I never liked school.
People are surprised when they hear this about me. I love learning and I am insatiably curious.
However, formal education did not serve me. Let me explain.
Truth be told: I’ve had a challenging relationship with the higher education system. School and learning were not one and the same for me. Right after high school, I went to university enabled by a full-ride scholarship awarded on the merits of community leadership and not academic achievement. When I arrived, I found university to be highly disengaging. It felt irrelevant and impractical for my life. A couple of years and several mental health breakdowns later, I dropped out. University had gotten in the way of my education.
I chose to prioritize my learning.
Eventually I did end up graduating from university, taking a path less beaten. I transferred my credits to an online university, moved abroad, worked and travelled, and completed my Bachelor of Arts degree part-time. It took me twice as long as it was designed to, not to mention the multiple existential crises in between.
I’ve often thought about what it might look like to have an education experience that was complementary to my life. What would it look like to learn the exact skills I needed? To find the educational experience engaging? To have it be conducive to my lifestyle and learning style?
When my friend and former colleague Spencer Ayres told me he had enrolled in ThePowerMBA, I was intrigued. Spencer is an educator and we have had many conversations about what would be required to disrupt the education space. When we worked together, we’d met many brilliant young people for whom the traditional education systems did not work. What would it look like to design an inclusive education experience that met their needs too?
My interest was piqued. At my business Cause Digital, I help organizations take a digital-first approach to their social impact. Because I’ve always learned on the job and through direct experience, I have found myself hypothesizing business concepts/ideas that already exist but without the formal language for it. It’s been one of my goals this year to learn about concrete frameworks and theories to help me be more efficient in my work.
I’ll be honest — I was also skeptical. I have found few school-like settings that worked well for me. How would ThePowerMBA be different?
This is what tipped the scales for me:
- The content is split into bite-sized learning of 15 mins of content a day. I tested out the first module on Viral Engines of Growth with the Co-founder of Waze, and was pleasantly surprised by the quality and found it to be engaging.
- The learning is self-paced but with an end-date and monthly check-in touchpoints. I thrive under autonomy coupled with social accountability structures, so this worked out perfectly.
- The opportunity to learn from the direct wisdom of founders and leaders I’ve read about for ages. We’ll have webinars with the founders and CXOs of Shazam, Whole Foods Market, Girls Who Code, Airbnb, and much more.
- Business education is often seen as very elite and comes with exorbitant price tags and high barriers to entry. This program is one piece of the journey to democratize business education.
- Many tech and business success stories were made possible through immense privilege, at times harming underserved populations. This is an opportunity to critically learn and examine these practices, and understand what it takes to build equitably.
So after connecting with the team, I’ve decided to enroll in ThePowerMBA and take this learning journey with them. I’ll be part of their first cohort in North America, and I’m collaborating with them to share their work in Canada.
This is a glimpse of what ThePowerMBA curriculum looks like:
- Business model innovation
- The Lean Startup
- Strategy and business fundamentals
- The power of being a (real) marketer
- Management skills and tools
- Finance & accounting
- Disruptive tech in business
I have plenty to learn across almost all of these modules and I’m excited to dig in. I’m well-versed in marketing and leadership so for those modules I’ll be looking at what I can take away from the learning design. As a facilitator, I’m always looking for examples of best-in-class experience design, and I have a feeling I’ll have lots to take away from this program.
I’m planning to keep myself accountable by blogging about my learning experiences monthly. Keep an eye out on this page if you’d like to stay in the loop.
I’m looking forward to the learning journey ahead.