Stanford GSB | Mr. Army Engineer
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Chicago Booth | Mr. Healthcare PM
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Harvard | Mr. African Energy
GMAT 750, GPA 3.4
Columbia | Mr. Energy Italian
GMAT 700, GPA 3.5
UCLA Anderson | Mr. SME Consulting
GMAT 740, GPA 3.55 (as per WES paid service)
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Quality Assurance
GMAT 770, GPA 3.6
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Salesman
GMAT 700, GPA 3.0
Chicago Booth | Ms. Indian Banker
GMAT 740, GPA 9.18/10
INSEAD | Mr. INSEAD Aspirant
GRE 322, GPA 3.5
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Army Aviator
GRE 314, GPA 3.8
Kellogg | Ms. Big4 M&A
GMAT 740, GPA 3.7
Harvard | Mr. Renewables Athlete
GMAT 710 (1st take), GPA 3.63
Harvard | Mr. Healthcare PE
GRE 340, GPA 3.5
Harvard | Mr. Military Quant
GMAT 730, GPA 3.6
Wharton | Mr. Future Non-Profit
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Kellogg | Mr. Concrete Angel
GRE 318, GPA 3.33
Kellogg | Mr. Maximum Impact
GMAT Waiver, GPA 3.77
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GMAT 730, GPA 3.6
Kellogg | Ms. Sustainable Development
GRE N/A, GPA 3.4
Chicago Booth | Mr. Unilever To MBB
GRE 308, GPA 3.8
Harvard | Ms. Female Sales Leader
GMAT 740 (target), GPA 3.45
Tuck | Mr. Liberal Arts Military
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Harvard | Ms. Gay Techie
GRE 332, GPA 3.88
INSEAD | Mr. Product Manager
GMAT 740, GPA 63%

Want To Become A Business Leader? Learn Accounting

How To Get An MBA-Level Education—For Free

Getting an MBA is more expensive than ever.

But that’s not to say that you can’t learn MBA fundamentals for free.

In a new article featured on Forbes, Joe Fairless — host of the world’s longest running daily real estate podcast: Invest With Joe — discusses how people can get an MBA-level education for free and even possibly get paid while doing it.

MBAs Are More Expensive Than Ever

A recent Investopedia article finds that higher education costs in the U.S. have outgrown the rate of inflation. That’s especially relevant for MBAs who go to private schools, where average debt and expenses can cost between $100,000 – $200,000 in just over a two-year period.

According to a ThoughtCo article, the average annual MBA tuition costs more than $60,000, while a top b-school’s tuition can be more than $100,000.

Last year, we reported that nine b-schools broke the $200K total cost barrier.

The Thought Leadership Platform

The truth of the matter is the MBA isn’t getting any cheaper. And that’s exactly why Fairless advises aspiring MBAs to learn as much as they can outside the classroom.

He calls it learning through a thought leadership platform.

“A thought leadership platform is an online networking tool where you produce valuable content about a specific business niche and share it with the world,” Fairless explains. “Typically, an entrepreneur creates a thought leadership platform in order to build a reputable brand and/or promote their business.”

But for aspiring MBAs, the thought leadership platform can be applied to gaining an MBA-level education.

“The same thought leadership platform can be used to curate a customized educational program while also allowing you to network with business professionals who are currently working in the industry you want to enter,” he writes. “All of this can occur without having to go into debt — or even while collecting a paycheck.”

Fairless says there are a number of platforms out there for aspiring MBAs to utilize from podcasts to YouTube channels and blogs.

“Regardless of which option you pursue, I would recommend having the platform be interview-based,” he writes. “That means you conduct interviews with business professionals who are currently working in your desired industry.”

Benefits Of Thought Leadership Platform

So, what benefits does a thought leadership platform have over a traditional MBA education? Quite a few, Fairless argues.

For one, a thought leadership platform allows students to build relationships with active professionals in the industry.

“For example, instead of going to business school for two years and sitting in a classroom, you could conduct one interview a week for two years with people who are active and already successful in the real world,” he writes. “That’s over 100 conversations or ‘lessons.’ Or you can do what I do, which is to conduct daily interviews. That’s over 700 ‘lessons’ in two years as well as over 700 networking opportunities to find a potential employer or business partner.”

The second benefit is obvious. All of these interviews can be done without spending a dime. In fact, Fairless argues, you might even make some money.

“If you decide to create a podcast, you only need a laptop and a microphone to get started — or for the most economical approach, all you need is a smartphone,” he writes. “Additionally, once you’ve built a large enough following, it provides you with the opportunity to make money through paid sponsorships.”

Having a thought leadership platform can help to position you as an expert in the industry—an extremely useful asset when you seek out business opportunities.

“You can become known as the go-to resource for the best information and strategies for a specific industry,” he writes. “As your audience and reputation grow, you’ll attract better, more successful guests, which in turn can increase your audience, reputation and quality of business opportunities.”

For Fairless, who doesn’t have an MBA, the thought leadership platform avenue has paid off quite well.

“As a direct result of the education I’ve received and relationships I’ve formed, I’ve gone from making $30,000 a year at a New York advertising company to controlling $300 million in apartment communities, as well as earning revenue from podcast sponsorships,” he writes. “That’s the power of a thought leadership platform.”

Learn more about Joe Fairless from his podcast, Invest With Joe.

Sources: Forbes, Invest With Joe, ThoughtCo, Investopedia, Poets & Quants