Yet, gaining his MBA credentials has enabled him to go from success to success. Having just graduated from business school in 2023, James has since gained his real estate license in pursuit of building the company’s real estate arm.
We caught up with the successful MBA entrepreneur to hear how business school expanded his horizons, and sought his honest advice about whether he’d recommend an MBA to fellow entrepreneurs.
Choosing a business school with an entrepreneurial spirit
When James set his sights on pursuing an MBA, he knew he wasn’t going to attend just any business school.
“I wanted to understand corporate America, but I also wanted a business school that valued entrepreneurship,” he says.
His research led him to an MBA at Arizona State University (ASU) W. P. Carey School of Business.
ASU has ranked as the most innovative university in the US for nine years, according to the US News Report.
“I was interested in gaining project management skills that I could apply to my business, marketing, and strategy,” he says.
Although he had started to form his business venture before joining the Arizona State University MBA, it wasn’t yet fully established.
“I was in search of a better idea of proper business procedures and how to use agile methodology to handle multiple projects,” he says.
Customizing the MBA experience
One aspect that drew James to the Arizona State University MBA was that it wasn’t specifically targeted to a particular sector. The degree gave him the freedom to customize his MBA journey to his interests in supply chain management and real estate development.
The STEM-designated MBA also offered concentrations in areas such as artificial intelligence, entrepreneurship, supply chain management, and marketing.
But it was a course in real estate development that enhanced his understanding of financing and planning, which would inform the direction for his startup.
During the Arizona State University MBA, James identified a gap in the market for a fintech platform that provided operations for flea markets in the US, having noticed that the operation system for such markets hadn’t been updated since the 1980s.
“There was a much-needed next step, which WeingoWorks could make,” he says. As well as the co-founder, James is now the CEO and president of the startup.
This wasn’t the only benefit of his 21-month MBA in Arizona, though. He also thrived at being able to work in teams on various practical projects.
One of his standout moments was during the second year of the ASU MBA. During a capstone course, James worked with Virgin Galactic in a hands-on supply chain project.
“There’s so many partners for you to choose from,” he says, adding that his classmates worked with top companies such as Shamrock and Sysco.
Using the MBA to grow an innovative startup
James graduated from the MBA program with a diverse set of skills.
“I transitioned from undertaking tasks ad hoc, to having an understanding of project management and systems,” he says.
This has helped him grow his startup as he’s been learning how to get involved in land acquisition while acquiring a flea market that was originally the ground zero site for the venture.
“The experiences [from my MBA] have helped me to apply all of my knowledge to drive real-world results,” he says.
Additionally, from connecting with academic faculty during his time in the MBA in Arizona, he’s built a strong contact base of experts.
When seeking advice about how to transition the flea market to the next stage, James reached out to one of his professors at ASU. He received valuable advice that gave him the confidence to proceed with the move.
Entrepreneurs are often attracted to the bright lights of business school in hopes of strengthening their ventures or ideas. Yet James offers some valuable advice as to whether he would recommend his MBA to fellow entrepreneurs.
“If you’re just starting out in your entrepreneurship duties, be aware that an MBA is going to take up a lot of your time,” he advises.
For entrepreneurs who are more advanced in their venture creation, as James was, he believes the MBA couldn’t have been a better decision.
“If you’re wanting to understand how to lead finance or marketing to a professional level, it’s crucial to get that formal education,” he concludes.
W. P. Carey School of Business - Arizona State University
Hands on Experience, labs
I love that that this school is known all over the world and the education is of high quality. It's been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as No. 1 for best online bachelor's in business programs
Amazing Start to Your Career in Social Sciences
I had a great experience at ASU as a Political Science student. ASU is one of the biggest universities in the U.S., offering a wide range of studies. The student body was diverse and overall great to study with. ASU is rich in both academics and student life. There are many clubs, student organizations, amenities, and activities you can join. One thing I would recommend is invest in a lot of sunscreen and good walking shoes. Due to it's large campus you'll be doing a lot of walking which is great but can be a bit of a struggle during the very hot summer months.
Great MSW program!
Arizona State University has an amazing online Master of Social Work Program. Even though it was an online program, I feel that I developed great connections with professors, co-instructors, and peers. Finding an internship placement was stress free because of the high level of support the program offered. I would definitely choose to go back to ASU if I decided to further my education in future.
Long lasting friendships
I have been able to have incredible experiences and make connections that will live long in my memory. I've had the chance to start my career here in a way I never thought I would. I love how the university lets you choose your major and minor and take classes with a lot of freedom.
Opinion Arizona State University has many great opportunities available to students. All of the departments are very helpful and really care about student's succeeding. What's there to like? One think I like about ASU is their Education program. They really ensure that students will receive useful information that is directly applicable to their career. One thing I dislike is, nothing! It is a high ranking university but one notable thing is that the school is located in Arizona; where temperatures reach well over 100° throughout the entire Summer. Would I reccomend ASU? I would certainly reccomend Arizona State University for any students who are looking to learn and gain meaningful experiences throughout finishing school.
Arizona State University
ASU is a wonderful university with so many educational opportunities. Its professors are friendly and approachable and were always willing to help or give advice to students whenever their help was needed. It also provided students with many opportunities to meet people outside the classroom for example clubs and other social events hosted within the university. ASU offers great education and I loved the campus and faculty
The amazing features about Arizona State University would not allow me to write less when it comes to recommending the second to none university to the public! Life on Arizona State University campus is an intriguing possibility! Here is where dreams are realized due to the immense support from lecturers academically as well as fascinating large lecture halls with modernized appliance that makes learning easier. Goals are realized with ease as students who need support are given chances
The university offers a lot of options for students, particularly in terms of integration and extracurricular activities including involvement in several student organizations. However, I am dissatisfied with the quality of the information offered and the degree of practice skills needed for success in a professional position. Fantastic university location