Why I Left my Job for Model United Nations

by Ryan on September 2, 2010

Last month, I left my job to work on Best Delegate full-time.

I was working at Goldman Sachs, the Wall Street investment bank. I started right after college, and right before the financial crisis erupted. I had a good job where I was learning a lot from really smart and supportive colleagues. Despite recent controversy, I was proud to tell people where I worked: friends, classmates, and—most importantly—my parents.

So why would I leave? And to run a blog, of all things?

My Last Day at Goldman Sachs

The short answer: I’m starting a business centered around this blog. I’m going to help students use MUN to get into college and find a job, which is what I did with MUN. But there’s more to it than that.

Twenty-somethings like me struggle with the question, “What do I want from my work, my relationships, and my life?” We have education and experience, alumni and professional networks, social media and the Internet. We are free to work and travel, teach and learn, create and connect. We have more choices to do what we want than any generation before us. And yet, the paradox of having more choices is that it paralyzes us from making any single choice.

To answer this question for myself, I went through a process of solitude and self-reflection. This was hard to do in the age of Facebook, Twitter, and never-ending e-mails. I had to close myself off from the constant information overload in order to turn inwards, and really sit and think. It made me realize there are three things I want to do at this point in my life:

  1. Learn. I know that the lessons I learn today, while I’m young, will be the foundation of my future career. I’m interested in business and communication, and what better way to learn than to start my own business and build it around a blog.
  2. Create. I love great speeches, well-designed presentations, and thoughtful articles. I want to craft my own, and Best Delegate is my chance to do so.
  3. Stand Out. I believe that more and more young people with world-class education and experience are competing for the same jobs and opportunities. Those who stand out from the crowd are more likely to succeed, and one way to stand out is to build a strong personal brand and online presence.

Looking at what I wanted, I realized that working on Best Delegate full-time made a lot of sense. But I also considered the risk I’d be taking, and in fact, my job at Goldman Sachs was in risk management. I had learned that meaningful reward requires meaningful risk, but we must first understand the risks we take and our own risk tolerance.

I’m comfortable with the risk I’m taking because I view investing in my business as investing in myself. Even if it doesn’t work out, I’ll get a great learning experience out of it. My risk tolerance is high because I’m young and I don’t have anyone to support. My only real risk is the risk of regret, of not doing what I want while I still have the chance.

And on a personal level, what really puts my risk in perspective is my family. My grandparents left the Philippines to find opportunity in America. My dad ran his own company while raising my brother and me. My mom gave up her career to help my grandmother through chemotherapy. Compared to that, the risk I’m taking is minimal.

So I made my choice, and I let my colleagues know that I was leaving. They were very supportive, and I will be forever thankful for their encouragement and advice.

I was really sad to leave on my last day. I stayed to take in the view around my desk, looking out over the Hudson River, the Statue of Liberty, and Ground Zero from nineteen stories up for the last time. And now, I’m ready, excited, and looking forward to the best that’s yet to come.

Related Link: “What is it about 20-somethings?”

  • Nick

    I’m so proud of you and excited to see what lies ahead. There’s no one I’d be more confident investing in than you.

  • http://bestdelegate.com Ryan

    Thanks, Nick. And I’ll let you know before the stock goes public (ticker: MUN) =P

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  • Matt Levinson

    I’m loving the entrepreneurial turn, Ryan. Best of luck in this endeavor!

    • http://bestdelegate.com Ryan

      Thanks Matt!

  • http://msterree.wordpress.com Terree Rola

    I don’t think I’ve EVER more proud of you than I am right now! I can’t tell you how freakin’ awesome I think you are, and what a gutsy move you’re making to make a difference! I loved my own MUN World Bank experience (with an actual member of the World Bank present). Let me know what your twitter ID is, and I’ll tweet you up!

    • http://bestdelegate.com Ryan

      Thank you! I really appreciate it =) Follow us on Twitter @BestDelegate! And we’re on Facebook, too!

  • Francis Asprec

    Really inspirational story esp. from a fellow Filipino-American! I did Model UN for over 10 years (high school and undergrad combined) it got me interested in Int’l Relations and hoping like you, I can pass and engage the next generation! 🙂 I am interested in learning more about Best Delegate and if there is any way I can contribute. Please let me know!

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1166349616 Dilshan Nelaka Wedagama

    Wish You all the Very Best

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1166349616 Dilshan Nelaka Wedagama


  • Daniel Kang

    Are you kidding me dude? MUN is a simulation. Goldman Sachs is the real thing. This shows me that you’re not well adjusted to the real world. It’s great that you want to help out students, but quitting your job for MUN is probably the most ridiculous thing ever.

    • http://bestdelegate.com/ Ryan Villanueva

      Dude, you’re still in high school — graduate first, go to college, and get a job before telling me about the “real world.”

      • Daniel Kang

        Doesn’t take a college graduate to see that you didn’t have what it took to stay at Goldman Sachs…

        • http://bestdelegate.com/ Ryan Villanueva

          Daniel, I know you’re being deliberately provocative and immature, but I hope you realize that your comments are insulting not just to myself, but to other teachers and educators, including those who have taught you and raised you.

          You’re clearly not going to learn anything from me — you’re not open to it — but I hope someone you do respect and trust shows you that your current attitude will prevent you from learning and growing as a student and as a person.

          This thread is now closed.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001178142001 Daniel Dada

            Permission to invade Djibouiti with aid of Greece?

          • the_13th

            Clearly you’re wrong Daniel: working at the world’s most prestigious investment bank is nothing compared to running conferences for wannabe-diplomats!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Renee-Cheng/735027970 Renee Cheng

    Hi Ryan this is Renee from Hong Kong. I started doing MUN in my freshman(why we girls can’t call ourselves freshwoman?) year which was 2010. HK Students rarely know anything about MUN and if a few of them do they only get to know the existence of MUN after they get into college. In my point of view, MUN is just too cool to be missed in high school and I do think MUN is the solution of many problems that our education faces. I know some high schools in HK want to introduce MUN among their students but none of then knows how to get started and where to find coaches. After this summer I will start a MUN club in my high school and coach it ,and for the past few month I’ve been thinking of creating a MUN-know-how tutor network that at the same time works pretty much similarly to this website that I recently found! from a business point of view HK has a nice market. Do you think there’s room for cooperation? Or would it be ok if I want to learn more about How this site work(in terms of profit generating and financial self-sustainability)?
    My Email: hprenee910101@nullhotmail.com

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