What education would you invest in?

I have around 15-20K dedicated to investing in myself. I can invest in some form of education that will have a long-term payoff, not just short-term pleasure, something that will significantly enhance my life and career.



Apart from that, there’s no constraints. Anything’s game, from a program at MIT, taking classes at an MBA program, a Tony Robbins seminar, invest it in stocks, real-estate, or private equity, a one-month yoga retreat in India, or just buying time off from paid work to build a company or climb a mountain.



What do you think would have the greatest impact?



What would you do?

16 comments

Possible problems with global economy comming. Run on USD$. Oil disruption with bombing of Iran. 1) Dont do just one thing. Diversify. 2) Hold some liquid assents...possibly beyond just money (gold or silver?) 3) Buy something useful that will appreciate in value. Used to mean owing a home in U.S. but bubble in home values burst here. 4) Satisfy your craving for improving yourself by buying (and actually taking the time to read) a few GOOD books.
By Mr. Obvious on Sun, Dec 31, 06 at 08:28 · Reply
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I agree with Mr. Obvious. If anything, use that money to buy time. Read more and enjoy life more (maybe travel). Happy New Year!
By MikeInAZ on Sun, Dec 31, 06 at 08:28 · Reply
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If you diversify too much you spread yourself too thin, and reduce your gains closer to average. Risk isn't natural - find your place on the risk curve. Insead costs more than your budget, unless you get support. If it's the right thing for you (ask somebody who has an Insead MBA first) then it would be very worthwhile, but it's difficult (but short!). Ever tried GMAT? Not enough cash for real private equity, and it distances you from learning about investing. Anyway, there's too much private equity chasing not enough opportunities right now. You might consider utilising half on personal development (includes improving your home or work environment, reducing stress, travel, reading, education, etc.) and half on investments (whether it be building businesses, or investing in them).
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p.s. if you're considering Insead, I can put you in touch with an interesting Danish Insead MBA grad.
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I have been thinking over a similar question - although without the explicit budget! I know a lot of people who have MBAs (comes from once having worked with a management consultancy) and there seem to be two main answers to the question "should I do an MBA" when I have asked people I respect with MBAs: # No # Yes - but only at a top school - for a number of reasons. The teaching, the people you meet, the credibility. The only European school I'm familiar with is Insead. The one person I know well who studied there loved it. As robin says - it will cost you more and be much harder than you think. I don't necessarily agree with robin about diversification - I think that depends on you and your ultimate goals. I think like me, one of your key strengths is in being able to understand and bridge different areas of life. Just like you are trying to bridge emotions and logic (which is something not everyone can do). For myself my growth ideas are (in no particular order): # Masters of International Relations (University of Sydney) # Computer Science Masters - research into something search/AI ish # Law degree # Drop everything and go join the startup circus in Silicon valley As you can see - fairly diverse! There are two fairly distinct possible outcomes and I don't know yet which I want. Which is quite a good question - can you imagine what you would like to be able to do/do better after this study/self improvement?
By Mark Aufflick on Sun, Dec 31, 06 at 08:28 · Reply
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My suggestion for short/mid term time range. Buy yourself time to go a 100% into a product startup (you know which one i'm hinting at). Perhaps combined with some coaching/mentoring in that process.
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@Thomas: Sounds intriguing. What sort of coaching/mentoring are you thinking? I did hire a coach a few weeks ago, and it's proved immensely helpful so far.
By Lars Pind on Sun, Dec 31, 06 at 08:28 · Reply
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was thinking the equivalent of what you'd get with an mba. infact it's a funny idea to deconstruct an mba down to a group of people, time to reflect and coaching/facilitation. it would probably be easy to setup the equivalent of an mba environment if you we're 8-10 people.
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I really enjoyed and valued my MBA. Met up with a colleague I worked with prior to taking it just before new year. Interesting to get his perspective on how much it changed me. (mostly made me very results driven, financially aware and (unusually for an MBA) left wing). Also really valued the people I got to meet, not just the classmates, but the large number of CEOs, industry experts etc.
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Just remembered the Personal MBA site, check it out: http://joshkaufman.net/personalmba/
By MikeInAZ on Sun, Dec 31, 06 at 08:28 · Reply
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Lars, I think money is like blood - it's life giving, but for it to nourish you and help you grow strong and thrive it needs to keep moving. Once you start to hold onto it or restrict it's flow in anyway then it congeals and can longer help you. So I would say invest in Lars and discover how Lars can best serve the world because that is the way that life will serve you best. It's in discovering and doing this that your security, happiness, health and success lies. One rule -> what goes around comes around. A little piece here that might help --> http://www.life2point0.com/2006/05/how_big_are_you.html Best wishes for a wonderful 2007. url: http://www.life2point0.com
