Recent conversations have led me reflect and provide tips for the younger generation:
- Talks with rising high school seniors, college-bound, and post-grad students seeking input on local schools (namely, Georgia Tech and Emory) especially as an entrepreneur
- Life regrets
Much of Atlanta’s growth can be traced to the talent coming through the Institute on North Ave, and I excitedly share all the amazing resources at Georgia Tech and at the students’ disposal including the affiliated Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) incubator.
Access to some of the most brilliant minds is just a walk away from dorms while the knowledge capital amongst the student population is top-notch. I was intimidated when I started at Tech with students to my left and right valedictorians, salutatorians, World Science Fair Finalists (one person invented a 3D scanner), programmers with flourishing internet businesses, and even professional video gamers. It’s rare you will be in another place with so many like-minded peers in the same age group ever again.
My advice to students was the lesson learned from Boy Scouts: Knowing and Using the Resources of the Group. The “Group” here is The Institute (applicable in any college), and the “Resources” is everything – from using your status as a student to completely cold call contacts to building a team of cofounders, it’s all right there.
Seek out the intricacies of the university people do not know about. Ask alumni for tips and secrets they only discovered at school. At Emory, one “secret” was finding out students had access to 16 sessions with a counselor/ therapist. No time like the present to start creating greater self-awareness. These sessions (I milked them for 19) were EYE-OPENING, and one of the first tips I tell any student (prospective or current) at Emory.
To the second conversation, one of my biggest regrets is not actually taking advantage of the resources at Tech. Fresh out of Boy Scouts, you’d think that lesson would have resonated more, but it was only after college that I realized the massively missed opportunity.
College should be fun, and it’s one of the greatest times to try almost anything. Succeed or fail. Either way, learn and experiment. The MBA year for me was my second try, and I did just that. I took advantage of as much as I could from Emory. Even more fascinating is that Emory has been an incredible school for me to continue to leverage today. I speak to classes. I call on and meet with several professors. University reps actively help promote my book. It’s been great.
The kicker to all of these conversations and all the advice: it’s the same advice you can (should) implement today. Yes, even beyond school. Whether it’s at the companies we work for today or the yoga classes we do at night, the resources in front of us are in abundance. Oftentimes, it just takes stepping out of your comfort zone and saying hello to someone new, or just being more curious (not cautious) about your surroundings.