3 Years. 25 States. 41 Cities. 68 MBAs.73 Entrepreneurs. 50,000 Miles. 1 Conclusion:
The future of America is in our hands.

The MBA× Story

It all began with one simple question: What if we used our education not to make a buck, but to make a difference?

That question led us 50,000 miles across America, where we found that the future lies not just in New York and Silicon Valley, but in small towns and big cities far from the coasts and away from the hype. It lies in the hands of entrepreneurs everywhere.

We also found that the future of business school is hands-on and must prepare a new generation to drive real progress. And we found that the future of our society depends on those who dare to leave behind the well-worn path to seek a better world.

Much more than a road trip — it was a movement.

The MBA× Entrepreneurs

The MBA× movement is shaped by women and men in the nooks and crannies of America, who prove that purpose is the new bottom line.

Tell me, and I'll forget. Show me, and I'll remember. Include me, and I'll understand.

Sebastian Jackson, The Social Club Grooming Co..

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There's no line item on a balance sheet for give a damn, but it's the most valuable thing you've got in a business.

Dave Schiff & Scott Prindle, Made Movement.

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I believe in the endless potential of the human heart, mind and spirit — there is strength in our togetherness.

Sarah Calhoun, Red Ants Pants.

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I love the work and the people I work with and that too is so important. It makes that sense of responsibility that I feel, a joy rather than a burden.

Jim Spadaccini, Ideum.

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My daughter keeps me going. I hope that my efforts are helping to foster an environment in New Orleans that will allow her to live, work, and thrive here for her lifetime.

Tim Williamson, The Idea Village.

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What gives us hope? People who are contributing to a better world and a better future far outnumber those who are not.

Oscar Wong & Leah Ashburn, Highland Brewing Co..

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Bringing fairness and clarity to a process that has been adversarial and unfair for so long, makes the long hours and difficult decisions worth it.

Scott Wolfe, Jr., Zlien.

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I have to leave this place in better shape than I found it.

Chris Gilreath, Recycled Hydro Solutions.

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As a business owner, I'm an investigator, a creative and a keeper of the vision.

Anna Thielke & Alex Witkowicz, Gociety.

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Beer keeps us going. That and a desire to continue to make an awesome product and serve our community.

Aaron Hill, Fargo Brewing Co..

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I know that engaging young people and providing real educational opportunities is critical for New Orleans’ continued growth.

William Stoudt, Youth Rebuilding New Orleans.

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Our mission is to provide the physical and social infrastructure to help entrepreneurs build their dreams.

Judd Wilson, Renasant Center for IDEAs.

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Being a business owner takes all of me. Heart, soul, sweat and tears. And the thing that keeps me going more than anything else is the smiles.

Tiffany Lach, Red Tractor Pizza.

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Nisolo means ‘not alone’ for a reason, and it's those around us that keep me going everyday.

Patrick Woodyard, Nisolo Shoes.

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I am driven by two things: continually learning and the process of solving problems. Finding that fulfillment is what allows me to work hard when work is difficult.

Bryant Mason, Urban Farm Company.

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The opportunity a robust city like Fargo can play in supporting ideas that will improve the lives of others — that's what keeps me going every day.

Greg Tehven, Emerging Prairie Fund.

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Hope is emboldened by tough times. Through tough times we rely on God, who is greater than ourselves, for a purpose beyond ourselves; and by doing so we find excellence in one another.

Bea Wray, The Creative Coast.

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We can't walk away. Because we have made our work about something more than just making money. Because we see our business as the means through which we help the world become better.

Will Anderson, Salemtown Board Co..

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Our customers never cease to amaze us with their passion for local foods and other social issues — their willingness to try new things.

Corri & Jack Sundell, The Root Cafe.

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Every day that I wake, I realize that, if not me, then who?

CJay Rayford, Social Sushi Detroit.

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I’m hopeful because I have a rigid belief that tomorrow is better than today, and the knowledge that this belief is shared by every entrepreneur I meet.

Sam Davidson, Batch.

