After all of the self-generated hubbub, I have decided against the MBA.
I began having second thoughts when I realized that I needed to address a skills gap.
I’ve learned science and math. I consider myself a decent writer. But, I can’t code. I don’t even know what code is. And, in this day and age, that’s embarrassing (not to mention, impractical).
My goals have remained the same. But, I don’t think I can reach them if I’m unable to program. I do think I can reach them without a formal, business education. And, I can certainly reach them without an extra $120k of student loan debt.
So, it’s settled.
Now, I just have to find a program. There are so many options: bootcamps, free online material, guided (and pricey) online material, old-fashioned programming texts, post-baccalaureate courses etc. I have a lot of sifting to do if I’m going to cobble together a technology-steeped education.
On the other hand, there’s also the go-all-out/comprehensive option. If my ultimate goal is an interdisciplinary career that mixes chemistry, education, technology and entrepreneurship, shouldn’t I cast my eye towards EdTech programs? Maybe I should ignore the insane price-tag and go for a technology/education hybrid that’s tailored to my specific needs.
It is official. It’s crunch time.
5 1/2 months to get conclusive results in lab and to write/defend a thesis
2 months to prep for and take the GMAT (and perform with flying colors)
2 weeks until I hear from the business competition I entered
2-3 weeks to scout internship opportunities for the fall semester
and 1.5 months (I think) to apply for NSF I-Corps Teams
(oh yeah, and I’m also going to learn how to code).
I’m clutching my heart…I think I’m having a heart attack.
It’s the big one.
I can feel it!!
Alas, I’ve brought this upon myself. I got the bright idea to commercialize a patent. It was me who got bitten by the licensing/I-must-get-an-MBA bug 2 seconds before the 2015 application season.
Today is a GMAT-study day.
Tomorrow, I’m back in the lab, hoping that my bacteria will do what they’re supposed to.
In the olden days, there were shape-shifters.
Folks were transformed by a spell or talisman.
The frog who transformed into a prince? A shape-shifter.
Mr. Beast who locked Belle in his castle with singing teacups? A furry shape-shifter…with horns.
And lest we forget, there was Princess Fiona from The Land of Far, Far Away. (Shape-Shift, Inc. was ahead of its time as an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer).
But, as a modern society, we no longer believe in the shape-shifter.
Fiona? Dracula? Wolf Man? Fooey!
Nowadays, the shape-shifter has been off-shored and has lost the battle against obsolescence.
He/she/it has been replaced by the CAREER-SHIFTERS…of which, I am one.
Pipettes here, spatulas there and spilled yeast everywhere
From my lab bench, the objects and fungi would stare.
As I toiled to make solutions
I came to the conclusion
That TCA and protein might mesh well
With strategy and marketing to sell.
With rolled-up sleeves and a furrowed brow
I thought, “I must get my feet wet (in business) NOW!”
Off to 3-Day Start-up I went,
and after 72 hours were spent…
I HAD CHANGED.
No, I had not transmuted into a dog with mange
But, I wanted to further explore my new decision
And tip-toe towards a science AND business collision.
Technology transfer offices and commercialization…
I wanted in, as this trend swept the academic nation.
Now, with days devoted to the TCA and titanium dioxide with which I work,
a business plan 1st draft for a tweaked, lithium-ion battery lurks.
Once called Generation Y, the “millenial” seems to be the term de rigueur these days. We’re the guys (and gals) who knighted Justin Timberlake and made 90210, Doug, and Ninja Turtles synonymous with 90’s pop culture. We’re the kids who would one day inherit the booming, 90’s economy.
Our parents cheered during our games and clapped after our concerts. They showered us with praise and attention because we were the “baby boomlets”, who deserved nothing less. Our career paths were written in stone. Many of us dreamed of the corner office, of a duplex apartment and of winning the “trial of the (new) century”. We had grandiose goals; all of which could be attained by following a pre-prescribed path.
Or so we were told.
But, this was before the white shower of debris on September 11th. This was before “shock and awe” and the seemingly endless wave of war. This was before the “Great Recession” and the Occupy movements.
We weren’t in the nineties (or Kansas) anymore.
Those of us (like me) who had once eschewed passion in favor of prestige were forced to find ourselves. We (I) needed to find our place in this new, Bizzaro reality in which:
-the once vaunted MBA toppled gracelessly from its pedestal
-some called the J.D. a “toilet degree”
-cash-conscious doctors begged their kids to study engineering
-pink-slipped engineers told their kids to become doctors
-scientists bemoaned career prospects and sought MBAs
-non-scientists rejected the MBA and hailed STEM (science et al.) as the next big thing
-grad schools of education were slammed, but the clarion call for teachers roared
-and some brave (or confused?) souls wanted colleges to disappear altogether
The contradictory clucking and crowing had left me with no choice. I had to set my own priorities and follow my own path. I had to do things independent of the chatter. There was no strategizing to be had.
So, this blog is a collection of my thoughts and experiences as I wade through life on my own terms—as a grad student, a 20-something and as a newly minted Philadelphian.