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How an ASB MBA will Transform You into a Seasoned Entrepreneur

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Regardless of whether you’re a C-suite executive at a multinational company or an aspiring tech founder, everyone can benefit from thinking like an entrepreneur. Matthew Osofisan, for example, happens to be one of those people.

On behalf of Poets & Quants’ premiere CentreCourt MBA Festival, Asia School of Business (ASB) alumni, Matt, shared about his entrepreneurship journey and how a modern MBA program was an essential puzzle piece to his success. If you’ve always asked yourself the question “Is entrepreneurship taught or are you born with it?”, Matt is living proof that a combination of both answers is possible.

From Student Business Awards to Raising $11 Million

“I’ve always had entrepreneurship in my background. My father was an entrepreneur, and my mother was a homeroom teacher and a real estate agent as well,” he says. Hailing from the city of Providence, Rhode Island, this was perhaps the catalyst that has led Matt to pursue an entrepreneurship and marketing undergraduate degree at Northeastern University, which allowed him to get serious about his passions.

“While I was in Northeastern, I actually started my first business there. It was a clothing and retail company,” he adds. During his time there, Matt and his team won the “Best Business on Campus” award several times. Their business went on to raise $25,000 from the program in total. “I ran that business for up to 5 years in Boston.” He continues, “We opened 3 stores in Boston in that time period, and that was really where I could sharpen my teeth in terms of my ability to build a business.”

However, in 2013, Matt and his business partner amicably decided that it was time to take on different ventures, separately. Matt’s next chapter? To explore another area, he was passionate about: the tech industry. “Before my MBA, I co-founded a company called Jobble,” Matt elaborates. Jobble was an online marketplace for temporary work, similar to an “Uber for marketers”.

Here, Matt and his team went on to develop a solution for companies to hire individuals to help with marketing a specific event or campaign. Today, Jobble connects more than 60 million gig workers looking for jobs with brands across the United States. Under Matt and his team’s guidance, Jobble managed to raise $11 million USD in July 2019.

Taking Things to the Next Level at ASB

Matt’s journey didn’t stop with his early entrepreneurial success. Eager for a new challenge, he began to look beyond the US. “I tried applying for jobs across Europe and Africa. At the time, Asia felt a bit too far,” Matt starts. So how did business school come to be on Matt’s agenda? Typically, an MBA is viewed as a pre-requisite for those who wish to become C-suite level bankers, consultants, engineers, or directors… but not for entrepreneurs.

ASB came into the picture when Matt heard about the school from one of his mentors at MIT. At that time, even though ASB’s MBA program was still being developed, he decided to take the leap and apply to be part of the inaugural class. As the dominoes fell into place, Matt’s application was approved — and he found himself on a one-way plane ticket, heading to Kuala Lumpur to start an exciting new chapter.

“Southeast Asia is a tremendous hub and gateway to the rest of Asia,” Matt emphasizes. “I imagine there’s nothing else like it,” Matt states when asked about his experience over at ASB. “In terms of what I was looking for, such as exposure to a lot of new modules and tools, this was perfect.”

Matt talks about ASB’s effective module-based learning, which involves intense, accelerated weeks where MIT Sloan professors would fly down to Kuala Lumpur to teach a full semester’s worth of class, compressed into just a few weeks. During other weeks, students are onsite at real-world companies and/or start-ups, putting the tools they have just learnt into practice.

Learning in Action at the Forefront of the Emerging World

For Matt, it was this Action Learning curriculum that was undoubtedly the highlight of his ASB MBA experience. ASB’s Action Learning curriculum project is an immersive and rigorous module that allows students to experience working with corporate, start-up, government and NGO hosts to join them on-site with selected projects.

As Matt explains, “Most of the time, you’re actually out in the field, in the real world, in whichever country across Southeast Asia, multiple countries at times working for real companies, trying to solve real challenges that they’re facing.” “I can’t overemphasize the amount of learning that comes from [the experience], especially for me as an American, my culture, and my learning styles are very different.”

“Working with people from different cultures really allowed me to build empathy in ways I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise. It really stretched me, and forced me to confront things I was really bad at or things I needed to build in order to grow.” His advice for those trying to figure out if ASB is the right fit for them:

“If you took a traditional MBA, you might not be exposed to that type of environment. If you’re looking for an unconventional MBA, or if you’re looking to challenge yourself, and expose yourself to new people and environments while also handling the same (educational) rigor as MIT Sloan — this might be the program for you.” To see the full version of Poets & Quants interview with Matt, watch this video below: