During these first two months at the Samuel Curtis Graduate School of Management at Cornell University, I have met many bright, talented and successful people. For me, being at business school is an opportunity to reset my thoughts and way of thinking. Often when we are involved in business or life discussions, we assume (based on our experience and “knowledge”) that there is a correct answer for almost every subject. It’s my personal view that people make valid arguments and can agree to disagree. I don’t think it is a matter of inflated ego; it is simply the way we behave before coming to business school.
I am not sure if it's possible to be truly prepared for business school before being immersed in it. Everyone has different objectives and ways to approach the experience; however, I have found it amazingly useful in many instances to think like a kid. This is good for me because I don’t have to ask myself if something is good or incorrect, and at the same time I get to enjoy simple things in the world: like the first time you went to a game with your father or your first day of kindergarten.
Personally, thinking like a kid means I can be a successful professional yet still enjoy the view and freedom to open my eyes and mind to really appreciate what I learned in the classroom. It means I can take time to sit in the grass and contemplate an amazing sunset without talking about the next day´s final exam. I can be silent, breathe, and enjoy the moment. Many times we try to be too logical, and often notice a memorable view but don’t enjoy it; we say “I’ll come back someday to sit down when I have more time.” That was my attitude before coming to Ithaca. Actually, I’ve missed that type of view before because I was studying. Now, I sit down and enjoy a coffee. I have learned to value the moment.
We feel so important and successful when we meet with a vice president, attend a board meeting, or interview at a dream company. We feel there is no room for mistakes. However, at the end of the day, business is business. At some point, by being overly cautious about risk-taking, your experience takes on increased relevancy and shadows your creativity. I worked so hard that it was difficult to take big risks. Being reckless (like a kid) has advantages and is exciting. I remember my first time trying to skate; my parents told me not to do it. I broke my teeth and never tried again. Despite that, I enjoy remembering how bad I felt and the unforgettable pain. Yes, we make mistakes and it is good to learn from them. I prefer to take risks and learn, rather than try to make my business school a perfect experience.
This sounds so simple; however, we are involved in so many day-to-day projects, dreams, and goals that we forget to consider the simplest thing in life. I recall my first meeting with the Career Management Center (CMC); I arrived with all my lists: companies I wanted to work for, alumni, job descriptions, etc. The CMC advisor asked what made me happy. She asked about my priorities in life and if they align with my career dreams. Many friends and I were surprised with those questions because we were not prepared for the most basic questions in life. Thinking like a kid helps me to remember my answers to them.
My comments here are completely personal and based on my personal experience; I understand everyone has a unique point of view and analyzes things differently. I invite everyone to think about the basic stuff. Getting a good job is important, paying loans is important, getting good grades is important, and being a leader is important. But are they as important as enjoying the journey and smiling like a kid after eating ice cream?