Skip the MBA: Business School Wisdom for Entrepreneurs

Learn the most important lessons from an elite MBA program in a fun, digestible format geared towards entrepreneurs, aspiring entrepreneurs and startup teams.
Jonathan Levi
1,624 Facebook Friends
Saratoga, California
United States
4 Team Members

Update: Want to see a sneak peak? Check out a preview of the Organizational Behavior Chapter and learn a powerful tool to get the best performance out of your team!

Update: Want to know what else you'll learn in this book? Check out this overview of key concepts on my blog!

Executive Summary

This book will crystallize the key concepts of an elite MBA program, in a fun and digestible format, specifically geared towards entrepreneurs, aspiring entrepreneurs, and startup teams.

Getting an MBA is among the most fun, rewarding, and challenging things you can do as a professional. However, if you're an entrepreneur running, starting, or considering a business, chances are you're too busy pursuing your dreams and making money to attend a prestigious MBA program, even if you want to. 

In fact, more and more entrepreneurs and investors are suggesting that maybe you don't need to. However, there are so many best practices nobody has ever told you. You can learn the hard way, by making the mistakes - but mistakes in your business are costly and often irreversible. This is why so many entrepreneurs lose sleep at night wondering if their accounting is done right, whether they should take on more debt, or how they can better motivate their employees. I know I always did, and I'm an entrepreneur just like you. 

During my MBA, I kicked myself at least once a week. I learned so much, and I realized that the MBA skill set could have had a dramatic impact on the success of my business, my savviness as an angel investor, my effectiveness as a leader, and the value at which I sold my last company. For this reason, I'm writing a book to give entrepreneurs (and wantrepreneurs) the key, relevant takeaways from an elite MBA program, in 300 pages or less.

Here is one of the proposed covers - you'll get to vote on which one goes to print!

Why Back This Project?

Because this book will make you, your employees, and your children into better, more rounded business-people, entrepreneurs, and leaders - without student loans or 2 years away from your business

I'll be the first to tell you how much fun doing an MBA is, how amazing the people are, how much I learned, or how powerful the network is. All of that is true - and of course I don't have any regrets. Nonetheless, I realize that not everyone has the luxury of attending an MBA program, even if they really should; you have a business to run, a family to take care of, or other obligations that prevent you from taking 2 years off. 

Fortunately, I can share with you the many "Oh $#%^!" moments I experienced throughout my MBA, where I kicked myself and realized that one simple lesson or concept could have saved me tens, even hundreds of thousands of dollars, and made my business much more valuable at the time of sale.

Because this is extremely valuable information in a digestible, fun, and relatable format

My mission with this book is simple: I'm going to crystallize the 3 or 4 entrepreneurially-relevant takeaways from each area of study, and teach you a few clear-cut lessons about each one:

  1. What is the key concept?
  2. Why does it matter?
  3. How is it applied in YOUR business?
  4. What questions should you be asking?
  5. Where can you learn more?

Because you want to learn the high-level concepts you can apply in your business - fast

I'm writing this book for all of you, and I want to cover anything and everything YOU find relevant. I don't want you spending a single minute away from your business unless it provides real, valuable takeaways. For this reason, you'll be given the opportunity to vote on which subjects are most important. If a subject doesn't get enough votes, it doesn't make the cut. Currently, I'm writing chapters on the following:

For a more in-depth list of the ideas this book will cover, check out this blog post.

How much can be taught in under 300 pages, you ask?

Of course, this is NOT going to be a complete MBA program in 300 pages - you'll be skipping a lot of drinking, traveling, networking, bank-overdrafting, and sleepless nights. It is, however, going to give you a 10,000 foot overview of the material, without the boring details that 90% of entrepreneurs will never encounter. You probably don't need to know a lot about options pricing or bond markets, for example, so I'm not going to bother you with them. 

Will there be case studies? Homework? Examples?

No homework - I promise. If you really want to do case studies, I'll give you links to some of the best ones being taught today at Harvard, Stanford, and INSEAD. I'll also give you some optional worksheets to map out your business' data and apply it to what you're learning. But in order to make this information relevant and relatable for entrepreneurs, why don't I write some fresh, simple case studies - about your business?

...Your company can even be in the book!

Part of teaching business concepts involves giving examples of projects, investments, competitive challenges, and more. What better way to do this than to have you submit the problems your business is currently facing, so that we can go through them together and you can see how an MBA would approach them. Of course, you will have an opportunity to change names, numbers, and dates before publishing. If you purchase the $500 perk, I'll be in touch and use a real life example from your business to illustrate a key concept - exposing your business to thousands of other entrepreneurs!

Why I'm Writing This Book

My name is Jonathan Levi, and I'm a serial entrepreneur from Silicon Valley, California. Since the age of 4, I've been starting businesses, and I've continued for over 20 years. 

I know entrepreneurs, because I've always been one

At the age of 16, I started an online ecommerce company selling niche luxury goods out of my parents' garage. I ran the company while getting my bachelor's degree at UC Berkeley. That company grew into a multi-million dollar enterprise with customers in 96 countries. It also put me in the position to become the president of the Silicon Valley chapter of the Entrepreneurs' Organization. These two experiences afforded me a ton of informal learning opportunities, and help shape me into a better entrepreneur. 

