Fostering Enterprise & Creating Value in Trade

IDEAS Research Workshop Featuring Dr. Rajshree Agarwal

Last Friday’s IDEAS Research Workshop will change you.


How do I live a fulfilling life?

Which relationships will make me my best self? 

How can I change the world?

All these questions were answered by Dr. Rajshree Agarwal in a way that was masterful and directly applicable to the listener’s life.

As a young college student, I have a plethora of questions, dreams, and doubts about my future. 

Dr. Agarwal’s talk made my path a lot clearer.

Who is Dr. Agarwal

Dr. Rajshree Agarwal is the Rudolph P. Lamone Chair and Professor in Entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland and director of the Ed Snider Center for Enterprise and Markets.

She heavily focuses her research on the implications of entrepreneurship and innovation for industry and firm evolution.

Not to mention, she has been published in way too many places to list here.

All of that is extremely impressive, and she has had a fascinating life to get there.

Dr. Agarwal has an unprecedented understanding of what is truly best for her life, even if it is against the advice of society and her peers.

Her extraordinary wisdom was present even at 21 years old when she left her home in India so that she could have a choice in her work and marriage.

She left everything she knew because she knew it was best for her.

That is serious wisdom.

Then she did it again later in life when she decided to give up her promotion and tenure at the University of Central Florida, so she could join the strategic management area at the University of Illinois as an assistant professor.

In the eyes of most people, it seemed like a step backward.

For Dr. Agarwal, she knew it was the right decision for her life, and it was clearly a good choice if you look at where she is now.

Now that you’ve seen some of her credentials and experience, you understand why she is the perfect person to be answering these four deep life questions.

The 4 Key Questions

To live the most successful, fulfilling, meaningful, and joyful life possible, Dr. Agarwal advised that we ask ourselves the following four questions.

1. What is my purpose or mission statement?

According to Dr. Agarwal, the key to this answer is solving problems that are deeply meaningful to you.

At their core, most professions are solving some kind of problem, and Dr. Agarwal argues that you should choose a meaningful problem, as opposed to one that just pays the bills.

Another way to look at it, she said, is to find how you can make the world a better place.

If you can figure out those two things, then your purpose should be clear.

2. What does success look like for me?

Dr. Agarwal gave an amazing quote to help us answer this question.

She said the quote “I love what I do, and I am very good at it,” is exactly what we should be aiming for.

I also found the graph (right) she showed us to be a great tool to determine what I should focus on going forward.

Jobs and hobbies are great, but Dr. Agarwal states our calling is what will give us true success.

3. What is my value proposition?

In other words, how are we going to provide value to our community, society, and world?

Dr. Agarwal showed us another awesome graph (right) to help us answer this question.

She suggested that we provide value that is both unique and beneficial so that we can be truly indispensable.

That is the kind of value proposition we should be working towards.

4. With whom should I trade?

This is arguably the most important question of all.

Who should I spend my time with, associate with, and do business with?

It is a tough question to answer, but luckily, Dr. Agarwal gives us yet another graph to help.

She proposed that we should spend most of our time, energy, and business in relationships that are beneficial to us and to the world.

Those are the relationships really worth having.

Learn More 

All in all, Dr. Agarwal’s presentation was truly an hour of deep learning and self-discovery, from which I left with a much healthier mindset about the future.

If that interests you (and it should) watch the recording here and register for future IDEAS Research Workshops as well.

They truly are mind-opening experiences.

Posted on November 13th, 2020 by Shane Corbett in Ideas