A Business Education -- For Free

For the past ten or so months, I've worked as one of the World Bank Group's thousands of short-term consultants. All in all, it's been a great learning experience -- shaping the post-2015 development agenda, meeting bright and driven young people, availing myself of the plentiful croissants.

But there's one caveat: Short-term consultants (about 40 percent of the Bank's staff) are permitted to work no more than 150 days in a fiscal year. And that leaves me with a lot of time on my hands until July 1st.

So, I've decided to use the next several weeks to tackle a few goals.

Building Business Skills

I graduated from Johns Hopkins SAIS with a master's degree in international relations and economics, and I have nothing but positive things to say about the program. However, a traumatic management consulting-style interview taught me that I have a lot to learn about the theories and vocabulary of business.

Recently, I stumbled upon Laurie Pickard's blog, The No-Pay MBA. Pickard, an international development professional in Rwanda, is working her way through a massive online open course (MOOC) curriculum to gain the knowledge of an MBA -- for free.

Working at the World Bank, I've become increasingly interested in social entrepreneurship and project management. Following Pickard's lead, I've identified a few courses that will help me build those leadership and analytical skills:

April 1st to Mid-May

Mid-May to July 1st

I plan to give them all a try, and then pursue three of these four-week courses per month. I'll report back with lessons learned, as well as progress in other goals -- my Chinese could use a refresher, for one.

(Fortunately, I have strong support at home: My boyfriend had his own successful funemployment last fall!)