“I know you always want to have an MBA degree.” My brother called me from Kentucky in August. “There is this program specially designed for small business owners like you. Try it. It is free if admitted.”
This 10-minute conversation with my dear brother caused me a 4-month commitment to the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program this fall. After an on-line application, an on-site interview and one week of Hurricane Harvey, I was admitted to this program (Houston site) in the middle of September 2017.
We have 20 scholars, as called by the organizer, in this session. The purpose of the program is to teach busy businessmen to grow their business. Unlike degreed programs, which are costly, length and faculty-focused, the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program is a gift, fast paced and peer-focused. It is not only free, but they also provide breakfast and lunch. My classmates are all business owners, but I am the only one in petroleum engineering area. I guess that this does not matter, as all business share the similar process.
One day, a lady instructor showed us a slide loaded with the information of US firms. To my surprise, there are nearly 30 million companies in US. She continued to the next slide showing the number of employees of these companies. It was even more shocking: among those 29+ million companies in US, more than 80% are no-employee firms. Ever wonder how many US firms hiring more than 500 people? The answer is 18,219. So, for those of you who are working for big companies, you should feel privileged, because only 0.06% of all the US companies hire more than 500 people.
However, if you are working for companies with only a few or a couple of hundred employees or you are running one of similar sizes, please do not be discouraged, because together, we are the largest employer in the US economy.
A few weeks into the program, I have been inspired by the creative way of their teaching. We paired up to do presentation and discuss. We used super-sized Post-It to brainstorm our ideas on new opportunities. We are encouraged to generate ideas for other business owners. I already got some ideas how to generate ideas within our company. Keep learning and keep practicing, I told myself.