an Engagement Manager at McKinsey in 18 months – it could be a goal, should it be one though? Do I have to employ a longer-term view or should I try to relate goals not only to my own personal success, but also to what I do? Or with whom I do it? I feel that goals and steps to reach those goals have provided guidance and security to me. There was always that thought that “I need to get there”.

I guess its normal to think about things like that when starting something new or somewhere new. With the chapter of formal education probably being closed forever I cannot rely on that anymore. It is time to set other goals – maybe more personalized ones.

I probably should have used my two years at Stanford to figure that out… Well. I have done at least a bit of soul searching in that field and have friends that are in the same boat. What do they say – business school is only the beginning of a journey of lifelong self-reflection.

Lets bring it on!

Cheers und bis bald,


GSB'15 Graduation

P.S. I am writing this post at the Panama City airport on my way back home to Germany. Two years ago I flew from Colombia via Panama to California. I am feeling oddly sentimental.