Wow. The last actual class of my MBA program is in two weeks. Graduation is another two weeks after that.
What a ride. To be sure, it’s a ride that I’m ready to get off of, now. But it has been a very valuable and enriching experience. Enriching, yes, but also exhausting.
In some ways it’s a surprise to be here. I don’t fit the typical model of an MBA student. I’m a creative. I’m a writer. I’m a fantasy and speculative fiction writer. I’ve done no formal polling, but I imagine you can count on one hand the number of successful fantasy and speculative fiction writers with MBAs. You could probably have lost a few of your fingers in some horrible accident and still have enough to count the number of successful fantasy and speculative fiction writers with an MBA from one of the top business schools in the country.
Which is to say, the business field is not one that typically draws people like me who have such a creative bent and focus that creative energy on the production of fantasy fiction. Let’s face it, there are certain stereotypes we’re dealing with here: MBAs are understood to be cold, calculating, detached, and overly concerned about money and the bottom-line; they have little or no compassion, don’t interact well with other people, and any factory floor worker could do their job as good or better than they without a fancy degree. They probably afflicted with some sociopathic tendencies. Creatives, meanwhile, are flaky, flighty and undisciplined; they lack the mechanisms to comprehend the importance of financial matters, are unable to deal with numbers larger than roughly around 20, and are prone to erratic and sometimes self-destructive behavior. They are probably afflicted with bipolar disorder, OCD, or are addicted to mind-altering drugs. It goes without saying that both of these stereotypes are excessively and bizarrely unrealistic portrayals of either group. And that as perhaps an amusing study in contrasts I am a member of both groups.
Even rejecting these two extremes, I still have some trouble, sometimes, reconciling the duality of my nature, with regard to being a writer in pursuit of an MBA and a business career while simultaneously in pursuit of a successful writing career. Because, though the difference between the two worlds is not so extreme as the sad stereotypes might suggest, the two worlds are different.
When I started my collegiate education more than a decade ago now, I chose to get my bachelor’s in business for a simple reason. It was because I wanted to be a writer. Continue reading