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A strong business provides me the opportunity to spend time and bring resources to a nation that is in great need.

Kevin & Tara McManus, Discovery Recycling.

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Inspiring others is the best work - seeing the moment when something sparks an understanding in someone and they realize that what they thought was difficult isn’t.

Chris Meyer, Sector 67.

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Whether it’s recovering from unhealthy addictions, reuniting with loved ones or simply making the best of a hard day, our employees’ perseverance reminds me that we all have hope for a better tomorrow

Andy Magel, Mile High.

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Bit Source is bringing the computer coding revolution to Eastern Kentucky.

Payton May, Bit Source.

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Detroit was so good to me at giving a shot at my dream that I finally realized that it was my turn to return the favor.

Amy Peterson, Rebel Nell.

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I refuse to be neutralized by fear. The American entrepreneur has proven time and time again that tough times don't last but tough people do.

Kurt Billups, YEP! Fitness.

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Passion for place. That's what inspires me. That's what keeps me going. What more could I even want than the opportunity to try?

Courtney & John McKee, Headframe Spirits.

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The love I have for people and the opportunity I have to help my fellow man, keeps me going every day.

Burnell & Keasha Cotlon, Lower 9th Ward Grocery.

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I am happy to work hard because with that hard work, I'm able to sleep easy at night, knowing that it's all happening on my own terms and going towards a dream that I'm building for myself.

Nailah Ellis, Ellis Island Tea.

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The MBA× Open Road

Since we launched MBA× in 2013 we’ve grown from just four friends with a “crazy” idea, into a national movement that has attracted hundreds of MBAs from over 30 business schools and hundreds of entrepreneur applicants from almost every state.

But the MBA× movement has never been about elite schools or a selective application process. It’s been defined by a belief that each of us has the power to roll up our sleeves and tackle the biggest challenges we face, without waiting for anyone’s permission.

So now we’re turning the movement over to you: we are putting ourselves out of business and sharing our model freely with anyone who wants to do this work — through MBA× Open Road, a toolkit that lays out everything that goes into making an MBA× journey happen.

If you’re ready for an adventure that will teach you more than you could ever learn in a classroom, we invite you to join young people all over the world who are continuing to build the MBA× movement on the open road.

MBA× Open Road Toolkit

The MBA× Fellows

Many MBAs might ask “why?” — why get on the vast, unknown road instead of the path that’s certain? These MBAx Fellows asked “why not?” — why not leave behind the comforts of cubicles and head into the heart of America to put my skills to the test for a cause greater than myself?

The Teams

The Impact

The MBA× journey was about real people all across America, who were working to write a better story for themselves and their country. These are the stories that helped change our lives, and that give us hope for the road ahead.

The Press

The Social Club Grooming Co.

Tell me, and I'll forget. Show me, and I'll remember. Include me, and I'll understand.

Sebastian Jackson


The Social Club Grooming Co.

Sebastian Jackson


Detroit, Michigan

What They Do

An innovative salon that recycles the hair it collects to accelerate compost that is then used to plant trees in Detroit, which has lost half of its urban canopy in the past decade. They also use the barbershop as a natural convening point for the community by hosting Shop Talks™ where leaders share their stories and spark conversations, learning, and cooperation toward creating a better world.

How We Helped

Three “I’s”: an incentive structure that would allow Sebastian to attract, retain, and engage top talent; tech infrastructure to turn his clientele base into evangelists for the salon; and iconic actions to tell the story of The Social Club inside the physical space and in the community — from chalkboard walls to pop-up barber shops. We introduced Sebastian to partners who helped him tear . After the summer, Sebastian worked with partners we introduced him to and tore down an abandoned home, reclaiming the wood to renovate the entire Social Club. He also tripled his monthly revenue, was able to secure a $100,000 local investment, and invested us back for the summer of 2014.

What We Learned

Grassroots leaders like Sebastian are writing a different story about Detroit, one where young visionaries build solutions to the city’s problems themselves instead of waiting for traditional institutions to save the day.


You all are like really good dentists…closing gaps and all. You left me with an awesome pair of braces.