The Daily Show for MBAs

The blog was used to open source the creation of the show. Before taping, they jotted down script ideas and topics for comment. After each show, they often wrote brutal critiques. One early self-review noted that “The content was weak….too much about us….we are not interesting….we need to treat every viewer as if it’s their first time watching…there is no such thing as too much energy.”

Little by little, the shows got better. So did the production values.

Suddenly, they were getting recognition from fellow students and faculty. Fans from around the world began to “like” the show on Facebook. Some classmates even recite lines heard on the show as if they were from a Monty Python movie. “Everyone knows us at school now, including the first year class, even though we don’t interact with them,” says Rose. “The feedback is overwhelmingly positive.” Rose estimates that current MBA students in the U.S. represent 70% of the audience, with at least another 10% from overseas in Asia and Europe. Adds Kazakoff: “Even though you see the show looking more serious, it was always a goofy, fun thing. Yet we started with the commitment to try to make it better every time.”

And even the jokes got better. When a ranking of Executive MBA programs named Wharton’s pricey $150,000 EMBA the best, they really went to town. “The only regret I have is that I just don’t feel I’m paying enough money for my MBA,” quipped Rose. “When I go to business school, I want to get that penniless, wallet-draining, soul-emptying sense of debt.” Advised Kazakoff, without missing a beat, “If you have a job right now and you’re thinking you want to spend cash as fast as you can and spend no time at all with your family, the Executive MBA is for you and all it’s going to cost you is $150,000.”

Each ten-minute episode takes six to seven hours of work—prepping for the episode, filming, fiddling with production on Final Cut Pro, and then posting on the Internet. The production values are much higher now. The pair sit in front of a red curtain taped to the cafeteria wall. They’re behind a gray table and an oversized 1950s style radio microphone. Now there are a set of lights, a boom mike and a video camera on a tripod to film the show.

Were they ever worried that the silly show could hurt their chances for a six-figure MBA job? “Before we started making the show, we said that we wouldn’t want to work for a company that didn’t think the show was cool,” says Kazakoff. “And trust me, no company would want us working for them if they didn’t think it is a good idea.” As it turns out, both Rose and Kazakoff decided not to interview for the mainstream MBA jobs, anyway. They’re planning to launch a new business together when they graduate in June.

Of course, they may have another alternative. “If this business thing doesn’t work out,” says MIT lecturer Anderson, “stand up is always an option.”

About the Author...

John A. Byrne

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.