Monday, November 02, 2009

“What do I want to be when I grow up? I would like to continue to work in the nonprofit world (once you go nonprofit you never go back!). I am interested in researching how entire industries and fields evolve, and in organizational leadership. I hope to work at a think tank or a nonprofit consulting firm.

And how does an MBA fit in? I hope that I’ll learn more about organizational structure and dynamics, and I’ll beef up my analytical skills.

Ultimately, to co-opt my favorite line from the movie
Notting Hill, I’m just a girl asking an MBA program to accept me….” – Future MBA Girl, 11/10/03

Just six years ago I put pen to paper (or rather cursor to screen) and started this blog. When I started it, I wanted to chronicle my journey through the MBA application process. At the time, there were less than 2 dozen MBA bloggers out there and none of them were women. I threw my hat into the ring to add some diversity to the MBA applicant voices, to have an outlet to spew my anxiety, and to help others by describing my experience. Once I got into and matriculated at school, the blog morphed into a description of my Wharton experience. After graduating from Wharton, I’d hoped to continue to share my experiences in the nonprofit consulting world in this blog. But alas, that didn’t pan out. (Obviously since I haven’t written in over 2 years.)

You see, while I was anonymous during my application process, I was completely outted once I started school. And I didn’t mind that. It was a little weird to meet someone for the first time and experience them telling me how much they love the blog, or having a friend comment on a recent post. But I got used to it. I really enjoyed writing, and I loved knowing that reading my angst was helpful to people.

But being angsty just doesn’t work once you have a job. And trust me; there have been plenty of angsty moments during my three years post Wharton. But it doesn’t seem right complaining and freaking out about work when everyone knows who you are.

So I held back. I limited the few posts I wrote to platitudes and generalities (“Consulting is sooo hard”), which wasn’t helpful – not to people reading and definitely not for me. And so I stopped writing. It wasn’t deliberate. In fact, I’ve started this LAST POST dozens of times during the last two years. But it didn’t feel right to leave the blog behind. Something always felt incomplete.

But this is my LAST POST (teardrop!).

This seems like the right time to officially close the blog. A lot has happened since I left Wharton. I went to work for a nonprofit consultant firm (Bridgespan). I remember being extremely excited for the opportunity to work for Bridgespan. And my time at Bridgespan was amazing. The work WAS hard – like other consulting firms, I worked crazy hours, I dealt with demanding teams, and I grappled with some of the biggest strategic questions facing my nonprofit clients. But I loved my clients. I worked across the nonprofit sector: public health, early learning, foundations, intermediaries, charter school management organizations, etc. And I love my colleagues; they’re some of the most passionate, smart, dedicated people I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. But consulting was never supposed to be a long term thing for me. In my essays to business school, I talked about doing it for 2-3 years and moving on. And this past June, I moved on.

It was probably one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. I didn’t know what was next. I knew I wanted to work in K-12 education. I believe that the disparity in our public education system is one of the greatest civil rights issues of all time. And I wanted to contribute my skills to an organization focused on addressing education inequity in this country.

I talked to a lot of different organizations and people during my search. But throughout my search the thing I was most interested in was how to improve human capital in education. Not surprisingly, the adults in the school (e.g., teachers, school leaders) are the most important “in school” factor contributing to student achievement. Now that we know that, we can get to work articulating what it means to be an “effective” teacher. And then we can find ways to modify professional development and training to increase the pool of effective teachers out there (notice – I didn’t say get rid of bad teachers. Yes, that’s part of it. But to me, we can’t leave out PD and training. And that’s something that’s totally missing from most of conversations about teacher effectiveness).

As you can see, I’m sort of geeky about this human capital thing.

And now I get to work on it all the time. Next month, I’ll be starting work with The New Teacher Project (http://www.tntp.org/) in Louisiana. The New Teacher Project. TNTP is a national organization focus on working with districts and states improve teacher effectiveness. I can’t WAIT to start work.

So, you may be wondering why I’m ending this blog. I mean, I could write ad nauseam about education and things like the administration’s use of things like But there’s that anonymity thing. I don’t have it. And to blog like I’d want to blog, I’d need it.

I might start another blog. Even writing this last blog has reignited something. But I won’t be able to tell you where it is or what it’s about. Cuz if I told you, I’d have to kill you. Metaphorically speaking, of course.

And really I think it’s time to end the blog. After all there’s nothing “future” about me. I have my MBA. I graduated from Wharton. I became a nonprofit consultant. I did what I said I wanted to do in my business school essays. But now I’m going off plan. It seems fitting to end the blog now.

I’ve loved blogging. Thank you for reading my musings and whining. I hope it was helpful to you.

Peace out, y’all. Peace out.


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