MBAs Across America is honored to be the Financial Times Business Education “Feature of the Week“!

The FT’s Emma Boyde recently reached out to learn more about the “journey with a difference” that we’ve been on over the past year and a half, and our plan to build “a movement of MBAs & entrepreneurs working together to revitalize America.” That movement begins with the eight inspiring teams that have joined our inaugural class, and the visionary entrepreneurs they are now searching the country for. To the future!

See the full article here.

Almost exactly one year ago, our now friend Linda Abraham from the Accepted Blog reached out to us to chat and learn more about MBAs Across America. She was gracious enough to post the resulting conversation as a podcast, and now she’s done it again! Thanks so much Linda for being an early supporter of MBAs Across America. We look forward to talking against next April!

Here is the video Jennifer, Mayank, Peter, and Phil submitted with their application. Casey and I were struck by how personal their stories were and inspired by their clear passion for making an impact beyond themselves through their careers.

Meet Our First MBAx Fellows!

Hello friends of MBAs Across America!

Even before Casey, Amaris, Hicham and I got back from the first summer journey last year, we started thinking about how we would recruit the inaugural class of MBAs Across America Fellows. We knew that getting the right people onboard would be make-or-break. You can’t send just any four people in a car across the U.S. for six weeks to work with entrepreneurs and expect the results to be great.  After a few months of in-person info sessions, Google Hangouts, and phone calls, we we blown away to have over 70 individuals apply from twelve different MBA programs. We were ecstatic at both the number and quality of applicants. After a lot of careful thought, some tough decisions (all the teams were fantastic) , and using our four MBAx values  as a predictive lens for impact, we finished with eight incredible teams ready to go for this summer.

We think of our MBAx1 class (last year was MBAx0) not just as participants in a program but co-founders in this movement, and we are so grateful and excited that each of them has raised their hand to hit the road this summer in support of American entrepreneurs and their communities. We are so grateful for their passion and feel they represent our highest collective aspirations for what we all know the next generation of MBAs can and must be to meet the challenges of our time.

Over the coming weeks we will be introducing them to you here.  We are proud to introduce as the first of these the very first team of four that submitted their application, one of our two teams from Babson: Jennifer, Mayank, Peter, and Phil.

Jennifer Odera

Jennifer Odera

Born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya. I am a graduate of Les Roches School of Hotel Management in Switzerland and hold a Swiss Hotel Association Diploma as well as a Bachelor of Business Administration in Hotel Management and Finance. I love to travel, meet new people and take on challenges, whether it be learning a new language, adapting to a different working culture, or leading a multicultural team. Over the duration of my undergraduate course and thereafter I worked with several hotel chains in the UK, France, Portugal and Qatar. Currently, I am working on a business idea and long-time dream of owning and operating a food service business which I intend to pursue full time upon graduating from Babson.

Mayank Arora

Mayank Arora

I was born and raised in a small town in India and have worked and lived in multiple metropolitan cities in my home country. I am a computer science engineer from Kurukshetra University. I have worked in Sustainability at a multinational business consulting and technology solutions company, Infosys. Due to my passion for sustainability, I love to find ways to integrate the triple bottom line of people, planet, and profit into core business strategies. I am a developer at heart and like to turn business ideas into prototypes. Currently I am working on a new venture to improve energy efficiency in residential sectors. My long-term goal is to be a social entrepreneur.

Peter Cherry

 Peter Cherry

I grew up in New Canaan, CT and studied economics at Fordham University in the Bronx. During my time at Fordham I worked in fundraising for a McKinsey & Company foundation that trains human resources for health in Northern Tanzania. After Fordham, in 2011, I went to work for an international disaster relief agency called Concern Worldwide. I spent most of my time analyzing their donor base to forecast private funding and create more targeted donor segments to increase the effectiveness of direct and digital marketing campaigns. Upon graduating from Babson’s MBA program I am hoping to gain some private sector experience in non-profit consulting or social financial services. My longer-term goal is to use my experience in fundraising and finance to start a social enterprise that creates opportunities for victims of human trafficking. In my free time I enjoy running, photography, video editing and listening to good music with friends.

