Imagine yourself checking the job bank one night as your wrestle with the possibilities of spending the summer as a consultant or a banker. A new job listing catches your eye. The organization: The United States of America, the title: Chief Executive, the location: The White House. Intrigued by the possibility of securing a job and a house simultaneously, you check to see if interview slots are available. There is just one slot open and it is scheduled for 2024.
Neither the course platform nor the job bank existed in 1975 when President-elect George W. Bush attended HBS. But as a result of his recent achievement, the United States Presidency has joined the list of places one can go after leaving HBS. Now, that could never happen to me, you say. I’m going into business, not government. Well, a quick look at Mr. Bush career path reveals a common thread among many successful politicians today- they often have a substantial background in business.
His post HBS career began in the oil and gas industry in 1975. Two years later, he formed his own oil company, Arbusto Corporation (‘arbusto’ is Spanish for ‘bush’), continuing there until 1986. After working on his father’s 1988 presidential campaign he assembled a group of partners that acquired the Texas Rangers baseball team, a major league franchise where he served as Managing General Partner from 1989 until 1994. In November of 1994, he was elected Governor of Texas, then re-elected, and…. well, you know the rest.
Regardless of whether you see a future for yourself in politics, it is easy to see the ‘tightly coupled’ relationship between the affairs of government and the workings of business. In fact, my limited observations of politicians lead me to conclude that some of the most effective stewards of taxpayer money were first effective stewards of shareholder money. Additionally, winning in politics and in business involves good strategy, hard work, and lot of plain old luck. So as you contemplate departing HBS for a career as a compassionate or not so compassionate capitalist, keep an open mind. Who knows where your career path may lead?
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