To Do, Or Not To Do An MBA… That Is The Question
I truly enjoy reading Aaron’s newsletters. In the latest issue, he offered his frank and powerful opinion on the above. It is, indeed, a question of… Shakespearean proportions. I just Googled a simple query: “Is an MBA worth it?” — and got 125 million hits back…
So, considering the gravity of such a career enabling or inhibiting questions, I will join the fray and offer my 3 cents. However, as a disclaimer, please remember my favourite quote by Donald Rumsfeld: “All generalizations are false — including this one”…
Let me start by stating the obvious: being an entrepreneur means you are accustomed to risk-taking. Heck, it’s even embedded into a dictionary definition… According to Merriam-Webster: “An entrepreneur is a person who starts a business and is willing to risk loss in order to make money”.
And deciding on whether to do an MBA after your graduation is also a case of risk-taking. But it is not a binary decision at all — for the following reasons…
The Nike Way
You may decide to add an MBA arrow to your quiver and join a large corporation after graduation — so, just do it. And after graduation, you will be able to accelerate your learning and exposure to various corporate functions — and better use the strong management foundations you already have…
How much you will learn and how fast — depends on the company you join. Chances are, that most of your exposure will come from the mid-level to senior-level management — not the CEOs.
The DIY Way
Now, if you don’t do an MBA right away, you may still learn from others, or you may roll up your sleeves and switch to the DIY mode. It’s OK, too… Perhaps you have been already exposed to various frameworks such as Blue Ocean Strategies, or the Lean LaunchPads by Steve Blank — and would like to give it a try?
The OPM Way
Keep in mind that many corporations would gladly pay for your MBA and you can negotiate such perks on signing. This is why I call it “The Other People’s Money” option.
Part-time or online learning can come in handy on such occasions. And this is exactly how I did my Masters in Computer Engineering at the University of Waterloo — while an $8B corporation, NCR — paid my bills…
Whatever you do, remember this: it is NEVER too late. And if it took you 20 years to realize that — shall be it! Perhaps, doing an Executive MBA (EMBA) as a seasoned entrepreneur will be so rewarding that you’ll be glad you waited for it…
The EMBA Way
The Executive MBA (EMBA) offers a completely different set of experiences. You learn much more from the collective “knowhows” of the other 50 CEOs in your class. And in many cases, this will bring a completely different perspective on problem-solving — for you to consider…
Without such a diverse environment, you would have never learned so much about other industries. Some, are facing diverse problems, you never knew existed. And hearing about such complexities from the “horses’ mouth” — is uncanny…
I wrote extensively about some of my EMBA experiences in many LinkedIn posts. For example, you can find the description of the decision-making process and tough calls — when there is very little information available. You go through such an exercise once, and it will stay permanently engraved on your brain — forever. See: The Power Of The OPPOSITES
In addition, I still remember sitting in an auditorium and learning about a famous Crisis Management case concerning Disney World. The case described a parental outrage linked to the unconventional promotional activities aimed at LGBQ communities.
As expected, we covered the essential points of Crisis Communication, including:
· Be Honest To Maintain Credibility
· Show Empathy To Address Anxiety
· Be Transparent About What You Know
And just at such a moment, one of my classmates, Vicky — received a disturbing phone call. Vicky was a CEO at a large hospital in Ontario, Canada, and she maintained close contact with the hospital’s BOD — while attending an EMBA course at the Kellogg School Of Management, in Chicago.
As it happened, the Chairman of the BOD called her and delivered an alarming message: One of the unstable patients got up at night and left the hospital building — unnoticed. It was January, the outside temperature was -20 degrees Celsius, and the patient was dressed up just in a hospital gown. Tragically, he froze to death and was found on hospital grounds the next morning. Well, “take this” as a real-life Crisis Management!
Take your time and decide after careful consideration. There is no “Blueprint For Success” you can follow — as each circumstance is different.
And to emphasize my message that it is never too late, you can read an excellent study by MIT described in Inc. Magazine:
“A Study of 2.7 Million Startups Found the Ideal Age to Start a Business (and It’s Much Older Than You Think). If you’re in your 40s or 50s, you might think it’s too late to start a business. Wrong: It’s actually the perfect time”
For More Information…
For more information, please see my posts on LinkedIn, Twitter, Medium, and CGE’s website.
You can also find additional info in my book on amazon: “AI Boogeyman — Dispelling Fake News About Job Losses”, and on our YouTube Studio channel… Thank you.
“BODs Serve Investors, Advisory Boards Are CEOs’ Best Friends”
- Imitation works best in karaoke bars, not in business. To escape the competition, businesses need to constantly reinvent. So, I join Advisory Boards and “unlock” Radical Innovation.
- Good advisors help increase REVENUES and reduce COSTS. Great ones, turn COST into PROFIT centers. And my BusinessAI™ guidance delivers the right KEEs (Knowledge, Experience, and Expertise) to do so.
- Warren Buffett once said: “predicting rain doesn’t count; building arks, does”. Yet successful ark builders also work with the best lumber salesmen, and more.
- Helping the CEOs to escape the competitive floods — is what I do. If product descriptions qualified as IP, Business Development (BD) would have been easy. The problem is that all the competitors can use the same narratives.
- No amount of branding, marketing, and wordsmithery is going to suffice w/o utilizing BusinessAI™ — the strategies I specifically designed to achieve BD excellence.
- As a 30-yr BusinessAI™ veteran, I offer unmatched BD investment advice to VCs, PEs, and their portfolio companies. In many cases, I also Propose, Design, Structure, Finance, and Deploy state-of-the-art Joint Ventures to bring RAPID REVENUES — just as I did w/ Verizon already 20-yrs ago…
- As a founder of Canada Green ESCO Inc. (CGE), I used BusinessAI™ strategies in CleanTech and focused on fighting Climate Change and Environmental Risks — dealing with stranded assets at the largest utilities. In total, CGE raised $1B+ in project finance linked to solar (utility-scale and distributed), wind, geothermal, Waste-To-Energy (WTE), energy efficiency, and more.
- Now, I help maximize returns also in Healthcare, Fintech, Transportation, and Construction industries. And I apply the same structured finance expertise I acquired through financing Cleantech projects. It involves equity, non-recourse debt, balance sheet financing, and tax equity.
- My pattern recognition abilities allow me to see what is still missing & how to maximize business offerings & profitability. And as a coach & mentor, I bring unparalleled business savvy to separate the wheat from the chaff…
- What I learned over the years is that it is not just technology innovation that makes all the difference. Business Model Innovation is as disruptive as Technology Innovation and yet I see too many companies focused on pushing their product out the door — while losing ~70% of untapped revenue streams.
- You can call me: “The Midas of Business Development (BD) Innovation™”. My advice is worth its weight in gold…