The takeaway from week 3 is: “This is how you merge sustainability goals and profitability aims in a highly competitive environment.” Some presenters made this case compellingly (Brooklyn Grange, Rudin Management); others less so (Brooklyn Research, WeWork).
But for the reader who is thinking about attending CEU, I would recount a statement made by one of my classmates this week. In front of the entire cohort, he said, “Ask yourselves, ‘What have I done every day here to further my career goals? How many contacts have I made? How many meetings have I arranged?’.“
Some students disagreed with the statement, saying, in effect, “Let us not judge others.” But the question was a useful spur to action for me.
A separate classmate who loves to get out and talk to people invited me to several meetings after of our day-time classes. We attended a meet-up at the Bloomberg building where one of the attendees had made a solution that greatly improves intellectual property research, and another spoke of his newspaper’s incubator. (Can you imagine a newspaper running a start-up incubator?)
Later, the same student arranged visits to the companies Gawker and Contently, a brand development agency. On my own, I met with Butterbeans, which supplies lunches and nutrition education to schools, and the Pratt Institute Incubator, a space for start-up fashion designers.
Did all of these visits directly contribute to my career goals? No. However, put them all together, and there is a palpable energy. In the shadows of corporate high-rises, at ground level, New York is a bee-hive of people doing cool things.
You will get hints of this dynamism from the in-class speakers and visits. But the after-class visits go beyond the hints and plug you into the dynamism of new ideas and new approaches. The energy will stimulate your mind and build your self-confidence. And there is value in simply being aware of what ideas are out there. It actually makes sense for a newspaper to run an incubator as a way to keep itself informed of the latest trends.
So my final suggestion to future NY module participants is to collaborate with your colleagues outside of class to further your career interests. When my classmate arranged company visits, he always asked them if he could bring a small group, and when he met people that could assist me, he introduced me to them. His generosity helped me get more value from this experience. Likewise, I shared my finds with colleagues whom I thought would benefit from them. Win-win.