MBAs Learn About Business and Busy-ness

One thing I’ve recently noticed is that my classmates have been a lot busier than I expected this quarter. Some are still looking for jobs. Some are taking the maximum number of classes this term, even though they don’t have to. Others have gotten involved in even more clubs than they were last quarter. And others are challenging themselves in the classroom to learn as much as possible before heading into a new industry for the summer. The question that comes to mind is, how much of this busy-ness is actually worth it?

Over the past nine months, I’ve come to realize two things.

One, is that business school will keep you busy.  In fact, everyone becomes so busy that they start making to-do lists. Crossing things off and putting more things back on the list. Finding more activities to get involved in. Taking more classes. Going to more events. And doing more and more analysis to support the answers on problem sets, even when that analysis isn’t needed.

The second thing I’ve found is that doing this “busy-ness” is far easier than actually doing “business” even in business school.

That’s because busy-ness feels natural in our environment. From day one, the environment makes you used to the idea of not having enough time. You start learning the importance of firing off emails every few seconds. Talking to more people at the same time. And figuring out ways to get more things done.

But the problem is that often times, “busy-ness” is completely unrelated to “business” as business is about creating value not just producing.  It’s about creating new things for the market. And not just things the market wants but also things it doesn’t have enough supply of. And at its best, it’s about creating things the market doesn’t even have yet.

To that end, what if you spent all of tomorrow thinking about what those thing are?  And so you didn’t send any emails. You didn’t cross anything off your to-do list. And you didn’t do any analytical exercises for assignments.

But instead, you brainstormed a new idea for your class project. You thought about a way to launch that internet company you’ve been thinking about.  You wrote down ideas for a documentary. And you thought about how to create value in a massive way.

I challenge you (and me) to stop being busy for just one hour and instead do business. Only then will we be able to create new value and eventually change the world.

Saturday, April 30th, 2011 Careers

2 Comments to MBAs Learn About Business and Busy-ness

May 1, 2011

ha! challenge accepted! but can you tell shin to give us less assignments as well? :)

Jeremy C Wilson
May 1, 2011

@michelle Hi Michelle, thanks for reading and commenting. Hopefully the second half of Operations class will have a lighter load. That way we can do a lot more “business” before the year is over!!

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Jeremy C Wilson is a JD-MBA alumni using his site to share information on education, the social enterprise revolution, entrepreneurship, and doing things differently. Feel free to send along questions or comments as you read.


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The contents of this blog are mine personally and do not reflect the views or position of Kellogg, Northwestern Law, the JD-MBA program, or any firm that I work for. I only offer my own perspective on all issues.
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