If an MBA is about business and good business is about values driven leadership and such leadership comes from within, it makes perfect sense to create an Inner MBA. The worlds first Inner MBA program was launched in 2020, more than 100 years after Harvard established the first MBA program in 1908, based on scientific management. Fifty years later the first Masters in Business Administration (MBA) was offered outside the USA. Prior to this other countries preferred people to learn business on the job.
The Wisdom of Leadership
Today the MBA degree has been adopted by universities worldwide in both developed and developing countries. Traditionally, first year students acquire both a working knowledge of management functions and the analytical skills required for these, and then specialise in the second year. The degree culminates with coursework in business strategy. Executive MBA programs emphasise leadership. This suggests leadership as a specialised area of focus rather than central to all programs.
It's interesting to note the scientific basis of the first MBA program. Placing the intellect as superior, after centuries of scientific revolution emphasised the pursuit and application of knowledge and understanding based on evidence. In contrast, an Inner MBA suggests a more intangible knowledge connected to the wisdom of the soul. Ken Wilber distinguishes between relative truth, the changing phenomena of experience and the laws of science, and ultimate truth, the unchanging truth, that transcends all concepts and is synonymous with the wisdom of the Great Traditions. The Inner MBA focuses on inner development and also teaches practical skills such as marketing.
The Role of Mindfulness
I imagine programs such as Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) developed in the 1970s by Jon Kabat-Zinn have highlighted the benefit of soft skills in business and this has influenced the development of MBA programs. Although devised as a secular training, MBSR applies ancient spiritual wisdom to the stress and pain of modern day living. A widely researched form of healing from within, it helped meditation become mainstream in health, education and business.
These developments in consciousness shine a light on the insanity of humanity destroying its own habitat and the materialism of capitalism driving business far from its original purpose as a force for good. With the world tipping ever more out of balance, its only natural other forces will come into play through the wisdom of Gaia. The B-Corp movement, established in 2006 is one such example. It expands the focus of business and includes the social and environmental performance to balance profit and purpose. There are currently over 3,500 Certified B Corporations in more than 70 countries forming a community of leaders driving a global movement of ethical business.
Business as a Force for Good
Faculty on the Inner MBA program includes socially conscious CEO's such as Rose Marcario, former CEO of Patagonia, the outdoors company named a UN Champion of the Earth in 2019. The first California company to sign up for B certification in 2012, it made the bold move to impose an earth tax on itself. Since 1985, the company has donated over $89 million to environmental work.
The Inner MBA is certified by Mindful NYU, the largest campus based mindfulness initiative in the US. The award-winning meditation and contemplative life program cultivates inner wisdom, compassion, and well-being with a commitment to offering inclusive and transformative experiences based in love, community and healing. I believe this program plays a key role in our evolution, without which we may perish on the planet. The three trimesters move through mindful leadership (with a focus on self awareness), exceptional teamwork (bringing out the best in others) and transforming our organisations (strategies that promote positive change).
Course Objectives include:
- Deeper understanding of self-awareness from a mindfulness perspective, weaving in the latest findings on neuro-science
- Becoming familiar with strategies of self-management for personal leadership and organisational success
- Exploring emotional intelligence for self improvement and enhanced inter-personal communication
- Learning the skills to navigate difficult conversations and use conflict as a team building opportunity
- Interrogating former methods of dealing with diversity and inclusion and instil radically inclusive forms of social harmony
- Building authentic workplace community for creativity and growth
- Leading in times of disruption and pioneering the solutions to the crises of our times
- Investigating ways in which the knowledge from the Inner MBA can be applied for personal, inter-personal and organisational progress
When a friend first mentioned the Inner MBA, I immediately felt called, even though I knew I'd be adding considerably to my commitments. It blended my entrepreneurial spirit with my abiding interest in spirituality, and offered a framework to weave conscious business with holistic values. After following an eclectic path in life I wanted to gain an academic qualification that would complement the professional coaching. Together it forms a multi-dimensional approach to the core intention - helping us flourish from within with positive ripples in the world around us.
- Tags: Inner MBA, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Leadership, Mindful NYU, Mindfulness, Mindfulness-based stress reduction