Case Study: The MBA Academy

How does a one-man brand create (and sustain!) a community? That’s the question Rupert at The MBA Academy had.

The MBA Academy has forged its powerful presence via word-of-mouth, working for 15 years to provide businesses with mini MBA courses to empower their employees and supercharge their capabilities. When it came to turning this product public-facing, for individuals wanting to add a mini MBA to their profile, Rupert had already had feedback from alumni who wanted more connection with their peers, to meet and share their work. But what was the first step? What did hosting a community look like? How do solopreneurs manage it with everything else on their plate? He needed an expert.

He found me (thank you social media and past me for taking time to share about my love of communities) and we got to work.

First things first, we took a deep dive into The MBA Academy mission, values and audience. During the discovery phase, we explored:

  • What are the main aims of the community?
  • Who is the community for?
  • Why would these people join the community?
  • What does your pricing/membership look like?
  • Who are your competitors?


But maybe the most crucial question to answer in discovery: How do we make this sustainable?

As a one-man operation, it was crucial that any community strategy was created with time and energy availability in mind. A maximum impact, minimum resources approach to create an independent community. It would be the difference between success — a highly engaged community of advocates for the product — and just ‘something else to worry about’.

This big question prompted the next phase: research into and recommendations for the best digital platforms to host and power the community. We settled on Circle, which offered the ability to integrate into the website in future.

Then, we looked at where: where do future community members hang out? What do they read or listen to? Which events do they attend? Which competitors are they considering? Community starts elsewhere, so a PR plan to spread the word and build Rupert’s personal brand was key to kickstart membership.

With a robust plan and platform in place, it was time to dig into the community journey and experience. Following the unique requirements I’d defined for Rupert and The MBA Academy, I advised on why and how to design the community architecture and engagement strategy, including Onboarding Documents, Content Plans and Community Guidelines (a non-negotiable for online communities, especially those that need to self-moderate to some degree).

The MBA Academy now has a detailed, bespoke blueprint of its community to enhance the experience and opportunities for its future business leaders and entrepreneurs.

Want to fuel your business growth with connection and community, but don’t know how or where to start? Let’s chat.