Phillip Lachman

Phillip Lachman

Born in Eastern Europe, I immigrated to the US in 1983 and grew up in Newton, MA. After obtaining my BS in Electrical Engineering in 2004 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, I went off to Silicon Valley to work for Lockheed Martin Space Systems. While completing my MS in Electrical Engineering in 2007 from Stanford University, I had the opportunity to work on a variety of missile defense, satellites and classified systems, holding roles that encompassed project management, design, development, test and systems engineering. Upon graduation from Babson’s MBA program, I plan to join a tech startup, focusing on product development. Combining my engineering background with my business education, my longer term goal is to join a venture capital firm focused on nurturing the next generation of tech startups. In my spare time, I enjoy playing tennis, golf and participating in philanthropic pursuits.

(Click the link above for the video)

Last Week Casey and I were honored to attend the Forbes Reinventing America Summit. It was inspiring to meet business owners, CEOs, investors, governors, mayors and entrepreneurs who are doing their part to revitalize America by creating jobs and being good stewards in their communities. On my way to get a second helping of dessert (see food tables I was aiming for in the background) I got the chance to share a bit about MBAs Across America. Thanks to the team at Forbes for their leadership in catalyzing a great conversation, for their hospitality, and for their support of MBAs Across America!

-Michael

With MBAs Across America’s Inaugural Class of Fellows, we are excited to be moving out of the “Form team” phase and into the “Coordinate” phase with the National Entrepreneur Search. This summer we will move to “Act” as each of our teams hits the road for their own six week summer journeys to work with visionary entrepreneurs across the country. Look out for more information soon about our teams.

We are searching for entrepreneurs with three key traits:

  • A place with a story to tell: we work with entrepreneurs in cities that are surviving & thriving against the odds and without the hype — whether in a hard-hit city, a Heartland hub, or a tiny rural town.
  • A business poised for growth: we work with manufacturers, tech startups, creative agencies, and even barbershops, but our entrepreneurs all have one thing in common: they want to grow.
  • A positive social impact: our entrepreneurs solve real problems and change lives in their communities every day, expanding what it means to be a “social enterprise”.

If you know any entrepreneurs like this, please direct them to our website to learn more about what to expect from an MBAs Across America team or to our contact form to apply directly.

Thanks!
Michael

ibmsocialbiz:

The collaboration pyramid

For enterprise-wide collaboration to happen, the community building and cooperation must stretch beyond any barriers such as organizations, time, and place. Groupthink, organizational silos, and structures cannot be allowed to limit the ability for one or several organizations to collaborate efficiently and effectively as enterprise. If the enterprise as a whole is not one single community, and if people don’t cooperate freely within and cross organizations involved in the enterprise, then enterprise collaboration will fail.

(via The Content Economy: Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants)

This graphic is a great illustration of the flow of resources to entrepreneurs throughout the country. We love New York, SF, and Boston but are excited about the opportunity to support entrepreneurs outside of those places! What if entrepreneurs everywhere had access to the best resources to grow their businesses? What if investors had access to the best entrepreneurs, regardless of their geography, to seek a return on their dollar?

theatlanticcities:

San Francisco’s SoMa neighborhood; Cambridge, Massachusetts’ Kendall Square; Lower Manhattan: These are the dense, walkable neighborhoods that have become the new hubs of America’s tech scene, as the center of gravity for venture investment and start-up activity shifts from suburbs to urban centers.

-The Urban Shift in the U.S. Start-Up Economy, in One Chart

It Lives!

Hello friends of MBAs Across America!

It’s been a while. No, we did not take the money from last year’s crowd funding campaign and flee the country. Yes, we still exist, and In fact, we are growing! More on that to come in future posts.

We have so many exciting things to share since we last wrote, but here is a quick summary.