By Nick Smith on Sun, Dec 31, 06 at 08:28 · Reply
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MikeInAZ - Personal MBA is fantastic. There is also a nice-to-print pdf version as a ChangeThis manifesto: http://www.changethis.com/17.PersonalMBA Joining it with Thomas's idea, if there are a few people interested in working through some of the books we could start a kindof online book club - meet up by audio/video once a week/fortnight to discuss. That would help keep me to a timeline if nothing else! Anyone up for that idea?
By Mark Aufflick on Sun, Dec 31, 06 at 08:28 · Reply
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Thanks to everyone for the great comments so far. This is very valuable to me, and I'm sure to others as well. It opens up the philosophical question of learning through books vs class room vs doing, and between doing more and doing less. It seems pretty clear that getting a full MBA is both out of budget and not worth the cost, both opportunity, out-of-pocket, and living expenses for the duration of the study. I'm leaning towards learning by doing, though I also know that there's something that a person who is both a doer and a teacher can tell you in words, in person, that's much more powerful that what you can ever get from reading a book. So the doing should be done with one or more people of that caliber. Also, coaching and mentoring is going to be invaluable. I've recently hired a coach, and it's been really really valuable. I need someone to help push me out of my comfort zone and address the important issues that I don't tend to see myself. Re Personal MBA, I'm definitely in on a study group there. I think I have at least half these books on my shelf already, albeit some yet unread. Also, there seems to be "a v2 underway":http://personalmba.com/discussion/363/update-personal-mba-v2-your-thoughts-are-needed/#Item_0, it'll be interesting to see what changes are made. Btw, does anyone have a copy of Swanson's Unwritten Rules of Management? It seems to have been pulled due to copyright violation, though it sounds good. To Nick Smith, this is pretty neat. I'm actually being pulled in this direction through a variety of people: My coach, my mom, my wife, a friend, and of course, myself. My family and I are going on a two-week yoga trip to southern India in a few weeks. I guess that does qualify as education when viewed through this lens. Things seem to be crystallizing for me here. Money isn't the real constraint, time is. I need to invest my time in only the most valuable things. Life is short. The picture that seems to be emerging is this: I'll buy myself time to focus on my startup (Cucina Media/PublicSquare). I'll augment that business with some more people. We're already talking to some people that I would be honored to work with and inspired by being around, and there's also a couple of "open positions" as I see it. I'll keep my coach, and find other people to use as mentors, a personal advisory board if you will. But equally important, I will find other people who I can act as a mentor or coach or advisor for. If you're interested, let me know, I'd love to get started with this right away. Then I'll keep reading books to educate myself, and do it in a study group with some of you and some folks from my company. I can't stop myself from reading, anyway, so this is a no-brainer. Some short (1-5 day) seminars and courses could fall into this bucket as well when that seems the more effective way to grow. Finally, I'll keep working with myself psychologically and physiologically. I do work out, but only through relatively stressful means like running. I think adding Yoga and other more inner peace-focused practices like breathing and meditation is going to be right for me. I'll know more soon. Taking a step back and thinking about the big picture, I realize that Nick Smith is right on. This is a fantastic opportunity to test a thesis that I have. What thesis? That if you focus on serving other people, on contributing to their lives, on adding value, and on discovering who you really are and how you can best serve, contribute, and add value, then you will be rewarded financially as well, your financial needs will be taken care of. I can feel the fear already. What if I just give and give and at the end of the year I'm broke, money squandered, and I have to start all over again? What if the thesis is true, but I look and look and I fail to discover what it is, and I still end up broke? What if I'm just a loser new-age dreamer and I end up broke? Fear is usually a sign that you're onto something. There's stuff to work with here. Thanks for your wonderful contributions so far, I'm very grateful. And keep them coming, we're not done here.
By Lars Pind on Sun, Dec 31, 06 at 08:28 · Reply
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Count me in on a study group. I think external motivation and discussion would benefit everyone. Another link I want to drop is Steve Pavlina's blog: http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/archives/ Some of you might be familiar, but for those who haven't, I think this site is such a good resource for personal development. My favorite article: http://www.stevepavlina.com/articles/do-it-now.htm
By MikeInAZ on Sun, Dec 31, 06 at 08:28 · Reply
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I think a little short term pleasure would help as well, so I'd recommend a few courses from <a href="http://www.teach12.com/">The Teaching Company</a>. They're great for listening to while jogging, walking, or driving, so if you do those enough they can be added to your schedule without much further work. The topics range from Ancient History (my favorite) to Business & Economics. The sale prices are decent and won't make much of a dent into that budget; the regular prices are much higher.
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Steve spent time in India. Looking forward to hearing about your India, Lars - it's an amazing place.
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