Student Blogs


Laura Guzman, CEMBA '14

Sep 20 2013

What’s the big idea? In pursuit of inspiration

Laura Guzman, CEMBA '14

As a marketing professional, I feel as though I am in constant pursuit of the next great idea in my daily life.

But now, in the midst of our second year and the much-anticipated New Ventures class, the pursuit of the “next big thing” has been taken to a whole new level. We’re finally to the point when all the lessons in accounting, statistics, operations, and marketing are all supposed to start coming together to help deliver the ultimate course deliverable – a real business start-up.

Easier said than done.

In the throws of this endeavor, I find myself asking, can all the classroom lessons really prepare you for you for the real world of business? After all, what does it really take to be an entrepreneur? How much of Steve Jobs’ or Elon Musk’s success was learned versus intuition - or just plain luck?

A recent Wall Street Journal article argued that if you're looking to launch a start-up you should consider skipping B-School altogether. Instead, they can opt for fast-track programs that teach the bear minimum basics, just enough to be dangerous and go get their startup ideas off and running right away.

As a card-carrying business school student, I of course can't advocate this view. While I appreciate the pressures both in finances and time that are associated with getting good ideas off the ground, but I can’t help feeling like there are no shortcuts.

At least that’s what New Ventures is teaching me.

Personally, I think inspiration is messy math. It is a combination of experience and knowledge, plus a propensity to constantly look around at the world and see what’s going on – or not. It also comes from having an open mindedness towards trying new things, even if they might fail. Oh, and add a little dash of luck every now and then too.

It's also about surrounding yourself with the right inspiration. Making the case for B-school: beyond the lessons learned in the classroom – and these are hugely valuable – it provides an amazing opportunity to surround yourself with a diverse and extremely intelligent group of people who are an endlessly supply of experiences, points of view and ideas. Where else would you get to interact with such a diverse brain trust?

When push comes to shove, I suspect inspiration - and ultimately success - will always come when we purposefully put ourselves in environments that inspire learning, thinking, debate. 

So while I can't say I have been able to come up with the next “great” idea for my New Ventures project yet, I'm convinced that my team is in the right environment going to come up with something….anything!

Now accepting inspirations.

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