Back in November, three of my HBS classmates (Michael Baker, Hicham Alaoui and Casey Gerald) and I were talking about the disconnect that often exists between MBAs in the classroom and people building businesses on the ground--especially outside the usual hubs of San Francisco and New York.
We were also sick of headlines telling us that our business leaders care only about the bottom line, that the gulf between the haves and the have-nots is irreparable, and that our generation will be the first to do worse than our parents.
We believe that Doers and Makers across the country are proving the headlines wrong by creating and innovating despite the odds. We launched MBAs Across America to tell their stories and to be a part of their journey. Our mission is to bring entrepreneurs and MBAs together to learn from each other, have fun, and build businesses that make America stronger.
This summer, we’re driving across the country, spending a week each with eight different entrepreneurs in eight different cities: Detroit, Boulder, White Sulphur Springs, MT, Las Vegas, Albuquerque, New Orleans, Asheville, and Washington, DC. Our journey has three goals: tell powerful stories, team up with local entrepreneurs to tackle a challenge or opportunity they face, and build a network to support entrepreneurial ecosystems.
MBAxAmerica isn’t about having all the answers. It’s about working alongside entrepreneurs with humility and curiosity, and lending our skills, experience, and energy to the task of improving our communities and our economy.
We’re excited to see America in a new way. Our team will see new places, meet extraordinary people, and bring communities together to answer a critical question: what can we do to unleash the potential of every American entrepreneur?
The challenges we face as a country are too large for us to wait and too large for anyone to go at it alone. That’s why we’re working with amazing partners like Impactor, who is helping us, design, curate, and facilitate community workshops that create lasting value in our tour cities and beyond. We’ve also received support from organizations like The Downtown Project in Las Vegas, the Startup America partnership, and even the Mayor of San Diego. That’s also why a great company like Starwood is sponsoring our housing for the summer. We can’t thank them enough for taking the lead as a company that goes beyond the boardroom and into the communities it serves.
Coming into HBS, the four of us could never have imagined starting something like MBAxAmerica. We assumed, like most people, that we would find an internship related to a potential career path and hope that it led to a job offer. But HBS makes you think a lot about acting with purpose. Whether you’re going to private equity or a non-profit, there’s a sense that you should be making a decision that is truly yours and that you should be aware of the responsibility that decision entails.
So we are writing a different story about our future: one where dreamers, doers, and purpose-driven MBAs come together to make America stronger, one entrepreneurial ecosystem at a time.
-Amaris Singer, MBA 2014