With less than four months (Yikes! How did it pass so quickly?!) left on the program, our thoughts have turned toward our post-IMD careers. Many of us are looking to continue paths that we already started, many are looking for radical changes, and many are seeking something in between.
As this is an integral part of the IMD experience, I will keep my readers (especially those future-IMDers) posted on my progression as I move from a high-level, general strategy to something more focused, to [hopefully] offers, to selecting my next move.
I am pursuing my career search using a corporate model. I am the CEO of my search (I’m also the product that I will eventually be marketing.) and, as such, I put together a Board of Directors to help advise me. The Board consists of one VC, one pilot, two consultants, two entrepreneurs (This is how I’m classifying you—let me know if I’m off the mark.), three CXOs, a banker, a doctor, and a lawyer—I think that provides adequate diversity! The Board members are spread around the US and Australia but I have some informal advisors in Europe as well.
The first emails I sent to my Board members (mid-July) contained variations of the following information. It is general and ambiguous, but it is a starting point. Although I have limited my Board to 10 members, I would certainly welcome comments and criticisms from the rest of my readers. My opening position:
My objective: to change the world through business leadership! I hope to do this by obtaining an influential general management position (with an entrepreneurial element as well!) at a company with the potential for significant global impact.
Skills I bring: founding and leading organizations, communicating and persuading diverse stakeholders, and global perspective, having lived in three countries and speaking three languages
Experience: 7 years in entrepreneurship and general management with software companies serving diverse industries and geographic markets around the world
By definition, general management is awfully . . . general! So my challenge has been to refine my career search to focus on just the areas where there is the greatest fit. After a significant amount of thinking about my strengths, motivations, goals, and experience, I have decided to target the following four industries:
Renewable Energy (solar, wind, geothermal, tidal, etc.) – I am familiar with the energy industry through having served it with software my whole career; now I see it as an industry with the potential to change the world—for the better!
Commercial Space Operations (space industrialization, exploration) – I have lived in the shadow of space exploration my entire life and it has always been a passion of mine. With the growing number of companies participating, I see opportunities to contribute without working for bureaucratic government organizations.
Nanotechnology – I am specifically interested in nanotechnologies that support renewable energy (carbon-walled nanotubes that transmit electricity over vast distances with little attenuation, for example) and commercial space operations (incredibly light, strong materials that make reusable launch vehicles more practical, for example). Although I have no background in nanotech, Rice is very strong in this area and should provide significant networking opportunities.
Web Software (Internet portals, applications, etc.) – I remain enamored of IT and its ability to change the lives of millions practically overnight. Given my background, this is probably the “lowest-risk” search strategy, but I am committed to pursuing the others with equal gusto.
Geographically I am targeting the USA (Houston, Austin, San Diego, or Silicon Valley), Italy, the UK, or Switzerland. I am open to the right opportunity that is based anywhere, and I anticipate significant travel, but these are my ideal “home bases.”