Business school students generally head in one of two directions almost from their first day of school: finance or operations. The all important question is which one to pursue because it makes all the difference.
The allure of finance is working with money to buy and sell companies. Success is when a small stake in a large transaction generates a healthy payday in a short time.
The attraction of operations is working with people to build and run something of value that is eventually realized through a sale, financing, or public offering.
Finance looks like the fast track to great wealth and has attracted the best students for decades. Operations looks like a long, hard road with a massive payday only for the few with enough dedication, talent, time, and luck to pull off a successful start-up from scratch. While the economy needs both financiers and operators, the promise of quick and large returns has left the world short of the talent it needs to drive growth and scale of quality organizations.