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