Welcome to the NEW MBA

A quest to help you become more capable and confident at work

Tom Critchlow
October 3, 2023

Hi, I’m Tom and I’ve spent the last 9 years as an independent consultant. One of the best things about consulting is that you get a peek into so many different work contexts, team structures and working environments.

In almost every company I work with I see the same patterns: people frustrated that their work isn’t having more impact, that they’re not able to convince the executive team to invest in their ideas. At the same time, I see executives frustrated that their teams aren’t able to properly articulate the value of their work and create a business case for their ideas.

This is a failure of leadership, communication and perspective.

A failure of leadership because executives are not creating the environment and sharing the context necessary for their teams to act with agency and autonomy. They lack the tools and leadership to make good decisions.

A failure of communication because individuals and teams don’t know how to communicate clearly and concisely to senior leadership and they don’t know how to build a business case for their work.

A failure of perspective because you have to view a business as an ecosystem to be able to see how your work plays an important role, to be able to advocate for yourself and for your work.

That’s why I’m launching the NEW MBA - to help individuals and organizations think about business in new ways. To help people have more impact and personal agency through learning communication, business and leadership skills.

I’ve spent the last 2.5 years building and refining my Executive Presence course under the SEO MBA brand - a course curriculum to teach executive presence to SEO professionals. Over 500 people have gone through the course, but the open secret… is that the course doesn’t teach you anything about SEO - it’s all about how to expand your influence and impact.

So it’s time to bring the ideas to a wider audience, in a new format.

Ok, but what is the NEW MBA exactly?

The NEW MBA is an education platform - designed to help mid-career and senior leaders become more confident and capable; to work with more impact, influence and agency.

That’s the mission. But to start with, the NEW MBA is a free email newsletter: Join the newsletter here.

I’ll be adding courses and learning experiences very soon, so watch this space!

My aim with the newsletter is to write fresh ideas and perspectives to help you think about things in new ways. It’ll be partly practical and partly provocative.

There are four main themes I’m excited to explore:

1. Seeing Like an Executive

To achieve senior roles and to influence organizations you need to understand what it means to see like an executive. Being an executive provides an odd vantage point - out of time, out of structure - it requires delicate nuance to understand how to use data, how to create strategy and how to communicate ideas. And how do you see like an executive if you’re not yet an executive?

If you like my writing on exec offsites, exec dashboards and narrative strategy then you’ll like this writing.

2. Communication & Influence

Early in our careers we quest for practical skills, but as you get more senior you realize that communication and influence - what I like to call the work around the work is how things get done.

If you like my writing on writing narrative memos, navigating power & status, the theater of work or CEO-level presentations, then you’ll like this writing.

3. Networked Careers

Careers are non-linear and don’t behave in predictable ways. The traditional MBA offers a network to accelerate your career. The internet can offer a similar springboard to accelerate your career.

If you like my writing on permeable organizations, building in public, or working identity, then you’ll like this writing.

4. How Technology Changes Work

Tools like Figma, Replit, chatGPT, and Airtable. They’re changing the texture of work, the tools we bring to bear and how work gets done, who does it, and who has the power to generate and communicate ideas. No longer is design purely for designers, no longer is code purely for engineers.

Motivated, creative individuals now have the tools to build prototypes, communicate ideas, and cross disciplines in interesting ways.

If you like my writing on digital bricolage, the visual revolution in knowledge work and figma thinkers, then you’ll like this writing.

So, who is the NEW MBA for?

The main focus for the NEW MBA is mid-career and senior executives

  • Mid-career managers & ICs who aspire to more impact and autonomy
  • New executives looking to learn how to operate in their new role
  • Executives in transition, wrestling with questions of control and strategic clarity
  • People frustrated at their lack of impact at work
  • Consultants and anyone with “strategy” in their job title

Courses & Consulting Feed Each Other

Watch this space and join the newsletter for news about upcoming courses and cohorts. The first course will be the executive presence course I’ve been refining for the last 2.5 years - I’m planning on some small beta groups to begin with to refine the material and approach.

Meanwhile, I’m still consulting, partly because I love it (yes, I’m one of the few people that actually enjoys client work) and partly because I think it keeps me sharp. I want the writing to come from a place of expertise and personal observation - not simply re-formulating content from others to cover the same topics in dry ways. Hopefully this will keep me fueled with observation and insight for years to come.

What’s Next?

I’m excited for the NEW MBA to reach and help a lot of people, and I’m excited for it to fuel my own research and interest in how we bring our best selves to work. I hope you’ll come on this journey with me and turn your curiosity into a career advantage.



Join the free NEW MBA newsletter