Culture and Society,  Education,  On Management

Back to School or Onwards to School?

After 8 years of working in senior roles across real estate services and luxury retail, I head to the University of Amsterdam for a BSc in Business Administration. This extensive three year course would involve understanding all aspects of managing an organisation in a scientific manner, with all the perks of an excellent academic environment and a prosperous global city. I shall be relocating, and soaking in the experience. The university is one of the world’s best, falls in the top 1% business schools, and I’m certainly excited for this oncoming shift in worldview.

When I dropped out of my undergrad engineering course in order to start up, it was because I was sure of what I did not want. While the college life was rewarding with people and activities, I was not able to absorb academics the way my fellow students managed to.

Engineering was my second choice, first being advertising and I couldn’t get into the best college around. Engineering was an easy entry on merit. But spending more time to get a degree that I won’t need seemed like an unworthy task, thought it better to invest the same time into building and creating something new. I did what I knew best, and ventured forth into work life at the age of 20.

Entering a college again was always on the agenda, ever since I stepped out of one. Not just to get a certificate, but to go deeper into a subject of choice. While a mix of liberal arts and business is on my mind, it made sense to do a grad in business first, considering that’s all I have been doing all this while. The question was when, and now was inarguably the right time.

While new opportunities to lead larger organisations and teams kept coming my way, I was also increasingly aware of certain technical gaps that may have come forth after accepting a larger role, leading me to burst at seams. Being a self taught business person had ensured that certain knowledge areas receive lesser attention, and those cracks had to be bridged.

Back to School?

Some attributed the decision to my parents, which was amusing – and I have been clarifying whenever the topic pops up that education (in whichever form) has always been my decision, aptly communicated to my darling family.

My folks have been incredibly supportive and happy throughout. Their concern with me leaving engineering was more to do with me apparently running away from responsibility, which they soon realised is not the case – my pursuit of learning and effort had actually doubled – and that had them satisfied. Blessed to have been raised with such faith and freedom.

While interacting with my dear ones, I had been liberally using the phrase ‘going back to school’ until my uncle recently asked – “will it not hamper your current rhythm of working and simultaneous learning?” This helped me pause and ponder.

“This is not a step back, and the term ‘going back to school’ indicates a linear progression – from point A to point B,” I explained. “My life has never followed this linear progression. Quite the contrast, it has instead been a delightful stream of academic, career & personal progressions happening in parallel. Whatever I have experienced and learned till date will only add to what the future holds.”

Thus, in 2018, I go onwards to school.

List of articles on previous work transitions:

From Hammer and Mop to SILA

Building a Good Company

My Foray into Organisational Effectiveness

Stepping out of Real Estate, and How Art Tempts

My Work at Eské and Art Should Tempt

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