Better yet, work at a start up that’s disrupting the student loan market for the benefit of future MBA students such as myself.
That may not be your answer, but, hopefully through sharing with you how I have decided to spend my pre- business school honeymoon, I can help you think about what you would like to do with your time before business school.
After getting into business school, you enter a unique phase of your life. The initial reaction is a sigh of a relief, a sense of catharsis, as all the hard work that was put into getting in has finally paid off. This is quickly followed by the excitement of what’s to come, the endless opportunities for learning, meeting new people, and once-in-a-lifetime travel experiences.
Blazing this new trail begins well before the first day of school. For some, it starts a month before the first day of class with a whirlwind trip across the globe. For others, it begins in the spring as they leave jobs they dislike to recharge and reset.
My personal journey has put me in a position to think about these questions earlier than most, a solid seven months prior to the start of school. With so much time, there were lots of options to consider.
1. The Staycation
I could stay put and just take some time to enjoy life. Italian classes. Perfecting the double shot from a La Marzocco espresso machine. Lazy afternoons in Central Park and Kale Margarita fueled nights in the East Village.
2. The Globe-Trotting Adventure
Or, I could just sublet my apartment and take off. I could embark on a slow-travel trip around the world, bouncing from hostel to hostel – I’ve been eyeing Patagonia and New Zealand for a while. Or I could undertake one of the epic North American hikes such as the Pacific Coast Trail (PCT), Appalachian National Scenic Trail (AT), or Continental Divide National Scenic Trail (CDT).
Both of these options sound pretty amazing, but before I got started mapping out a six-month trip around the world – it hit – that all too familiar itch. It’s an itch I believe that a lot of us feel more often than not, yet never seize the opportunity to scratch. It’s the entrepreneurial itch to create something disruptive. When the itch hit this time, I found myself in a place where I could take the risk of working at an early-stage start up trying to do big things while at the same time having the security of business school on the horizon. To me, this represented a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity the same as does an extended staycation or a globe-trotting adventure.
3. Scratching the Itch
I ultimately decided to seek out an opportunity that has always intrigued me. I’ve long thought that one of the shortcomings of business school was that there was only time for one summer internship. That doesn’t leave a lot of room for iteration to figure out in which direction you want to pivot your life as you launch from business school. By “scratching the itch” before business school I may find my dream job or realize that early-stage start ups are not the place for me. Either realization would be extremely valuable. To get experience in a potentially unrelated field, you may have to be a bit flexible when it comes to compensation. However, the experience can effectively turn into a pre-business school internship, adding more leverage to the business school experience.
I chose to scratch the itch and see where it led. For the past few months, I have been working at CommonBond, an innovative company with great people who are fixing the student loan market by offering lower rates than available through traditional channels and creating a community designed to drive borrowers’ professional success.
I really enjoy what I’m doing and am glad I chose this path. Do I want to travel for a bit before business school? You bet. And I probably will. But by pursuing my passion for start-ups and disruption, I feel like now my business school experience will be that much more enriching (and valuable).
Rex Carazo is a Community Developer at CommonBond, a social lending platform that connects student borrowers and alumni investors to lower the cost of education for students and improve financial returns for investors. CommonBond is also the first company to bring the “one-for-one” model to education. This is the first in a series of “I’m in… Now What?” posts for prospective and incoming MBA students.