Last week, during the evening of Wednesday August 13, I spoke at an event in support of Entrepreneurship and Princeton University – 2 things that are near and dear to my heart. I did have to fly down to the Silicon Valley for the evening — without my boys — which is always hard on me.
I am currently slated to run the Princeton Entrepreneurship Network – the alumni organization that organizes events to help Princeton Entrepreneurs get started. Because of my involvement I was asked to speak to a group of about 75 people about my ideas and thoughts concerning entrepreneurship and the Princeton community. The event was organized by a young man who will be a sophomore at Princeton this coming school year. I have to say I was a bit skeptical that he would get good numbers of attendees — as he started the planning process about 4 weeks before he wanted to have the event. But he rocked it and got more than the expected 60 people to show up, as well as enticing some really interesting people to come and speak.
Mark Jung, the former COO of Fox Interactive and MySpace, now the CEO of VUDU was a panelist, as was Josh Steinitz, founder and CEO of NileGuide.com, and Peter Wendell the founder of Sierra Ventures and Chairman of PRINCO (Princeton university Investment Company) was a keynote speaker –just to name a few of the stellar participants. The conversation was very lively and fascinating. The 3-hour event flew by and before we knew it we had to wrap it up.
It was fun to be a part of this event, and definitely worth the short super speedy trip. I look forward to becoming more involved in Princeton Entrepreneurship and growing the alumni business plan competition.
I often wonder whether I should return to school to get an MBA. I work in technology, work with entrepreneurs, and I run a company that deals with business planning, marketing planning and business strategy — all big topics in MBA programs. Brazen Careerist, Penelope, writes today in her post about whether MBA’s are becoming obsolete. It’s interesting to see that perhaps other people may begin to see the MBA as superfluous as I have struggled with whether an MBA would be worth it to me.
Don’t get me wrong – I would love to go back to school for 2 years, and spend some time studying. I would love to do an Executive MBA, but there are no good ones in my area. I have looked into programs like Duke and UT which have Executive MBA’s that you can do from far away, but they still require about 3 weeks per semester on campus. While running a company, and being a mommy to 2 young children all those options are just close to impossible. I have thought about perhaps getting an MBA once my kids are a little older, but even so its a tough proposition for me at this point in my career.
The other problem is that I feel that I would be getting the MBA just for the 3 letters. Not that I wouldn’t learn anything, but that after 12 years in the business world, many of those years focusing on entrepreneurship and business management, I look at many of the class offerings and feel like I would not get as much as I would like to from them. I feel like being in class with people with only 2-5 years of business experience would not do as much for me. Obviously an Executive MBA program would put me in a more “equal” footing with my classmates, but as I mentioned, even those programs seem almost impossible for me to manage at this point in my life and career.
It would be interesting to hear more from people further on in their careers — who have or have not done MBA’s and hear their thoughts. For someone who did one later in their career – was it worth it? Did you learn a lot? Do those 3 letters mean more then just the prestige and potential salary increase?
I had an interesting interaction with my 3-year old over the weekend that reminded me that most of us are faced with whether to be naughty or nice throughout our entire lives. Sometimes its just worth being naughty — even considering the consequences.
Sunday my youngest turned 1, and we had a birthday party for him. My 3-year old helped me frost cupcakes before the party and decorate them with sprinkles. He had plenty of licks of icing while we did this, and partook in the sprinkles as well. As you may imagine 30 minutes later he was jumping out of his skin, running around like crazy. He must have asked me 30 times whether he could have a cupcake. I must have answered at least 30 times that he could, but he had to wait until the party and until we sang happy birthday to his brother.
The doorbell rang. I went to answer it, looked back, and there he was shoving a cupcake in his face. So off we went to time out. After the required 3 minute time out, I asked him whether he knew why he was in time out. He said “yes mommy, I ate the cupcake.” I said “Ok, so please remember next time you have to listen to mommy.” To which he replied with a devilish twinkle in his eye “But mommy, the cupcake was so good!”
I had a hard time holding a straight face. I couldn’t believe he was telling me that the cupcake was worth the punishment. But at the end of the day — we have all been faced with choices where we have to think about whether the consequence is worth “breaking the rules.”
Entrepreneurs are faced with these types of decisions all the time. Do you rack up huge credit card bills, take on a second mortgage, and boot strap your dream at the risk of losing it all? Many entrepreneurs have decided that it is just worth the risk.