EducationUSA Mentorship Program

Strategic thinking paper


Project yourself to 10 (ten) years from now. Describe how you would position yourself in both professional and personal settings of your life.


In particular, answer the following questions:

  • Where in the world are you living and working? Identify 3-5 places where you hope to spend time in the future.
  • What is your purpose?
  • What is your mission?
  • What are your values?
  • What are your core competencies?
  • How you are creating value for your family, company, customers, community, country and planet?
  • What brings you happiness and peace of mind?
  • What key events back in the past that helped you get started on the road to your future?
  • Alternatively, do you have any life-changing experiences, mind-opening books that you reckon have shaped your life?


Write a plan of action that will take you on the first leg of your journey. Don’t forget to include your diagnosis, decision, analysis and reality test.


If you feel a bit uncomfortable or silly about this assignment, trust the process and do it anyway. I thought my professor* was crazy when he asked me to write a similar paper in 1997. As it turned out, however, the paper opened my mind and changed my life. Yours might do the same for you. If not, trust me, someday that pang of conscience will strike you and it will be beneficial to you.


There is a limit of 12 pages, including both double-spaced pages of text (with 12 point font and standard margins) and exhibits (any combination of graphics and quantitative analyses you desire). You may submit less than the maximum page limit. I prefer quality over quantity.


Feel free to include supporting facts and data in Appendices to back your analyses.


I will read the papers carefully and will evaluate them based on your ability to:

  1. Integrate the concepts from the books and reading materials
  2. Think strategically
  3. Show your marketing skills in diagnosing, decision making, analyzing and reality testing using a real world example: you!


Good luck and have fun!


*Professor Thomas J. Kosnik is a Fenwick and West Consulting Professor, Stanford Technology Ventures Program (STVP), at Stanford School of Engineering. He is an International Advisor for National University of Singapore Entrepreneurship Centre, and a cofounder of Gear Up Ventures, a global partnership that helps entrepreneurs in organizations large and small to create new markets and disrupt existing markets. For more information please check

April 17, 2015

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