Career Fair

Last week, Post-Graduate Planning threw an awesome career fair. I didn't "go", resume in hand, so much as just swing by to say hi to my alumni friends who were back in Boston, but it did get me thinking. What am I going to do after I graduate? 

What a big, hard, scary question (and one that assumes I will graduate!). 
For a long time, or, at least, since I took a year off from school to work for internet startups in San Francisco, I was sure I wanted to work for an internet startup. In fact, there was nothing, it seemed, that I wanted more.
I like how startups are quick-moving, have the freedom to tackle big, hard problems and run uphill. They're usually minimally bureaucratic meritocracies, and start fresh, with nothing to preserve. Olin is a startup, in some senses, and they know this -- existing schools (think) they have this valuable infrastructure and procedures that they have to protect, so they can't risk trying a new, potentially better idea. Startups have the freedom to fail. They also tend to be full of smart, dedicated people working hard to solve a problem they're passionate about.

But then, I went to the Google Info Session held on campus, and listened to my friend Frances ('06, now at Harvard Business School) describe how Google had designed and patented a device that they've now used to scan tens of millions of books, (making Google one of the top ten biggest libraries in the world). They allow anyone to access and full-text search scanned copies of books online. Google is trying to make information that's currently locked away in physical books free for anyone with an internet connection anywhere in the world to access. Sounds like a big problem to me. And the Google Books project could never exist as a startup, without Google behind it, comfortable with the idea of it not making money this year, or the next. No venture capitalist would fund such an idea. In our capitalist economy, such a company is nearly impossible.

And then Greg Marra ('10, Google), whose opinion I respect very much, emails me to tell me how much he thinks I would like working at Google.
Meanwhile, my dear friends at Microsoft (Michael '09, Jessi '10, Roland '10, Nikolaus '09) say "You want to work on big problems at a startup? Great. We'll send our congratulations when you get 10,000 users. Meanwhile, the work I do everyday touches hundreds of millions of people lives."
Like I said, it's a hard question. Any advice?
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