Today is my last day at the startup I created.
Nine years ago this month, I was in my dorm room at Stanford with a laptop on my lap and a credit card in my hand. I was about to make a $4 purchase for a domain name that would change my life: beatthegmat.com.
At the time, I had no intention of building Beat The GMAT into a business. All I wanted to do was blog about my experiences studying for the GMAT test as a broke college student.
That blog would later turn into a discussion forum, then a niche MBA news network, then an online community, then a social media platform, then a recruiting platform for MBA service companies and MBA institutions, then a highly profitable bootstrapped business, then an acquisition by an incredible education company.
It was the best $4 I’ve ever spent.
When I told friends this week that I would be leaving my startup after 9 years, they asked whether it is a bittersweet feeling. It doesn’t feel bittersweet at all. The business, the community, and our clients are all in great shape. It was simply time for me to let go and move on.
Rather, the primary feeling I have right now is gratitude.
I’m grateful to have worked on a project with a deep social stewardship mission, helping millions of people achieve their dreams with higher education;
I’m grateful to have collaborated with amazing team members who sacrificed blood (literally), sweat, and tears to make this venture succeed;
I’m grateful that Beat The GMAT could find a home with such an amazing parent company, who has done so much to further invest in the growth and potential of my startup;
And, I’m most grateful that I could share this journey with my wife, who quit her job and joined my startup right after our honeymoon.
Now that I am at the end of the road, I find myself reflecting a lot on Beat The GMAT’s long history. Here are a few moments that come to mind: