How to Beat the Catch 22 of Getting an MBA
Larry Chiang gets invited to speak at schools that he could NEVER get into. He is an instructional humorist that will have you street smart by Tuesday. Harvard Business School’s paper, Harbus, featured him in a cover story that shares the same title as his NY Times bestseller, “What They Don’t Teach You at Stanford Business School“. If you liked, “What a Supermodel Can Teach a Stanford MBA” and “How to Man-Charm a Room“, you will love this deliciously naughty article, “How to Beat the Catch 22 of Getting an MBA“.
By Larry Chiang
I have this theory that you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t get an masters degree in businsess.
Business has a swath of catch 22s. You can’t get a job until you get the experience and you can’t get the experience until you get the job. Beating the catch 22 of an MBA is very possible. It’s the basis for my bestselling book (yes it is still free at BusinessWeek). You are damned if you do get an MBA because you’ll be in debt. Lots and lots of debt. You are damned if you do not go because you won’t have the knowledge, the contacts or the network.
My solution to beat this catch -22 falls into three categories.
-1- Get the knowledge NOW.
Before you go, or even apply, list out three or four top things you want to learn. Then you marry up what you want to learn with specific MBA syllabus. Further drill down by getting the textbooks associated with those classes. Bonus credit if you find and charm the Facebook accounts of the professors in charge of those classes.
Below are three people who wedged in MBA knowledge, while they are working at a place called the National Football League. They facilitate (or thwart) the back and forth movement of an oblong ball within a 100 yard construct.
NFL Business Management and Entrepreneurial Program at Stanford GSB (Graduate School of Business) Right to left: Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints; Evan Moore, Cleveland Browns; Grant Irons, Retired Oakland Raiders
-2- Get the knowledge ASAP
Stanford, MIT and Harvard all host conferences that the community are welcome to attend. Stanford has multiple two day entrepreneurship conferences for less than one Ben Franklin. Harvard and Wharton conferences and symposiums are free if you speak at them.
-3- Get the knowledge IMMEDIATELY by guest blogging
Being media gets you media. Have you looked at the editorial mastheads of tier one pubs lately?? Decimation pretty much sums it up. Solve this shortfall of reporters and bloggers by guest blogging. For example, Mark Cuban, Mark Victor Hansen and Jeremiah Owyang all have guest blogged on my channel. You don’t need to be a brand name as rising stars Brad Wisler and Jessica Mah have guest-posted as well.
-BONUS- Get the network as if you are an alum
There is an outdated adage that says, “It’s not what you know but who you know”. I think the new quote should be, “It’s not what you know… It is who knows that you are the expert and promotes you.” Anyway, getting a network as if you already went and got your MBA is challenging but possible. Springboard your networking effort by reading “How to Work a Room“, “How to Work a Conference” and “How to Work a Cocktail Party“. Also, there is a post on ‘8 Tips to Woo a Mentor‘ over at GigaOm. It is killer genius stuff.
In short, you are neither damned if you do or don’t do an MBA if you hustle first.
Harvey-Dahl, Atlanta Falcons; Barry Sims, San Francisco 49ers; Fred Smoot, Washington Redskins build their network and present their Stanford GSB case study findings at Bishop Auditorium
Good luck working it and crash my Sundance AfterParty on January 23rd.
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I wrote this in 40 minutes. If I missed something, email me… larry @larrychiang dot com and include your cell in the subject line.
DISCLOSURE: I started the credit company that changed an industry Duck9. I make money selling credit cards to college students and I got a bill passed that outlaws 90+% of my competitors. The new law takes effect Feb 2010 and is called Student Credit Card Protection Act of 2009. Before credit card companies used to screw college students. Now, college students have the tables turned in their favor.
Yes, I plan on doing this college marketing job until 2069 (I’ll be 90 then :-) Text or call me during office hours 11:11am or 11:11pm PST +/-11 minutes on my cell: 650-283-8008.