College Grad Opts Out of MBA to Instead Pay Crankset Group $25,000 to Work for Them

Crankset Group will provide a 12-month, rigorous apprenticeship, including meaningful work and a formal syllabus of business fundamentals.

Denver, CO, May 15, 2015 –(– In a move that demonstrates higher education is undergoing a radical transformation, a student has opted to pay an entrepreneur $25,000 to learn from his company for one year instead of getting a traditional MBA. This may be the first time since the end of the apprentice system in the 19th century that someone paid a company to go to work for them.

Phillip Randazzo, a native of Las Vegas, will graduate from Elmhurst College near Chicago in May. Instead of going on to a traditional graduate business school, he has entered into a formal contract with Denver Entrepreneur Chuck Blakeman, to pay $25,000 to work for one of his companies, Crankset Group, for 12 months. Randazzo is the first student to choose Crankset Group’s new Mastery of Business Application program, which encourages students to learn in-the-trenches, directly from a businessperson, instead of from professors.

Randazzo found out about Crankset Group’s program from a radio interview with Blakeman. “I know it sounds crazy, but I had to decide whether it made sense to pay a lot more than $25,000 for an MBA from a traditional college,” he explains. “In the end it seemed to be a lot better investment to spend a year shadowing a real, successful entrepreneur, learning how it’s really done and benefiting from his great network of relationships.”

There is a growing debate on whether higher education is giving students the return on investment that colleges claim. “If you want to learn to start, build and run a business instead of just working in a giant corporation, you’ll have to unlearn most of what an MBA would teach you,” Blakeman says. “The gap between MBA theory and applied business reality has grown so wide that we decided we needed to develop an alternative MBA in the trenches. Our Mastery of Business Application focuses on learning while doing and from those doing it, not those theorizing about it.”

Crankset Group’s MBA is a 12-month, rigorous apprenticeship including meaningful work and a formal syllabus of business fundamentals the apprentice will learn while applying them.

“We’re really just going back where we came from before the Factory System interrupted meaningful work,” Blakeman says. In England, from the 12th through the 19th centuries, families paid a master craftsperson to place a family member under their tutelage. Usually the apprentice worked without wages for the first year or so before being paid. “However, we believe people add value right away, so while our apprentices are learning, they will receive payment for doing meaningful part-time work, either for us or one of our business partners,” he adds.

Crankset Group apprentices will be encouraged to create a permanent position for themselves or figure out how to extend Crankset Group’s business products and services. This could even include creating a new initiative and maybe become the leader of it, including possible ownership.

Crankset Group will offer similar financial terms as traditional MBA programs. If there is any hardship, they will defer payment of the $25,000 apprenticeship fee, with monthly payments beginning six months after the end of the 12-month period, similar to most education loans.

For every ten apprentices that go through the program, Crankset Group intends to take on two without payment. “This won’t be an elitist program,” says Krista Valentine, Chief Relationship Officer at Crankset Group. “We’re in the trenches and we expect to take some kids with a lot of ambition but no means, and help them become entrepreneurs, too. Being able to learn directly from Chuck, other Crankset Group leaders, and our strategic alliance partners is a tremendous alternative to an MBA. And they really can’t put a price on the network of relationships they can build during the program.”

Randazzo’s 12-month apprenticeship starts June 22, but others may join the program for their own customized 12-month rotation. For more information, contact Valentine at 303-669-2349 or Crankset Group is headquartered in Englewood, Colo.
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Crankset Group
Laurie Anderson