When I launched my blog in 2009, I never realized how many people would eventually read it. But I wanted to discuss the importance of sharing information and of education, especially for people in my communities. Today, I’m proud to represent my schools and the JD/MBA program, as well as discuss my experiences with social organizations like MLT, Revive the Dream, Education Matters, Cristo Rey and US Empowered as an active blogger and education advocate today.
My belief in the importance of education was shaped early on by my parents who left Youngstown Ohio back in 1988, where the poverty rate was nearly 50% and very few people ever got a higher education. So they hopped on a greyhound and fled Youngstown, with nothing to their names, and moved to west in search of opportunity and the American Dream. They envisioned a better day for our family and imagined my sister and I getting a good education and attending the best schools in the world, even though nobody ever game them the same opportunity.
We stumbled our way through bad school districts. I moved schools a multiple times in a two year span and was almost held back on numerous occasions from low-end public schools that weren’t equipped to make these decisions and help me to get back on track. But my parents found a way to ensure I got the education I needed. They worked hard and devoted themselves to ensure that my sister and I had opportunities they never had. Their dreams came true when I enrolled at Stanford University in 2001.
Along the way, we found that having access to information also made a really big difference. Not knowing enough about the college application process I only applied to Stanford because one of my best friends applied. Luckily, I was able to get accepted. But I chose my major at Stanford (Anthropology) based on interest but little did I know that wasn’t good enough for some job applications. Two years later, I couldn’t even get first round interviews at any of the big banks when many of my friends and house mates got multiple interviews with their economics degrees. I came to find that selecting the right major and taking the right classes (just like picking the right school) played a big role in determining what opportunities were possible at the time. This is what compelled me to start my blog.
Today, my biggest takeaway so far is that while sometimes raw intelligence and unique skills can be enough for admission into your top school or landing your dream job, taking your career to the next level is also about having good timing, finding committed mentors and most importantly having access to information during critical transition points. So in high school when you’re applying to college; in college when you’re looking for a job; and after college when you’re applying to grad school.
And so I want to use my site as a way to be a voice for those who seek it, and over time to become a venue to democratize access to this information that for many, is so hard to find, and for others who didn’t even know to look. And my readers benefit immensely because many come from diverse backgrounds and from families where access is limited.
I have done all of this through the lens of a Northwestern JD-MBA student. I think this will continue to be useful to grow the wonderful JD-MBA program here at Northwestern as well as to demystify the application process for the program. It will also be useful more generally as people begin to see the different values that both degrees have and how all of those factors look at Northwestern versus other institutions.
Since I’ve been blogging, I have proudly taken part in helping people get admitted to great business and law schools and motivating people to pursue their Wildly Important Goals. I’ve also engaged in conversations about the education system and articulated my beliefs about what works and what does not work in business and in business school.
But it doesn’t all end here. A lot of work still need to be done in 2013. Access to education in disadvantaged communities is not changing. The cost of education is on the rise. And the gap between high and low income students is higher than ever before. I look forward to not only blogging about these issues but also working on them and many others this year.
I also recently started the #AskJeremy segment, where I’ll respond to any questions my readers have, namely questions about education, community and social enterprise. CLICK HERE for a few early videos. I look forward to hearing from you all.
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