The deciding factor was people, scholarly achievement not a component. One who went on to become a great college head coach, Al Bagnoli. One week after graduating from Siena, a higher power sent me a message.
He was terrific but the student body was larger than I desired and the players were mostly large, as well -- wasn't sure I could contribute. The small, Franciscan liberal arts school was about a fifteen-minute drive from SUNY Albany's campus. I'd under-applied myself academically and over-applied myself carousing, compiling a middling record in a major that wasn't for me, primarily financed via student loans. Nice to have an accounting degree but couldn't imagine spending my life as a CPA, if I could even pass the licensing test. During a night on the town, I lost a man-auto collision. Thus began a two-week hospital stay, followed by over a year of intense physical therapy -- two legs and an arm to rejuvenate. Daily routine: Up early, quick breakfast, half hour drive to a morning of physical therapy, quick lunch, hour drive to an afternoon of SJU library study, quick dinner, all evening in class, half hour drive home, sleep, repeat.
He had me open the series for both the fall and spring semesters, inviting me back for the coming school year.
Along the way: Travelled the globe, managed nearly 15,000 people at peak and had many a fascinating interaction -- quizzed by David Ogilvy, scolded by Martin Sorrell, charmed by Michael Milken, embraced by Rupert Murdoch and dined with Mark Zuckerberg, amongst others.
The "Twists & Turns": I'd found myself in the middle of a massive hostile takeover, tense billion-dollar debt restructure and nascent concept transformed into an S&P500 Internet sensation.
I'll close with two thoughts that always brought balance. If it worked out, my reaction was, "Of course," enjoyed the win, mindlessly motored on.
My Two Learning Truths: 1) I absorbed nothing from success. When I failed it was disaster -- moving just as decisively, some would say arrogantly.