When a NASA or SpaceX rocket blasts its way off the launch pad, it is a loud and spectacular sight. For me, watching such a launch has always brought me an array of feelings – humility, fright and fascination. Fighting my way through academic and career challenges can sometimes give me the same feelings. It was therefore not a coincidence that, many years ago, I started to compare my goals and dreams to milestones in a space program.
Whilst developing my space program, I had just finished my LL.M. and was plotting the early stages of my career path. The first steps can induce a feeling of prodding anxiety. What does your job ask of you? Is the job right for you? Does it suit your dreams? Does your life satisfy you, now? What will bring you satisfaction in life going forward? What should your future look like? What makes you get out of bed in the morning? In addition to posing myself these questions, I confided in my mentor over many years. Being a partner and Attorney-at-law at a leading law firm in Denmark with a Danish and American LL.M. as well as a finance degree, he is no doubt a high achiever and an example to follow. He laid out his career story and introduced me to the curve of achievement. After getting their degree, most Danish university graduates stop progressing as life’s complacency hits; the development of the curve flattens or maybe even decreases. In contrast, few continue to push themselves with challenges and keep on accelerating in a progressive development curve.
After the session, I thought deeply of his compelling career and his progressive development curve. It made me think of a rocket. Obviously, building such a career would need a space program. Such a program has to be ambitious, so my program had to be too. The goals would have to be hard to grasp, otherwise it would not provide me the necessary sense of development and satisfaction. Therefore the goals and dreams had to be tailored to my values and beliefs: Who I was, and who I wanted to become in the future. Landing on the surface of the Moon would provide me as much satisfaction as it would be fulfilling a dream, but the goal had to be reaching for the stars.
When I started to dream of an MBA, my sights were already set on something beyond. In Denmark high achieving lawyers within the corporate world do not only have an LL.M., they also have “the big three”: the title of Attorney-at-law, a finance degree and an MBA. The big three consist of two academic pillars of knowledge; legal methodology and finance, respectively, bridged by the knowledge of business. In combination, the three disciplines would provide a foundation for which I could build a solid career counselling corporate managements. Furthermore in a competitive environment it would provide me with a strategic upper hand that many do not possess. It might even take me to a managerial level one day. The big three would serve as my space program, with the MBA as my Moon landing.
Before landing on the Moon, I had to develop the proper technology that would aid me in exiting Earth’s atmosphere and defy its gravitational pull. At the same time I would need life-support systems to assist me in surviving the inhospitable environments on my journey. Nations do not commence such space programs without a basic knowledge of science. If the gap between the dream and my current skills were too big, I would fail. I needed a reality check. Being an LL.M. with a linguistic high school background and working in the banking industry without a higher level of mathematical knowledge was a hindrance for further development and, ultimately, a career stopper for me. Moreover with the time it would require to complete the big three, at the age of 26; my time was running out. In the spring of 2009, I sketched my space program.
By the end of 2009, I had learnt two years of mathematics in four months while continuing my full-time job. This was a stepping-stone to the completion of a finance degree three years later. In the same year I passed the bar exam and was titled Attorney-at-law. Years earlier, I had started probing around for a suitable MBA, visited schools and tried my luck with the greatest time-consuming ponzi scheme of all, the GMAT. It was not until the summer of 2014, when I met a student of the Executive Global Master in Management from LSE that I found a match. The EGMiM would enable me to continue my career and the same time pursue an international and highly academic masters degree, a degree that would fulfil my growing passion for management.
We choose to go to LSE! We choose to go to LSE in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win.
Learn more about our Executive Global Master’s in Management programme