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MBAx: MBAs Across America

That’s the advice Dave Schiff, Chief Creative at Made Movement, gave us this summer. He left a posh post at the famed ad firm Crispin Porter + Bogusky to move to Boulder and start a creative agency dedicated to the resurgence of American manufacturing. We worked with Dave and his team on the e-commerce side of their business, Made Collection, as part of MBAs Across America.

Before you imagine plagues of preppy locusts descending upon America, allow me to explain.

It all started last November at our classmate Ruki’s apartment when Casey, Hicham, Mike and I were talking after dinner. Summer internships were on the brain but we wanted to do something different. Between the four of us, we had some entrepreneurial experience but, with the exception of Mike who came from the ad tech startup, Yodle, we had mostly worked in environments more typically associated with MBAs—SF, NYC, and industries that rhyme with “shminvestment lanking”, “monsulting” and “boogle”.

There’s nothing wrong with that. You learn a lot, work with smart people, and gain credibility. And SF and NY are fun cities in which to be young and gainfully employed. What is arguably troubling is that many MBAs choose finance or consulting without considering alternatives—or thinking there are any.

There’s certainly buzz around startups and entrepreneurship, but the reality is that most HBSers still head to Consulting (24%) or Financial Services (27%), according to HBS’ Class of 2013 stats. Even more pronounced is the coastal migration; 38% of the 2013 class went to the “Northeast” and 24% headed “West”.

As the four of us talked, we came to the conclusion that we really didn’t know what was happening with businesses on the ground, nor did we really understand what was happening between the coasts. Field II would be an incredible opportunity for us in Brazil, Malaysia, and China, but what was the future of American business going to look like?  We started talking about how cool it would be to take a road trip across the country and then we wondered what would happen if we worked with small businesses and startups along the way //

The next day Casey emailed us: “let’s not let this completely drop. great seeing y’all last night”

This email sums up so much of the magic of HBS—your friends can also be your spiritual leaders, the people who push you to stick with the vision that embarrasses you a little.

We started meeting as a team, and now, hundreds of meetings and nearly nine months later, I’m writing from the road, where we are 6 weeks into our 8-week journey. We’ve worked with extraordinary entrepreneurs in Detroit, Boulder, White Sulphur Springs, Montana, Las Vegas, Albuquerque and New Orleans replica tag heuer uk, and we still have Asheville and DC ahead of us. We wouldn’t be here without the generosity of our entrepreneurs, our crowd-funders, and our hotel sponsor, Four Points by Sheraton. All of them believed in us before we fully existed, and believe that the next generation of MBAs needs to be different—more value-adding and less value-taking.

Having a Master of Business Administration doesn’t mean you’re a master of the universe. We have (some) skills and tools and perspective to contribute, but we also have so much to learn—by listening, by doing, and by working alongside entrepreneurs who are shaping the future of business on the ground, every day. This was the premise of MBAs Across America, and the journey has been a powerful way to test and to supplement our formal education.

We have learned so much about the mindsets of entrepreneurs, the realities of their businesses, the value of long-term thinking, and the difference it makes when you do work you truly believe in. We have learned so much from America and about ourselves—yet the journey isn’t about us replica omega uk. We are merely a pilot for a much bigger movement of MBAs who believe they need to be different, too. That’s why we’re working to expand MBAs Across America at HBS, to other schools, and eventually to other countries.

If you’re excited about revitalizing America and disrupting business school in the process, we’d love to hear from you! Drop us a line at and follow our journey at

August 29, 2013
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