What greater call to action could there be for today’s universities and in particular business schools?
I am often asked why I advocate for higher education and why am I so passionate about business schools.
Throughout my secondary school years, I wasn’t a great student as I didn’t understand the relevance of what I was being told. As a consequence, I wasn’t taught and I was certainly never involved in my education.
I didn’t lack creativity or curiosity, in fact, I had many outlandish and aspirational ideas about what I wanted to do. However, I was unsure about how to achieve these ideas, I was unclear about what the future may hold.
My early education was a period of unrest and dysfunction; time passed with little purpose. As I reflect today, I have no doubt that this was in part driven by the very experience I had at school during these early years.
What response does someone who is innately curious, creative and yet so unsure have to these circumstances?
I truly believed the answer was to return to education. In retrospect, it took me longer than I wanted, however, the decision has stood me in good stead to achieve a successful career as an entrepreneur and as an executive.
When I entered university I remember feeling quite unsure about what I was to experience but thankfully, my curiosity overrode the doubt.
As I reflect back on achieving my Masters of Business Administration [MBA] in 2008, I realised I was no longer the person I was when I started the journey.
My eyes had been lifted; they had been opened. I saw and digested things differently; my taste buds had changed and I found myself seeking out new and exciting experiences.
My curiosity had been fulfilled, at least for that moment in time. I was less uncertain and less unclear about the future and I had acquired a new passion. Perhaps the most surprising was the revelation of a passion for higher education.
I had been taught, engaged and involved in a way that I had missed when I was younger. For the first time, I was discovering who I really was. This is a journey I expect will continue throughout my lifetime.
Business schools cultivate the talents of those who are innately curious. It’s a sanctuary for bright minds who want more from their lives; a place where people can find a sense of direction to channel their passion.
Successful business schools are places where students are encouraged to embark on an adventure, to explore unchartered territory. This journey is not for the feint hearted as it often exposes revelations that confront and challenge long-held views and assumptions.
Business schools offer a supportive environment for people wanting to innovate, learn and share their experiences. They are places where creativity, collaboration, and curiosity can run free.
Attending a business school will equip you with a wider repertoire of skills, capabilities, and insight than when you arrived. It is a place of higher learning that you can return to continue the journey to expand your skill set and continue to satisfy your curiosity. The inner desire that fuels the fire within is what will allow you to wander through the vast possibilities of your life, to learn and share.
Successful business schools are those that listen to their customers, their students. They embrace the insights, energy, and excitement to enable students to continue their participation. Joining a business school community provides you with a platform to explore your thirst for knowledge and will bring you back to learn more as your journey evolves.
Business schools are a safe environment to discover who you are, to tap into your authentic self and often in many instances, will be the first place where you can accelerate the discovery of the authentic you.
So why am I so passionate about business schools?
The opportunities that further education has provided me have been incredible. I have witnessed the change education can make in the lives of those who are courageous enough to venture back to university to educate themselves. Returning to university enables people to realise a future that in many instances simply would not have been possible if it had not been for the knowledge, experience, and network gained.
I am no different in this context. I owe a debt of gratitude to the university that gave me a chance to explore opportunities and to discover enough about myself to know that the journey I was now on would never end.
My involvement today with Universities and in particular, business schools allows me to give the gift I was given, the gift of opportunity.
How could I not be passionate about that? How could I not be passionate about the transformative change that education makes in people’s lives?