How to Create Your Own MBA

by RJ

in Self Improvement

I talk a lot about Big Hairy Audacious Goals on this site. It’s about time I let you in on one of my own.

There are few things I enjoy more than learning and applying what I have learned. There are days, I contemplate going back to school to get my MBA. However, when I knock some sense into myself, I realize that going back to school is incredibly expensive. More importantly, this form of learning hasn’t proven successful to me in the past.

Since I never plan on working for anyone that requires an MBA, it makes more sense to go out and get the education in my own. This method is much cheaper and a better use of my time.

My Plan of Attack – Step # 1 – Defining End Result

The idea to create you own MBA equivalent, isn’t anything new. There are many books and websites on the topic.

When I began to brainstorm how I would go about this, I started by asking myself why? I came up with the following two reasons:

  1. I want to apply what I have learned, to make Gen Y Wealth profitable enough to reach my Target Monthly Income.
  2. I want to help grow my family business.  I come from a long line of business owners. My great grandpa started an insurance company in 1905, that’s still around today. My dad now runs the insurance company, a long with a few other businesses. As of right now, he plans on passing each business down to myself and my siblings. When that time comes, I want to actively grow each business.

Step # 2 – Naming Irreplaceable Skills Sets

Now that I know my reasons for beginning this journey, I started to list what skills I needed. Luckily, a recent post from Scott Adam’s blog, had me thinking about irreplaceable skills sets. I took a couple of concepts from that post and a few of my own, to come up with the following list of skills that I wanted to develop:
  1. Sales
  2. Business Management
  3. Systems
  4. Persuasion
  5. Finance & Accounting
  6. Research and Analysis
  7. Decision Making
  8. Productivity
  9. Creativity
  10. Economics
  11. Behavioral Change
  12. Writing
  13. Debate
  14. Public Speaking
  15. Negotiation
  16. Networking
  17. Critical Thinking
  18. Influence
  19. Culture
  20. Marketing & PR

With two years of focused learning, I believe I can develop the above skills, to be in the top 2-3% of comprehension for each.

Step # 3 – Developing the Learning Materials

So far, I knew the end result I wanted to achieve and the skills to get there. The next step is outlining the course work.

After some careful consideration, I wanted a combination of reading, listening, video, and doing. I came up with the following:





  • Take 12 Successful Entrepreneurs/Business Owners  to Lunch
  • Give 12 Speeches at Toastmasters
  • Attend 1 Annual Berkshire and Hathaway Shareholder’s Meeting in Omaha, Nebraska
  • Write an eBook on what I learned and give it away for free
  • Live out of the United States for 30 consecutive days

Step # 4 – The End Date

All that was left was to give my goal an end date. How does, October 1, 2012 sound? I will update you, each month in my monthly reviews.

Your Turn

If you want to create a similar learning experience, just follow the steps I just discussed.

  1. Ask yourself why
  2. Define the skill sets you need
  3. Develop the learning materials
  4. Set an end date


Photo by: SBA73

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Chris ParsonsNo Gravatar September 20, 2010 at 9:50 am

I love this idea.

Personally, that’s a bit more reading than what I would chose for myself. I will just stick with the PMBA Reading List – no audio or video.

Doing? Well, I’m pretty early in my entreprenurial journey, so let’s say: Make my dropship business and blog each individually profitable by June 30th, 2011 – and join my local Chamber of Commerce in 2011.

PatrickNo Gravatar September 20, 2010 at 12:55 pm

Are the skills you listed in order of how you feel about them?

In my opinion, critical thinking should be bumped way up on your list as improving this skill will have a cascading effect upon learning the remainder of the skills.

EricNo Gravatar September 20, 2010 at 1:47 pm

I’m digging the “Create Your Own MBA”, I’ve been debating this topic internally myself!

Briana @ GBRNo Gravatar September 20, 2010 at 3:18 pm

This is an awesome inspiration to me RJ. I’m going to be doing the same thing. I thought about coming up with a curriculum but you’ve jump started my planning for it. Took some of your skill set ideas, added my own, and developing “courses” for it. My proposed stop day: December 20, 2012

RJNo Gravatar September 21, 2010 at 2:36 pm

@Chris – Nothing wrong with the PMBA list. I haven’t read a book, that I didn’t like on that list so far.

@Patrick – Nope. Not in any order. All are important to have and can help me in the future.

@Eric – Hopefully this can provide motivation to get you started.

@Briana – Great. Setting an end date is vital. Good luck. If you come across any good resources, let me know.

John HunterNo Gravatar September 22, 2010 at 5:13 pm

I strongly recommend Paul Graham’s Essays and Warren Buffet Shareholder Letter. I favor the idea of focusing on deep understanding of fewer resources, rather than a superficial review of tons of stuff. Having too many priorities often means having none. It seems to me most people (maybe not you but most people) would not get a deep understanding of all the things you mention and would be better off shrinking the scope and increasing the depth.

For a MBA (without going to school) you do need a broad overview so I would suggest a a wide area of superficial understanding but also focusing on deep understanding of a limited number of areas.

Here is a list of great books I made this list focused on management. It doesn’t aim to cover many of the areas you mention. But reading, understanding and adopting the ideas in these books would be a huge benefit to most managers and executives.

RJNo Gravatar September 23, 2010 at 10:02 am

Thanks John. I have been blown away by each of his essays. I find myself reading each a few times.

I agree, there is a lot I have to cover. I can easily get lost in a sea of information here, if I’m not careful.

Once I’m finished, I then want to focus on one specific area. I guess in two years, I have to write a How to Create Your Own PHD post. (:

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