How Star Fleet Academy is Like An MBA

by Larry Chiang on December 11, 2009

Larry Chiang studies leadership. Recently, Harvard Business School featured him in an article controversially titled, What They Don’t Teach You At Stanford Business School“. If you liked 9 VCs You Don’t Want to Meet” and A Dozen B-School Students You Don’t Wanna Meet“, you’ll love this post: “How Star Fleet Academy is Like An MBA”.

Star Trek is out this weekend or this Thursday with TechCrunch

By Larry Chiang

Star Trek is out this weekend. It rocks and will be rated as one of the best movie adaptations of a TV show. Watching it made me think how Star Fleet Academy is just like an MBA.

-1- Your BFF Awaits.

If you’re gonna go where no man has gone before, you’re gonna need a BFF you met at Star Fleet, that is more talented than you are, to get you back home. BFF stands for best friend forever. Kirk needed his Spock because flying by the seat of your pants and constantly flirting with death is demoralizing to the crew.

-2- Getting Recruited In Is An Urban Myth.

I’ve heard stories of secret handshakes and deals done to get someone into B-SCHOOL without ever applying. I chalk most of it up to urban myth.

Star Fleet does not actively “recruit” and neither does Harvard or Stanford.

-3- Book Smarts AND Technical Know-How.

Star Fleet teaches advanced science and technical evaluation techniques. B-school teaches the academic view of how business is war. The best graduates take those book smarts, historical study of O.P.E. (other people’s experiences) and marinate street smarts into their talent mix and academic training.

-4- The Best Professors.

Star Fleet and B-school’s best teachers are the ones who were just out in the field. Star Trek has a bevy of cameos mentoring the next generation. Learning about history and reading case studies are a necessary evil but the best teachings come from visiting profs returning to the classroom. Meeting a mentor during the course of battle is a luxury. Unfortunately, this opportunity is one most snot-nosed GSBers choose to not learn from (especially if the potential mentor is community college flavored).

-5- Cross Training.

Learning about engineering’s warp speed, reactor point of fail and transport physics is best done in a classroom from the technical innovators in the field. Cross training cross pollinates your classroom only skill-set. In b-school, part of the value and a large part of your education happens in a room of peers. Your co-hort mentors had to qualify themselves through multiple stages to get acceptance into Star Fleet academy/MBA School.

-6- Legacy Gets You In, But Won’t Make You a Legend.

Both MBA school and Star Fleet look favorably upon being a legacy. Having a parent as an alum, may help you get admitted but it will not make you a legendary Star Fleet commander. What was your life meant for?! James Tiberious Kirk knew in his soul – and it was not just to eek by and pay off his Star Fleet Academy school loan.

-7- Worst or First.

What do they call the person that graduates dead last at West Point. They call them Officer. I don’t know my point here but I think there is one somewhere.

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Larry’s book releases 09-09-09

This post was cranked out in about an hour so email me if you see a spelling or grammatical error(s)… larry@larrychiang com

Larry Chiang is the founder of Deep Underground Credit Knowledge 9 (Duck9). He is trying to get mentored by Tyrese Gibson in how to be a celebrity.

He has a book coming out called, “What They Don’t Teach You at Business School“. For fun,¬†Larry reads, models and plays basketball. Text or call him during office hours 11:11am or 11:11pm PST +/-11 minutes at 650-283-8008.

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