Risk: It’s All in the Attitude

Posted on Mon, November 18, 2013 by Carole Gaudet.

The Center for Business & Society provides support for students to attend the annual Net Impact Conference, held this year in San Jose, Califronia. Caroline Bressan T'14 offers her reflections on the trip.

As a second-year Tuck student looking for a full time job, I am always listening for words of wisdom from people who have been in my shoes. At the Net Impact Conference in San Jose I heard some great advice while attending a panel entitled, “Not Your Grandma’s CEO.” The panel included three CEOs from the natural/socially-responsible food industry discussing their experiences getting their dream companies off the ground. They talked about how they’ve made choices about business overtime.

One CEO in particular, Seth Goldman of Honest Tea, had some particularly relevant advice to share. In a question about how to navigate jobs and recruiting prospects post-MBA, he said that the period after graduating from an MBA program is the time to take a risk. For him, that risk was starting his own beverage company. Goldman clarified that the risk does not have to be something as extreme as launching your own entrepreneurial endeavor, but it does have to be something that makes you uncomfortable. Maybe that’s going to work in a new industry or moving to a new country. When you are uncomfortable you have the greatest potential to learn, and that, said Goldman, is the most important aspect of whatever choice you make after graduation.

I walked out of the panel thinking about my own job prospects – was following my passion of impact investing enough? Where was I taking a risk? I decided that risk is all about attitude. My own risk is pushing myself to develop my business development skills and bring in new clients for the impact investing advisory firm I’ll be working for next year. I could safely stay in my comfort zone of due diligence and product structuring, but I am taking Seth’s advice and choosing to focus on areas where I’m less comfortable. Since coming back from the conference I’ve negotiated putting business development as a responsibility in my job offer – thank you Net Impact!