5 Ways to Creatively Use your MBA Degree
Traditionally, most students complete MBA programs to become a banker, accountant or financial analyst, but not anymore. MBA alumni are using business school degrees to launch careers as writers, artists, personal trainers, designers and publicists using the business knowledge they've gained in MBA programs to run creative enterprises effectively.
"I've always loved fashion and had wanted to start a fashion brand ever since I was a little girl," fashion designer Vienne Cheung said. "The skills I acquired from an MBA program were the necessary tools for that dream to come true."
Cheung is part of a group of MBA alumni using their business school degrees to launch non-traditional, creative careers. Read about how they achieved their creative dreams after graduating from MBA programs.
5 creative MBA careers
1. Fiction Writer
A University of Kentucky MBA, Adam Lucas has used his business knowledge to manage his finances in order to pursue a career as a fiction editor and writer. He maintains a strict budget and invests in order to supplement his income. He also puts into practice his MBA in marketing to commercialize his short stories and novels - one of which he hopes will become a bestseller.
"[The MBA] allows me to approach art like the business it actually is," Lucas said. "I have a product and I have to sell it."
2. Multimedia Artist
A Columbia Business School MBA, Joshua Spodek launched a company that commercializes products through the use of multimedia. Also an art professor and artist, his latest work together with students from Parsons The New School for Design includes an installation of still images in a New York subway station. Each image is slightly different from the next. When you walk past them it seems like a single image is moving -- producing a beautiful effect. But what does an artist like Spodek learn while earning an MBA in entrepreneurship?
"A lot of [art installation] exposure comes from being able to navigate organizations and develop relationships with people," he said. "The MBA vastly improved my ability to communicate my ideas -- to myself and others."
3. Personal Trainer
A Johns Hopkins University MBA, Luci Gabel has traveled the world getting people into shape. She's managed health clubs in South Korea and Hawaii. She decided to pursue an MBA in Management to make sure she could appropriately allocate the resources to help others stay fit. Today, Gabel is the CEO of LuciFit, a company that provides personal training and fitness consulting to private and corporate clients. She creates blog posts, newsletters, and videos as well.
"The MBA has provided me with the tools to make good business decisions…to nurture a successful brand," Gabel said.
Originally from Montreal, Maxime Richard traveled to Italy to complete an MBA in Design, Fashion, and Luxury Goods at Universita di Bologna. During the MBA, Richard learned about finance, strategy, marketing, and branding. He also found out about key industry trends and emerging markets. Today, he puts into practice what he learned while developing relationships with celebrities, stylists, influencers, and journalists, as well as planning events for the clients of an international marketing and public relations agency.
[The MBA] gave me confidence and additional skills for a business setting," he said. "I wanted to have more of a 360 business viewpoint."
5. Fashion Designer
Fashion designer Cheung runs VienneMilano, a luxury hosiery brand and online boutique dedicated exclusively to thigh-high stockings. To run her company, Cheung puts into practice what she learned during her MBA in marketing at Bentley University. There she learned finance, accounting and marketing; travelled to Asia and Europe to learn about international business practices; and built a personal and professional network. She now manufactures her stockings in Italy and markets them to those in her network and beyond.
Seeking your MBA
The experiences of MBA graduates engaged in creative endeavors, such as Cheung's, demonstrate the versatility of a business school degree. You may pursue it to embark in a traditional business job or to launch a creative career. In fact, once you graduate from MBA programs, the sky could be the limit.