Creators— An MBA is Not for You!

Creative Startups CEO Alice Loy's three reasons why you should skip the MBA route

I’m just going to dive right in— getting an MBA is the worst thing a creator, artist, storyteller, or creative visionary can do. Yes, creators need to be savvy, knowledgeable, networked entrepreneurs, and one would think an MBA would set you up with the know-how you need to navigate the business world. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Stick with me for a minute here, and I’ll explain.

1) You Won’t Learn What You Need to Know

The typical MBA program - like the one I did at the University of New Mexico (2002) - was designed to train the next generation of corporate managers. In my classes, I listened to lectures on how to create lines in retail stores that moved 17% faster. I learned how to craft an engaging customer questionnaire using a seven-point Likert scale. I became fluent in business terms like “market segmentation” and “capital outlay”. From Accounting to Marketing, I learned to walk and talk like a manager. 

But the genius of a creator lies in disruption and activating a new social order where wealth generation is inclusive. The knowledge such a revolutionary needs is in direct opposition to that of a corporate manager. For a creator, doing an MBA would be an expensive and demoralizing distraction.

So, unless your dream is getting a mid-level job at Acme Industries, working your way up to VP of Fill-in-the-Blank, then doing an MBA is not going to give you the knowledge you need. Instead, look for the knowledge and skills you need in online communities and courses, find a great mentor, and get engaged with your regional entrepreneurship events like 1 Million Cups.

2) You Won’t Meet Who You Need to Know

Lots of ambitious people go to business school for the network. And, if you want to go into private equity and work on Wall Street, you would be really wise to attend a top-of-the-line MBA program like Harvard or Stanford. You’ll meet lots of people passionate about making money, and some who also care about changing the world. But, if you are a creator activating a new social order where wealth generation is inclusive, this network is not really your tribe.

That doesn’t mean your community isn’t out there.

3) Entrepreneurship is Social Change 

Today it is widely understood that entrepreneurs drive social change through reorganizing social, human, and financial capital around their ventures. With this understanding, many of us are now questioning which entrepreneurs we (as a society) are investing in. Our awareness that today’s entrepreneurs build tomorrow’s society has sparked. So, who we invest in today matters if we care about tomorrow.  As the old adage goes, we reap what we sow.

Are we investing in entrepreneurs who envision a more inclusive and just society? Are we investing in entrepreneurs who pursue more than that single bottom line - profit - and instead seek pathways to profit and social, environmental, and cultural gains? 

These questions lie at the heart of our mission at Creative Startups and drive us to seek out entrepreneurs who are building the world we want to live in tomorrow. Our mission is to accelerate the success of creative entrepreneurs because creators are building the world we want to live in. It’s why we’ve chosen to work with Maven to provide online, cohort-based courses, like our inaugural class, Capital for Creators. In the same way that entrepreneurs and creators transform the social and financial landscape, organizations like ours have to shake up entrepreneurial education and resources, giving more creators access to the knowledge they need to grow their businesses.  

Creators and creatives are still overlooked as entrepreneurs and instead viewed as a commodity. Which means creators are being pulled into that same ol’ better-faster-cheaper wheel of capitalism so they can work to accrue financial benefits to the few at the top. 

We reject that system and say F*ck the side hustle and don’t work for an MBA. You can learn what you need to know to build a creative business that builds a better tomorrow and puts more than pennies in your bank account. 


A 3-day highly interactive course with Alice Loy, presented by Maven

As a creator, you deserve to be paid for your vision, passion, and purpose, and we all know we can’t pay the bills with “exposure” or pitiful percentages from creator platforms.

This course demystifies different types of growth capital, from grants to sponsorships, crowdfunding to venture capital, and guides you in crafting a values-aligned capital plan. The result? You are ready to raise the right capital and lead your business to long-term success and greater impact.

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