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About 2 years ago, I came across an article written about Grammy Award-winning musician and producer Kasseem “Swizz Beatz” Dean. I was intrigued by his desire to want to go back to school and compelled to follow his journey as his commitment to growth was inspiring.
“I just felt like you have to keep graduating your brand,” he said. “A lot of people get complacent with their success and things that they’ve done before and I just wasn’t comfortable with that because I started transitioning from producer to business owner. I would be in these rooms and, no matter how big the deal was or how good it is, people would still look at me like ‘Oh, he’s the rapper guy. “ Hip Hop DX.com.
He had applied and was accepted into Harvard Business School’s Owner/President Management Program. A $41,000 per unit course “Focused on corporate growth, leadership expertise, and financial success, OPM is an unparalleled opportunity to enhance your business skills, innovate with other talented executives, and prepare for the new challenges that lie ahead. Whether you seek a more global perspective, better ways to seize opportunities, or greater insight into go-to-market options, OPM can help you advance your company's agenda—and your leadership growth.” Harvard Business School website.
To me and maybe many others who have followed his career, it appeared that he had already achieved a level of success that most people dream about. Born and raised in The Bronx, he began his musical career as a disc jockey . From DJ to rapper, to producer, he quickly became an overnight success.
As time went on Mr. Dean began to pursue aspirations outside of the entertainment industry. He unapologetically, ambitiously set out to achieve incredible milestones in business which include Monster's Vice President of Corporate Strategy, Reebok’s Vice President of Sports Style Marketing and Design, Vice President of Lotus Cars and his latest achievement the Global Chief Creative for Culture for Bacardi. Bacardi’s portfolio includes brands such as Grey Goose, Bombay Sapphire, Dewers and Martini.
His story is inspiring as he humbled himself enough to know that in order for him to grow as a business owner, he’d need the knowledge to be able to do so. Growth is inevitable. It brings about much needed change in our lives both in business and personal. When we hear the word growth it means various things to different people. Growing professionally is about obtaining a certain amount of knowledge and experience that will hopefully elevate your career by way of a promotion (s). With that promotion comes added responsibilities and possibly an increase in your income. Personally, growth can mean maturity by way of life’s experiences. For example, the need to be at peace with the past in order to move forward positively in the future.
For some, education brings about growth in ways that far exceeds one’s expectations. The time and effort put into achieving an education may seem daunting and rigorous at times, you may even want to give up, however the investment is priceless! The wealth of information one learns is empowering. Your knowledge can be used as leverage in any business setting, whether you’re an entrepreneur or working in Corporate America. An education is the key that will propel you to the next level. This growth leads to opportunities that may not have otherwise been afforded, had you of chosen a different path. Investing in you is as important as investing in real estate, CD’s, bonds or businesses. Your return is greater than any of those entities combined together.
Mr. Dean, like many other’s value education much differently than most people. Those who devalue education, typically speaks negatively of one who places value on it. We often here that going to school is like “why go to school just to become a slave to corporate America”? or “why waste your money and pay debt for the rest of your lives?” Education by way of a degree, certification, or training program is more than just a piece of paper. It symbolizes knowledge which is empowering as you can apply this knowledge in various aspects of your life. For goal-oriented people, it’s a sense of accomplishment, another achievement under your belt. It’s an act of discipline. The idea of knowing you can essentially put your mind towards anything and all things can and will be made possible because of this. A step into the direction of the betterment of your life and others. It has helped break generational cycles of a lineage of non-educated family members. Those who never pursued educational goals past primary school or even high school.
I can appreciate those who do what’s best for them while encouraging others to do the same. In business, we have to do what’s best for us depending on our business goals. Education will help you to achieve them. Mr. Dean’s story, like many others is a reminder that we should want be a student for life. We can better navigate with confidence in business because knowledge has empowered us to be able to do so. If you’re looking for a sign, this is it! Going back to school or investing in that training program may lead you to that opportunity or “opportunities” in which you seek.