Last year in my Finance class with Professor Kondo we spent an entire week discussing the efficient frontier. And it wasn’t the first time it came up. In our finance classes, we talk about it a lot. How we can optimize our investments and how we can balance risk and return. Well, the same theory also holds true in business school.
With just one more quarter to go at Kellogg, and I feel like I am walking along the edge of the Efficient Frontier. At the end of the hallways in Jacobs, we can see the extreme risk and extreme reward at the end of the tunnel as graduation approaches. Underneath we can see the galaxy of decisions that didn’t pay off the way we hoped. And behind us lies the sandy beaches of having a lot of fun but not taking as many risks. I see people on all sides of me, but I’ve decided to keep moving forward to optimize my rewards, just like I learned in finance class.
At Kellogg, people are constantly searching for that efficient frontier. At almost every given point, we have to make tradeoffs. Tradeoffs about what classes to take, which jobs to recruit for, what clubs to lead, and what business ideas to pursue. And how to make the risk of the activities. But in the end, you can’t do everything. It’s impossible. Instead, you have to figure out the combination of things works best for you.
As you might imagine, each student here values these elements differently. While some focus on getting jobs, others want to increase their networks, travel more places, make more friends or take different classes. Personally, I am working on launching a new startup and I’ve invested more time than I ever considered.
And while these tradeoff decisions happen all year long, they become amplified during times like finals week and recruiting, when time is limited, and it feels like more is at stake than ever. It also feels like more is at stake as we move to the spring quarter at the end of second year. Because that is when we all look back to see if we made good use of your time during business school and do all the things we missed over the past year and a half.
As spring quarter just started this week, students are starting to think more about these decisions in our last few months on campus. What classes to take, who to reconnect with and what to do after school. And we can’t get away with not making a decision. Because if you don’t, you’re position on the frontier moves. The risk goes up. The return goes down. And you can feel yourself sliding. Moving toward the edge.
Fortunately, we have a good group of classmates to support us as we make those decisions. Stay tuned to hear how some of these decisions turn out for some of us second years during our last few months at Kellogg.