INSTANT MBA: Don't Focus Everything On Aggression And Competition

John Hawthorne

Photo: John Harthorne

Today’s advice comes from our interview with John Harthorne, Founder and CEO of MassChallenge:“You create something that doesn’t exist now that is valuable to society and in return, they pay you or provide a service that can particularly pay you for accessing that benefit. All of that is fine and good and of it is legitimate, but what I found in the past 20 or 30 years is that in a lot of the top MBA programs, the value is placed more on the value capture piece, which is how do I extract maximum value out of my ecosystem while providing minimum input into it.”

Harthorne started MassChallenge after excessive brainstorming on how to get his own startup off the ground and realised there were limited resources. MassChallenge is the largest startup accelerator and startup competition in existence and gives more than $1 million to startups each year while asking nothing in return. Harthorne says this is how it attracts some of the best ideas out there. They had a total of 1,237 applicants just this year for their annual startup competition. 

The founder says creation is more important than a focus on aggression and competitiveness. He says there are problems with MBA programs only emphasising the capture part of the equation. It forces many new entrepenuers to migrate to the finance industry because they have the resources, and this causes an imbalance in society and a lack of creativity flowing into other industries.

“I actually think value creation is a much stronger lever and you can do much more on focusing on how I can create something worth billions of dollars. You automatically are going to do well as an individual if you’re focusing on creating something that is incredibly valuable to society. You’re going to be able to capture a piece of that.”

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