Shortly after my company was named one of INC Magazine's 5,000 fastest growing private companies in America, I sold it. I used some of the proceeds of the sale to start out as an angel investor and advisor in the online education, ecommerce, and consumer packaged goods spaces.  I also had the opportunity to serve as an Entrepreneur-In-Residence at an international Venture Capital office while I completed the applications for my life-long dream of getting an MBA.

There is tremendous value in the "MBA Tool Kit"

There is a raging debate as to whether or not entrepreneurs should get an MBA. Whichever side you take, the fact of the matter is that nobody is debating whether or not entrepreneurs should enrich their knowledge of business fundamentals. Speaking from experience, however, learning by trial and error is costly and often irreversible. Instead, the aim should be to learn as much as you can, as quickly as you can, so you can apply it in your business tomorrow.

The Dean of INSEAD and I

Some of the best professors in the world are supporting this project

Throughout the process of researching this book, I've reached out to top professors whom I've come to know from both Berkeley and INSEAD. Happily, they have all agreed to have a look over the rough draft of Skip the MBA and send suggestions, comments, and feedback. These are individuals who consult for some of the world's largest corporations - and they're going to be previewing the material you'll be enjoying!

Why I Need YOUR Backing

Didn't we just establish that an MBA is a really great way to break the bank? 

In all seriousness, though: 

  • I'll need to budget for things like marketing, distribution, proofreading, and graphic design
  • I'm also going to have to order a large quantity of books to drive the printing prices down (decreasing marginal costs at scale - we can cover that, too!)
  • I'm a big proponent of "Lean" and "customer development," and I view the survey component of this project as a powerful way to solicit your requests and inputs about what materials to emphasize. It's also Process Operations Management, minimizing waste by not including the chapters you don't want to read (don't worry, it will be covered in the book)

I look forward to helping you gain a deeper insight into your own business, and I just want to remind you that this project can only move forward if the goal is met (or exceeded!).

Your Support is Crucial to This Campaign

Whether you want this book to become a reality for your own use, or you want to share it with your entrepreneurial friends or family, it would mean a great deal to me if you could share this campaign and help it be successful. 

Thank you!

Jonathan Levi

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Select a Perk
  • $8USD
    The Eco Business

    You'll get a copy of the eBook in ePUB, PDF, and .mobi format before anyone else gets it, voting rights, and still save 20% on the retail price.

    4 claimed
    Estimated delivery: December 2013
  • $15USD
    Read the Fine Print: EARLY

    Special price for the first 50 backers only! This will sell out FAST! Save about 25% on the paperback, plus get the eBook and voting rights for free! Add $10 for Expedited International Shipping.

    2 out of 50 claimed
    Estimated delivery: December 2013
  • $17USD
    The Hard Facts: EARLY

    Special price for the first 50 backers only! This will sell out FAST! Save over 30% on the hard cover, plus get the eBook and voting rights for free! Add $10 for Expedited International Shipping.

    4 out of 50 claimed
    Estimated delivery: December 2013
  • $20USD
    Read the Fine Print

    Get everything in the eBook package, plus 1 copy of the paperback book before anyone else gets it. Add $10 for Expedited International Shipping.

    0 claimed
    Estimated delivery: December 2013
  • $25USD
    The Hard Facts

    Get everything in the eBook package, plus 1 copy of the hardcover book before anyone else gets it. Add $10 for Expedited International Shipping.

    6 claimed
    Estimated delivery: December 2013
  • $50USD
    Sign on the Dotted Line

    Get everything in the eBook package, plus 1 signed copy of the hardcover book and a mention in the "Thanks" section. Includes international shipping, as I'll be signing them while I'm abroad.

    15 out of 50 claimed
    Estimated delivery: January 2014
  • $100USD
    The Magnanimous Boss

    Want your friends, family, or employees to reap the benefits of the MBA toolkit, too? Get everything in the eBook package, plus 5 copies of the hardcover book before anyone else gets it. You pay for 4, and the 5th one is free. You'll also make it into the special "Thanks" section and get sneak-peaks of the chapters as they're completed. Add $30 for Expedited International Shipping if outside USA.

    1 claimed
    Estimated delivery: December 2013
  • $200USD
    Let's Talk Shop: Skype Call

    Dive into some of the challenges you're facing in your business with Jonathan during this 1 hour Skype call. He'll introduce you to the applicable MBA concepts, working towards a solution. You'll receive a copy of the hardcover, the eBook, a mention in the "Thanks" section, and of course, voting rights! Add $10 for Expedited International Shipping if outside USA.

    0 out of 10 claimed
    Estimated delivery: December 2013
  • $350USD
    Be a Case Study + 10 Copies

    Be written into one of the case studies of the book! I'll use a modified example from YOUR business (which we'll work through together on Skype) to help readers understand an MBA concept. You'll also get an *extra* special "Thanks" in the inside cover of the book. As part of the package, you'll of course get the eBook, as well as 10 copies of the hardcover book. You'll even get sneak-peaks of chapters as they're completed! Add $50 for Expedited International Shipping if outside USA.

    0 out of 20 claimed
    Estimated delivery: December 2013
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