  • After receiving over 70 individual applicants from twelve MBA programs (We were ecstatic at the response!), we’ve invited nine incredible teams of four to join our Inaugural Class (MBAx1). These teams will hit the road for six weeks this summer. They are awesome, and I can’t wait to share more about them in the weeks to come.
  • Casey and I have committed ourselves full-time to MBAs Across America after graduation in May: Casey as CEO and me as COO. Full steam ahead. Amaris and Hicham are still involved as advisors and of course friends, but Amaris is escaping Boston cold for an amazing job with Disney in LA and Hicham is well into building his own company and will be moving back to Morocco. In other words, after spending 8 weeks in a car with Casey and I, they are getting as far away from us as they can. We are very proud of our fellow MBAx0 classmates and hopefully we will see some posts from them coming up.
  • We’ve launched a National Entrepreneur Search to find the entrepreneurs our teams will work with this summer. MBAs Across America exists to put the wind at the back of entrepreneurs who are creating jobs and using their businesses to improve their communities. Can you help us find some?
  • We were very grateful recently to get some coverage in the New York Times!
  • We are semi-finalists in the Social Enterprise Track of the Harvard Business School New Venture Competition. I’m sure the competition will be tough, but we are excited to give it our best shot!

In preparation for the summer, we will be picking up where we left off and continuing to share the story of this movement of MBAs & entrepreneurs working together to to revitalize America. Look forward to hearing from members of our inaugural class, fantastic entrepreneurs, and members of the broader MBAs Across America community.

If there is anything in particular you want to hear about, just let me know.

Thanks!
Michael

michael@mbaxamerica.com

Micro travel memoirs: 8 weeks condensed into 6 words

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The future is here. Let’s go.

                               -Casey

 

 

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Monday skepticisms turned friendships by Friday.

                               -Hicham

 

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American entrepreneurs taught me: demand purpose.

                               -Michael

4 Things I Learned from MBAxAmerica - Hicham

1. The land informs the spirit of a place

With over 8000 miles logged in 8 weeks, this trip took us through vastly different parts of the US, and I was surprised to see how the physical features of the land seemed to infuse the spirit of the places we visited. With their endless blue skies and ranches stretching for miles on end, the folks we met in rural Montana were welcoming but also proudly independent. In contrast, the humid swamps of Louisiana seemed to imbue New Orleanians with a lighter take on life and a better work-life balance than I’ve seen in most parts of the US.

 

2. Home is where your friends are

MBAxAmerica was the longest trip I’ve ever taken, and I was surprised to find myself not particularly missing home even several weeks into the trip. I think that a big reason for this was that while we’d been on the road and living out of our suitcases for well over a month, we were serving as each other’s constants. Each week brought us to a new and unfamiliar place, but our friendships gave us a shared bearing and an enduring anchor that made us feel at home (or at least at ease) no matter where we were.

 

3. Passion drives motivation like nothing else

All of the entrepreneurs we worked with this summer share an intensely passionate approach to their work. Whether it was Sebastian’s salon in Detroit, Oscar’s brewery in Asheville, or Dave’s ad agency in Boulder, the founders we worked with brought palpable enthusiasm and excitement to work, the likes of which the four of us had seldom encountered with managers at our previous jobs in corporate environments. It’s unclear how these founders can transmit this passion to new employees they hire as their businesses grow, but it was striking to see firsthand the drive and excitement that founders can bring to even the most arcane aspects of their work.

4. MBAxA must live on!

This trip has been transformative for the four of us, and we hope that it will pave the way for hundreds and ultimately thousands of MBAs to meet, collaborate, and learn from entrepreneurs around the world. This summer was a pilot to see if this idea had legs, if it could be funded, if we could add value to entrepreneurs, if people would care, and if there would be a point to grow this into something bigger. We think the answer is a resounding yes, and we’re already working towards the next iteration of MBAxAmerica.

Business education is predicated on the case method, where students learn about management through case studies drawn from real life challenges faced by firms large and small. Cases are a great start, but we learned countless lessons by making the leap from paper to practice, and we look forward to other MBAs joining the movement. Onwards!

 Posted by Hicham Mhammedi Alaoui