Acorn Levels

If you accidentally landed here – oops – you probably want to start with MBA options. This is for invited students and former students only.

If you landed here by invitation, welcome!

If you’ve been invited to the Acorn program you might want to do some more digging before (or after) our chat. This page is intended to answer your high level questions. Let me know if you think there’s something missing.

The Acorn program was always there in the background, but the events of 2016 really spurred some of my family clients to action. I see the Acorn program as helping you become the complete adult. You know stuff about stuff that most people will never know much less have access to. Your family either is a family with understanding of opaque markets – real estate and art being my personal favs – but even Bond markets are not transparent, or you’ve spent time around those folks. You have intrinsic information that few understand and fewer still can help you capitalize upon without forsaking your values.

We can build without throwing out your want-to-build-a-better-world spirit. But that means getting the hard and soft skills to prepare you properly. This isn’t about feeling what’s right or doing what you feel like doing. This is about finding something that matters enough for you to spring out of bed each day, ready to build. Think of me as your personal strategy coach with an emphasis on increasing your depth and breadth.

Let’s get your Give a Shit in high gear and focused productively.

It’s like joining … “A positive, productive, slightly secret society.”

Ultimately that’s what our work has always been about. You want to be smarter, faster, more flexible and stronger. Mental agility where it counts. Better quantitative and qualitative problem solving. Sound understanding of the big and close systems around you. No skrimping. Why do less when you can do more?

Who You Are

Acorns are often tasked with handling family investments and business(es) or have aspirations to make big moves in industry. All of you are directly or indirectly involved with finance, real estate, and politics/diplomacy. You need a place to have private conversations particularly concerning your life objectives: personal and professional. We’ll talk about the tough stuff and help you navigate.

What We Do

Everyone must demonstrate at least a baseline of competence across our disciplines: funding things, running things, and adulting. The first year of our work is often the most intense. If you have finished the MBA, you may have a leg up, but the material you cover as an Acorn is not limited to MBA program material.

In your teens you get points just for not breaking things. In your twenties you get points for showing up. Then it gets more complicated. Your thirties are where you make or break your next 20 years. You can still get points for looking active, but then you transition into the phase of points for making others look good. By the time you reach your 50s, there are no more easy points.

Do you want to be chasing points or do you want to make impact?

We’re preparing you for something the MBA is not. You’re going to Build Better.

Program at the 10,000′ Level

Long term objective: Identify and systematically build toward long term personal and professional fulfillment

Short term objectives: tactics for you

This is a difficult process and I will ask you to reach beyond your comfort zone – many times – always with an eye toward your authentic long term objectives. It is such a privilege for me to work with bright, future captains of industry. My personal objective is to help you uncover your actual long term calling and “your truth” whatever that may mean to you. Tactically speaking we cover at least the following major areas:

Finance (Funding Things):

  • Banking
  • Accounting
  • Opaque Asset classes (Real Estate, Art, etc.)

Operations (Running Things):

  • Industry
  • Consumer
  • Services versus Products

Personal Development (Integrating Life and Work):

  • Skills vs Interests
  • Goals vs Objectives
  • Paths forward
  • Graduate school options
  • Tactics

Your Best Life

Less obviously we stress test your hypothesis about what your best life looks like.

You will use the personal insights clarified in 1-1 work to create adaptable action plans. The Acorn program allows me to give you private support to make big jumps – some of which will land with a thud. That’s okay. We do that “here” so you don’t do it out there. This is particularly important if you are expected to take over a family business or portfolio. Either way, this is the environment to work through your hypotheses productively, efficiently. Flops are expected and celebrated as stepping stones. We work on what you need to do to move forward while strengthening your foundation for future-proofing your execution ability. Many of my Acorn grads have gone on to build their own businesses, take control of the family assets, fund fellow acorns, employ fellow acorns, and even marry fellow acorns! It’s a closely held group that spans 6 continents. The next 10 years your fellow Acorns will collectively see a multi-billion $ shift of wealth and are preparing to capitalize on it. The work you do today determines how well you can capitalize on this shift.

Happy is for moments. Fulfilled is for a lifetime. 

Want the Specifics? Here are the Four main courses each Acorn is expected to complete.

Skills We Cover

Knowledge Areas

Being the Best You

Building Your Global Perspective

Want in? Please email me. Sorry, I no longer accept sign-ups without an evaluation. If you were referred by a friend, they’ve got an email for me. Send me a note with a simple hello and we’ll get going. You can also sign up for a single evaluation session to discuss your fitness for the program. Do that here.