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My altMBA Decision – 5 Reasons to Make a Ruckus

be the change

If you are asking who is Seth Godin or what is the altMBA please go here.

I’ve been a huge fan of Seth’s for the last two decades all the way back to 1999 when he wrote, Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers into Friends, and Friends into Customers. In 2003 he called us to be remarkable, in 2008 he called us to lead our tribes and in 2010 he reminded us that we were indispensable. I’m a huge fan of his brand of thinking about the world and how each of us and the brands we love have a powerful impact to make in the world by being uniquely ourselves, deeply authentic and a belief that the world needs more warrior poets. Ok this may be more my interpretation of Seth’s work than his but I did actually meet him last year when we were both speaking at the ClickZ Live event in New York and from our short discussion I realized that he and I are almost twins and thus we must have identical thinking. I’m not even going to go into how we both have the initials SG and how our last names are practically the same.

All that to say, when I first heard that Seth was launching something called the [altMBA] I knew I was going to need to learn more.  I have a Master’s Degree in Information Technology and over the years I’ve considered going back to school to get an MBA but I never pulled the trigger.  Over time I started to get a bit jaded about the MBA and struggled with how many people I knew that had the degree but had no true sense of innovation or willingness to think bigger or broader than balance sheets, profits and LTV.  Well a few months ago (February 2017) I decided to apply for the altMBA program.  I didn’t over think the application I was very raw, shared my diverse back ground at start ups and the Fortune 500.  I shared my challenges and growth through adopting kids in foster care.  I shared my hopes to one day start my own company.  On March 28, 2017 I got an email with the subject:

[altMBA Admissions] Your altMBA application decision

Hey Shawn,

Good news: our admissions team reviewed your application and has chosen you as a strong fit for the altMBA. On behalf of the entire altMBAteam, congratulations on being accepted into the October session of our workshop.

The October session is already brimming with talent, and we believe you would be a valuable addition to the incoming class.

If you intend to join us, secure your seat in the workshop with a $500 non-refundable deposit. Please accept or decline our invitation by Thursday, April 6 at midnight ET.

With all the excitement of getting accepted I now had to make a decision and I had lots of thoughts spinning around in my head.  Is this really worth $3,000 for 1 month?  How am I going to find 100 extra hours in the month of October on top of my already taxing work schedule as the Chief Marketing Technology Officer for JPMorgan Chase? I wonder if I know anyone who’s done this already or how could I find out what others thought about it.  So I did what any digital native would do, I went to Google, Linkedin, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram to see what I could find.  There are quite a few blog posts from alumni that I found very helpful (see links at the bottom of the post).  What was most insightful though was the post I put on LinkedIn.  (click to see actual LinkedIn post)

altMBA LinkedIn Post

As of today this post has 2.614 view, 32 likes and 24 comments in 2 weeks.  I also got close to a dozen direct messages from alumni of the program and people who give me their phone numbers so I could call them and discuss.  WOW, I’ve been posting on social media sites for years and I have close to 2000 connections on LinkeIn but I have never seen a response like this.

So here are the 5 reasons I committed:

  1. The pure unbridled passion that everyone who did it has. People who said they never came down off the high. Others who said it was life changing. Not one person said don’t do it.  There was not one negative comment on the entire post.
  2. The action based approach.  I don’t want to sit in lectures and this program seems to be all focused on delivering lots of projects in very short windows of time.
  3. The focus on transformation of self and tools focused on changing the paradigm rather than the same old business school basics.  I’ve read Drucker and Covey and they have helped my get here, but if I’m going to level up I need new thinking and a new tribe of warrior poets to lean on.
  4. Pure adventure!  I have to do it, it hits all my hot buttons for being a challenge. I too want to say it changed my life.
  5.  This one is personal but if you want to know connect to me on linkedIn referencing this blog post and I will share my heart and soul.

So what’s next?

Well this blog is a direct response to my journey to, through and beyond the altMBA.  All of my biggest heroes have been huge champions for change, with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. being the one I’ve looked up to the most.  May his words challenge us to be remarkable and find success in creating a new world where legacy trumps destiny…

“Success, recognition, and conformity are the bywords of the modern world where everyone seems to crave the anesthetizing security of being identified with the majority.”

“The soft-minded man always fears change. He feels security in the status quo, and he has an almost morbid fear of the new. For him, the greatest pain is the pain of a new idea.”

“History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.”

“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”

Links to altMBA alumni posts: