Sunday, October 27, 2013

21 Life Improvements from BJJ: 15-An MBA Outlet

Since I was young, I've had beef with the concept of "business". I always envisioned people in shiny suits, exploiting the customer, worker, and society at large at every chance they got. (To be honest, my real-life experiences haven't completely disproved that perspective.)

Somehow though, being the practical INTJ that I am, I managed to convince myself that an MBA might be a good idea. I enrolled myself in some intro classes that a local university was offering to students who hadn't yet taken the GMAT. All graduate level students in the college of business had to take them and I found myself sitting with accountants, CFOs, former stock brokers, entrepreneurs and kids fresh out of undergrad. On Fridays, I drove to the other end of the county to listen to talks from executives in various industries talk frankly about their lives and experiences in the business world. I fell in love with the whole thing and looked forward to the classes, even after long drives and a full day's work. The focus, as well as the classes, was global and addressed business as very much a function and reflection of humanity. Even through brutal finance classes (NOT my strength), I still felt a burning drive to learn more about what business really was and how it could serve humanity.

As much as I loved the study though, there was still a disconnect in my work life. See...there's BUSINESS, and then there's a career. Sure, playing with pivot tables and Gantt charts carried over, but for the most part, I longed for the discussions of game theory and deeper analysis of Hofstede's cultural dimensions. I wanted to talk more about labor movements in China and tuna fisheries in Myanmar.

BJJ has given me the opportunity to look at a young industry, still finding its footing, still working through all the rough edges and loose ends that are to be expected. It's allowed me to not only see business, but watch and experience, acutely and personally, what business means in the lives of individuals. Writing on business in BJJ has been awesome, and allowed me to explore some of the topics I feared would be lost to me after finishing school. 

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