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.
Thanks for sharing. I’d been batteling with the idea if staying in school and dropping out to focus on entrepreneurial endeavors and decided to stay. The classes in business and marketing strategy are my favorites so far and the ones I think will make the biggest difference for me moving forward.
Nick are you still in undergrad? I think people lack the real world experience necessary to solve many money making problems in college. You’re better off staying, learning as much as you can, dabble on side projects, and network as much as you can. Those connections pay off in droves. The myth of dropping out and being zuckerberg is really just that, a myth. .00000000001% of people can pull that off.
Interesting. I applied a few years ago…about your current age 🙂 to Kellogg while living in Chicago. Simply cause it was right there. It was that or UofChicago. Two of the top 5 biz school in the world, supposedly. I thought I could to the MBA but then I applied for the Executive MBA.
2 months into the application process I talked to a lot of current students and alumni. Most of the responses were similar about getting that degree:
* You are in corporate and want to get into (super) C-level
* You want to become a sales warrior for Bane or one of those top of the line consulting
Which meant I was the only one not corporate background, not wanting to work for Bane. Oh…and the only hispanic. So the 1%.
I still continued the application process cause I wanted to be the “only hispanic in the Executive MBA at Kellogg”. But wait there is a price tag. Kind of high one.
From all applicants and students, I was going to be the only paying for it myself. Everybody else was paid by their company.
I talked a few more times with the university admissions. Who I remembered wore a bowtie. He told me this and exactly this “You are paying to join the most exclusive membership on earth”.
I meditated about that for a while. This means that I was going to study with people that have those notorious”family names”, cousins, brothers and sisters of famous politicians. La creme de la creme.
You pay for this network. The only difference is that they don’t really pay for it. While I did have to pay for it.
It is very very exclusive and I had a good chance of getting accepted. Cause…cough cough they were looking for minorities. As I recall “Tom…I will be direct, we are looking for minorities”.
I mulled it over for a few weeks and I thought about the learning aspect of the program. I already had 2 degrees from FIU, engineering and business related. Like you and a lot of people most of what I have learned has been from own experience, own business, trial and error.
Will a degree in Kellogg help me grow my own company. Probably yes, probably not. Probably not if I put it from the learning aspect. They wouldn’t teach me things that I already knew. Probably yes from the “exclusive membership” point of view. My classmate, probably the brother of a president of some country, would invest in my company or help me raise money for one of my adventures.
At the end I decided to….