College… or Not? – Zach

I have always been one to question societal norms and the paths set before me, so I have been going back and forth about where I will be going next year. I was sure I wanted to take the next 12 months “off,” or more accurately dedicate them to business, but then I visited Babson…

nannofood gigaimpact water no bottom logoI love my company Nannofood. I am incredibly passionate about the basis of the idea, and I’m an autodidact, especially when it comes to aquatic invertebrates and algae. As far as business goes, I launched my first venture selling parking when I was seven, and I have been travelling the world learning about business from my dad who has done everything from consulting to venture capital to corporate strategy. As far as education and motivation go, I feel like I am ready to jump into business and really experience what it means to an entrepreneur.

So, naturally I am not a huge fan of the classroom. I love learning, but I have uncovered my own passions. I have tasks that I want to accomplish in regards to aquatic life and business, but classes give me a very different agenda; I find the two lists to be conflicting because instead of reading that new science journal, I have to read a book for English and write an essay. Pair that with classes and activities regularly throughout the week, and school just seems to be confining. If I’m going to launch a business in a developing country, I need to go launch a business in a developing country, not live on dorm in Boston while I dream about going to Guatemala to build a farm. While I appreciate the value of higher education, I have an understanding not only of my own personal goals for a career, but also of the entrepreneurial landscape. I’m ready to dive in.

downloadI did, however, apply to colleges and I was ready to send in a deferral request for a gap year. It was going to be great, and I could dedicate myself to my business and passions. However, on April 10 I took a trip up to Boston and visited Babson. I joked on the drive up that it would be like going to a business networking conference, except without career-oriented network and many less business cards. Before I left Babson late Friday night, I was eating my words: I had a pocket filled with them. It was horribly amazing.

I was on campus for 16 hours, but in such a short time met students there who were anywhere from ideating business ideas to running companies that were doing over $20 million annually. Students were working for venture capital firms, interning at awesome organizations and planning pitch events; I actually participated in a pitch competition while I was there and won. I met people who loved social entrepreneurship, and visited various on-campus resources for entrepreneurs that were all very interesting to me, but also quite interested in my venture. It was a fantastic trip.

blank-center-web-v3

The Arthur. M Blank center hosts accelerators, networking events, and Babson entrepreneurs to help them continue to develop their businesses from finding funding to setting up office space.

Now my decision is about opportunity cost. Is the value of the added time and diminished structure of a gap year more valuable to my business in the next 12 months than the value of the connections at Babson? I don’t think so; I’m really leaning toward Babson. But, I have a few more days to make the decision. I’ll keep everyone up to date with my decision.

Until next week,

Zach

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