Brian

Leveling Up: Why I decided to get an MBA


So I’ve done it, I’ve taken the plunge and decided to get an MBA. This was not an easy decision, but one that I had been considering for nearly 4 years. A few years ago I was burnt out on Miami, and thought the best bet would be to leave and go to a top tier MBA program for a few years. As fate would have it, I didn’t get in to the programs I really wanted at the time. This was probably for the best, as lots of the things I was involved with started to really take off after my full time MBA efforts didn’t pan out. This made the opportunity cost of doing an MBA full time even higher, and less likely to happen. Yet the idea of an MBA was still on my mind.

So as of a few weeks ago, I am officially a student at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, in their Executive MBA program. Fortunately for me, Kellogg has a campus that is literally 4 miles from my apartment right here in Miami. The number of factors converging made it an easier decision (top-ranked program, proximity, lower opportunity cost, program culture, and more) despite the high financial cost.

In the first week of class one of the professors asked us what our goals were for the program, as well as what were our goals for our cohort. This was a great question, which made us focus more internally as well as externally. We had been asked prior to class to fill out a survey indicating our goals, and everyone’s anonymized goals were shared with each other. These were very high level goals (what type of organization would you be proud to lead, what kind of world would you like to live in, etc), but it was a promising sign that most of the answers were in line with mine (kind of hippie and not at all aggressive capitalism like I expected).

Lots of my friends asked me why I decided to get an MBA. As an entrepreneur, I don’t necessarily NEED an MBA, but I looked at the factors at play in my life. I studied political science at the University of Virginia, and took a handful of business and economics classes. Everything I’ve learned in business over the last decade has been self taught. That means I am slowly learning things I might have otherwise known years ago with a formal and focused business education. I’m also having to learn a lot from my own mistakes, many of which I could have avoided if I had known better beforehand (hindsight is always 20/20 I guess).

I see the MBA as helping me become more sophisticated in business. To help me accelerate my business growth in both my for-profit endeavors, as well as my non-profit endeavors at Refresh Miami.

My goal is to share the stuff I learn with you, my faithful readers, and hopefully articulate how it applies to startups. Interestingly enough, I joined the Kellogg program in order to grow as an individual, and Kellogg recently rebranded itself to highlight its focus on growth.

Brian
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