“MY EXPECTATIONS ARE NOW MUCH GRANDER”
That salary average might not excite all would-be MBAs, but Presidio does encourage students to think big in other ways. “My expectations now are much grander,” Galyon says of his job-related standards. The second-year student hasn’t targeted a specific field yet, but he feels that he’s made enough quality connections to move in whatever direction he chooses. Not that he can just take it easy: “It dawned on me,” he says. “Waiting until I graduate to start the job hunt is not a luxury I can really afford for myself.” He’s been putting himself out there, scheduling informational meetings—“basically just trying to put as many irons in the fire as I possibly can right now,” he says.
Crocker, on the other hand, is taking the opposite approach. “I have 100% compartmentalized graduation,” she says. She knows she’s going to take a break, but beyond that, she doesn’t have a specific plan, “other than maybe go to a yoga retreat,” she jokes.
She does have a clearer idea of what kind of job she’d like, though. At first, she wanted to get far, far away from finance, but as she’s gone through the program, she’s circled back to that world. She could see herself doing finance for a solar company, for example. She also knows the non-profit world isn’t for her; she has “a fundamental problem” with the fact that in many cases, non-profit organizations are not self-sustaining. “I have utmost respect for [non-profit employees] and their work ethic is tremendous, but I’d like to see a different financial model supporting their activities,” she says.
Whichever paths they go down, Presidio’s small but tight-knit alumni community will help them, Crane says. “I think our students are curious about the network but don’t realize how robust and amazing the Presidio community is in terms of providing a network,” he says. “It’s really quite unlike anything I’ve experienced.” Part of its strength comes from the strong identification with a common set of values, he explains. The group is consistent, committed, and almost tribe-like.
KEEPING PRESIDIO SMALL—IN TERMS OF NUMBERS, ANYWAY
Three years ago, Shutkin and his team devised a ten-year strategic plan for the school. Like most plans of that nature, it’s been revised along the way, but two big goals stand out.
First, Shutkin would love to have a more permanent presence in the Presidio. The closest thing to ownership in the park is a long-term lease, though the school is also in discussion with a potential university partner, an India-based institution with 120,000 students and roughly 14 campuses around the globe. The school doesn’t have a permanent presence in the U.S. yet, and it has its eye on the Bay Area.
Second, Shutkin would like to grow the school’s enrollment. “I’d love to see 80 to 100 students showing up here, new students each year,” he says. But his ideal size is still relatively small: 250 to 300 students in the entire school—which includes an MPA program—sounds good to him. “We don’t ever want to get too big, because we kind of like our tight intimate authentic community, if you will,” he says. “And size necessarily creates problems when it comes to cultivating a community like that.”
A smaller number of graduates means each one will need to be that much more effective to make a dent in the business world. That’s one reason why Presidio teaches students something called self-efficacy, i.e. the ability to understand the influence you can have on the people and world around you. “When they go out in the world, they need to be magnets,” Collins says. “In other words, the people around them need to want to work with them because they’re so comfortable.” An aura of self-assurance helps: There’s always the danger that people who haven’t bought into the whole business-for-good thing will think Presidio graduates are just crazy.