Business School Lessons from 25 Discussions with Founders, Executives, and Investors

Over the past 9 months, we’ve been lucky to meet and learn from some incredible people during MyMBA’s program. Here are some of my main lessons learned:

Risk.

Every business leader that we met with took on some amount of personal risk in their journey. Whether it be leaving a safe corporate job or taking bold risks in negotiating a salary at a competing firm, these leaders took calculated risks and executed.

Part of this lesson was hearing how each of them talked about the downside of the risk.

If you have a career foundation and the risk you are taking continues to build your knowledge and experience, the risk is not as large as you may think.

Relationships.

Sure, this may be cliche. But, what we learned came as a huge relief.

Relationships in business are really about helping other people, giving back, and making friendships. Not a single person mentioned the benefit of collecting business cards or going to conferences.

The leaders we’ve talked to have benefited from close relationships with mentors and peers. Your investors, partners, and co-founders are more likely to be your friends than someone you exchanged business cards with at a happy hour.

Work.

We haven’t spoken to a single industry leader that hasn’t been willing to put in the work. But, there’s an important distinction.

They have been willing to put in the work because they were able to align their career with some passion.

Sheer willpower can only take you so far. Our speakers have doubled down on their interests and skills to align their passion with their careers. This has enabled them to put in the work and love what they do.

Selling.

It’s been hard to find a business leader that doesn’t have some experience selling. From selling their product to their personal capabilities, learning to sell feels like a requirement in business based on our meetings.

Long-Term Thinking.

These leaders have all thought long-term throughout their lives. Professionally, they invest in their relationships and strategically think about the next steps in their career. They’re always learning more about their industry and improving themselves. With long-term thinking comes short-term sacrifices. Based on our discussion, these sacrifices are worth it.

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