The Golden Circle

From small, faculty-led classes to funded undergraduate research, the University of Richmond offers the benefits of both a liberal arts college and the opportunities and resources only found in large research universities. Tell us how you would utilize these resources in order to reach your goals.

One of my favorite business mantras is from Simon Sinek: “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” This idea is based on what Sinek calls the “golden circle” of business. The outside of the circle is the “what,” the middle is the “how,” and the inside is the “why.” Sinek argues that in business you must start from the inside, the “why,” and work your way out. I know that to succeed I will need to master all three of these important aspects of business — the “what,” the “how,” and perhaps most importantly the “why.”

The Robins School of Business is exactly the right place to conquer all three levels of the golden circle: after all, without the right people behind them, companies have little chance of success, and the Robbins School consistently produces leaders across business fields. While the material resources and research opportunities at the University of Richmond are fantastic, it’s the intangible resource of great minds that is the most valuable asset. Access to these great minds is the crucial “how” of any UR student venture.

I often dream up ideas for businesses and products, but run up against obstacles when I don’t know the right coder to bring the website to life or the right graphic designer to get that Kickstarter campaign going. Without the ideal people to create a product or service, there can be no “what.” At UR, I would simply enlist the help of a computer science student, find a cozy place in Whitehurst, and start bootstrapping. I love the fact that Robins School of Business students have access not only to all students at other schools within UR, but also to classes at those other schools. This interdisciplinary education will allow me to explore the endless possibilities of the “what” of my future business endeavors while also helping me discover, of course, those elusive “whys.”

Failure is an unavoidable part of business, but is always accompanied by invaluable lessons. One of the best lessons I have learned thus far came from my first failed company, HashStorm. The plan was for a Bitcoin “mining” farm funded by people who would purchase partial ownership of hosted ASIC Bitcoin mining operations and their respective Bitcoin revenues, enabling investment in Bitcoin without the necessity of purchase through an exchange. I had believed that Bitcoin would change the way people banked, and had wanted to create a way for the less tech-savvy to be a part of the Bitcoin ecosystem; this was my “why.” There was only one problem: I needed to create a first-rate website. My coding skills were hopeless. Though I searched for someone who was willing to work for equity, I simply didn’t have the right connections. Two months later went online, providing a similar service and doing so with much success. I learned the hard lesson that in business there are very few new ideas; what matters most is how well ideas are executed. With HashStorm, my execution suffered because I lacked the resources I needed, the knowledge that would have equipped the business to thrive — the kind of knowledge I will gain through firsthand business planning experiences in courses like MGMT 350 – New Venture Creation.

I’m often divided between my love of entrepreneurship and my desire to pursue a finance career. When I was researching the Robins School’s courses in these fields, I was delighted to find that I would not have to choose between my interests, but could complete intensive studies in each one through the management and finance concentrations. Entrepreneurship and finance have much overlap, and the Robins School’s interdisciplinary curriculum will allow me to excel in both. With entrepreneurship fueling my desire to innovate in the finance field, and finance guiding and refining my entrepreneurial ventures, I will be able to create a truly meaningful “why” that will drive all of my endeavors.

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