In 2006, Ben Munoz suffered a life-threatening brain hemorrhage caused by a rare disease. He created an online support community so that he could connect with other patients. Due to this rare disease, Ben missed part of his 2nd year, but still earned his degree. Since then he, along with a classmate started a social enterprise that helps rare disease patients. Ben also completed a postbac, took his GMAT, and start medical school this fall. We speak to him about his experiences.
What are the unexpected things you’ve learnt about yourself along the way?
The most unexpected thing I learned along the way is that the fundamental business skills I learned in business school are based on universal principles that are applicable in many industries. My marketing skills are applicable as I help a friend run for political office here in Austin, TX. My operations skills are applicable in running my social enterprise, BensFriends.org. My general management and strategy skills will one day be applicable as I work alongside others to transform healthcare in America. One can earn an MBA and apply those skills outside the traditional MBA industries such as finance, CP&G, and consulting.
What is the one thing you wished you had known before embarking on you MBA journey?
I wished that pursuing an alternative career path was a realistic possibility. Then I would have avoided being distracted by conventional recruiters coming to campus and would have pursued my own path earlier.
What was your main reason/objective for starting your MBA…? Did this direction change over the course of your journey?
I wanted to explore new career paths and align my passions with my career. This direction changed drastically, but it’s all coming together well. Here’s my story.
If you wrote a book about your MBA experience what would it be called?
Follow Your Passion, Design Your Life.
What, if anything, would you change about your experience? What would make the “perfect MBA” for you?
I would consider an alternative MBA, especially if entrepreneurship is part of your goal. For example, Acton MBA, Seth Godin’s 6 Month MBA. Although the education is so valuable, an MBA is expensive. Ask yourself if there’s a cheaper way to get an MBA and still get the education and also build the same connections.
What’s the one memory that will always stick with you throughout this experience?
Orientation and trips which built the personal connections that will last a lifetime and can’t be replicated through reading/classwork alone.
What is next for you, now that you have graduated?
Medical school and then transformation of the American healthcare system.
BensFriends.org – we build patient support communities for people affected by a rare disease. 30+ patient communities built and 15,000+ members’ lives changed.
To learn more, watch this 60 sec video.