Before I came to b-school, one of my work colleagues asked me why I wanted to go. Business, he said, seemed like common sense. The goal is to make money. If you have a good idea and used common sense, surely anyone could make a buck. Why did I need training for that?
At the time a tiny part of me wondered if he was right and I was wasting $100K+ on a common sense education. But with one semester of school under my belt, I can safely say that this stuff isn’t easy. We read case after case about smart people who are caught in difficult situations. And in some instances we’ve learned that common sense can get you in a whole lot of trouble.
But the idea that this stuff was easy officially died for me one day last semester. I was talking to a classmate who worked in banking and then started his own clothing business before coming to Darden. Scott had a great designer, an innovative concept (the clothes were made in Manhattan and sported tags that said so) and some good buzz. But the business didn’t make it.
Fast forward to Darden and Scott is learning many of the lessons that could have saved his business.
He said it was a little frustrating to realize in class that if he’d just had a few more tools, if he’d just known about this concept, if he’d only learned that framework earlier he might still be in business.
Business might not be rocket science. But it’s certainly not easy.