What Would You Do with $37,500?

What would you do with $37,500* for the next 12 months?

This is the question we recently posed to a friend who is considering fleeing her unfulfilling job for graduate school in business.

Our friend is smart, ambitious, articulate and curious. She thought that graduate school would be an ideal way to explore her curiosities while escaping a boss that had the management skills of a toddler.

Before she’d commit to this path, we suggested a brainstorm across three key alternatives:

  1. How to spend the money to explore the exact topics she was curious about but in a more experiential way
  2. How to spend the money exploring her list of 20 experiences she wanted to have in the world over the next 10 years (make this list if you haven’t already!)
  3. Five ways she could explore her purpose more deeply with this money

She was interested in an MBA, so we started there.

We asked her to consider what were the five areas of business she wanted to learn more about. Her answers included entrepreneurship, finance, consulting, digital ‘stuff’ and project management. From here, we imagined how she could explore each in a global setting (because why wouldn’t you travel with $37,500?!).

For entrepreneurship, we explored the opportunity to go to Guatemala and help launch a social venture with CAREER X in the world heritage city of Antigua.

For finance, we talked about finding a friend that was unsure how to raise funds for his startup idea and helping with this effort.

For consulting, we discussed joining one of nearly a dozen organizations such as VolunteerMatch that match volunteering professionals with companies that need help on core business processes such as marketing, operations, and more.

Related: 3 Helpful Ideas for 21st Century Job Search

For digital, we considered visiting an incubator and working with a startup in Chile that is short on cash but full on energy and needs someone to learn the digital ropes with them.

For project management, we reminded her that budgeting and managing $37k over a year seemed like an ideal project management experience.

Next, we moved on to brainstorming the list of 20 experiences our friend wanted to have in the world over the next 10 years. The list included backpacking through southeast Asia, working at a school in Morocco, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, and many more.

“Which of these two routes — going to graduate school or completing the list of your desired experiences — would get you closer to your objective of changing careers and provide an immensely wider aperture on opportunities?” we asked our friend.

The most powerful part of her experience list is that she wouldn’t know what paths it would lead her down — what aspects of her heart and soul would be ignited, what new relationships and opportunities would be uncovered.

Graduate school drastically narrows where you find employment. The schools want you employed in as high paying a job as soon as possible (it maximizes a school’s ranking and statistics). This means catering to the usual big corporations… If you are not keen on those careers, you’re back to exploring for yourself.


Few of us ever dedicate the time (and energy and courage!) to figure it out. We brainstormed at least five ways she could start: going to a silent meditation retreat, joining a new spiritual community, changing her environment by moving to a new country for a period of time, and of course, enrolling in our Purpose Accelerator.

In the end, our friend chose to fuse sparks from all her lists and begin her journey in Spain this Fall.

What would you do?

* The average cost of a masters degree is between 30k-$120k so let’s make it $75k over 2 years and therefore $37,500 a year).

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