How did I arrive at today?

“I need to make a confession…I did something that I regret, something that I’m not particularly proud of… in a moment of youthful indiscretion, I went to law school.”

— Daniel Pink, The Puzzle of Motivation, TED Talk

Back in high school, I enjoyed every subject except science and English. I wanted to be a lawyer and I have no idea why. My paternal grandfather (who passed away years before I was born) practiced law in Pakistan. That was my only connection to law. I guess I’m passionate about justice and helping others and I definitely did not want to be a doctor.

In hindsight, I could have pursued an engineering or architecture degree. I’ve always excelled in mathematics. But this information doesn’t really connect here…

Regardless, my plan was to complete my bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and then law school from there. My father said no — well, to the law part at least. I hail from an Asian household. I had to agree. So I came up with this idea; I stuck to the first part and changed the second to a MBA. He agreed — phew.

Years later, I was soon no longer going to be an undergrad student and I had started an internship with a civil rights advocacy firm. I worked on numerous discrimination cases and enjoyed the results of helping my community members. I convinced my father that I wanted to pursue a law degree and this time it worked.

I studied for the LSAT (one of the worst times in my life) and did not do so hot the first time. Long story short, and many agonies later, I decided to quit my pursuit of law school. I didn’t know why I truly wanted it in the first place. I was very happy with my decision especially post all the mental suffering and felt like a weight had lifted off my shoulders. The bittersweet scenario decided to play out on my birthday of that year. I was accepted into law school. My mind wasn’t going to change. The idea of law school was history for me.

During the span of the months of my pursuit, one of my dear friends was studying for the GMAT; she wanted her MBA. For the math portions, I would help her study. When the study sessions were over, she left her extra study book with me and asked me to keep it in case it came in handy to me one day. Little did I know that I would soon go down that path.

It has been about three weeks since I started my first MBA class: Organizational Behavior. I chose this as my first class as it was one of my favorites in undergrad and the fact that I did not want to take a quantitative class during an accelerated summer term.

So far so good.

It feels nice yet unfamiliar to be back in school again. One of my now ex-coworkers told me, when he found out about the MBA, “All the coursework and material will make so much more sense now that you have spent a few years in the corporate Silicon Valley life.” He was absolutely right.

The concepts surrounding business have always intrigued me and a lot of what I am learning are concepts I think about on a daily basis; ideas I regularly recognize in organizations and communities.

One of the required readings is Drive by Daniel Pink and I watched a TED Talk video by him on motivation. That is where the quote posted at the beginning of this article comes from. This post was really structured around that line as it inspired my write-up.

Show your support

Clapping shows how much you appreciated Tanya Agha’s story.