When Class Notes Pay Off

PROVO, Utah – Apr 09, 2019 – While many students are tempted to toss away class notes at the end of a school year, BYU MBA alum Jason Barron kept his and is actually making a profit from them.

Earlier in his education, Barron had begun taking notes in a different way. Instead of frantically writing lecture notes, he drew key concepts during class, a form of notetaking called “sketchnoting.” Barron first heard about sketchnoting from a work friend, and when he tried it out, he noticed his ability to remember the information was better. He decided to pursue the notetaking art by practicing while in meetings and attending various conferences. When he started the MBA program, Barron decided to further apply the acquired technique.

“I was pursuing an MBA and realized that, as far as I knew, no one had tried sketchnoting an entire MBA class,” Barron says. “I thought it was worth trying.”

After receiving positive feedback from family members and classmates, Barron decided to compile his visual notes into a book, The Visual MBA, which he completed in fall 2017, just after graduating from BYU. Barron planned to create the book for fellow classmates and the incoming MBA class at the time. To cover editing and printing costs, he started a Kickstarter campaign requesting $7,000.

In twenty-eight days, the campaign raised more than $70,000, with donations from about forty countries. Initially nervous about how the book would be received, Barron has been amazed at the responses from readers around the world. “My kids got to see this book going to Japan and Saudi Arabia,” Barron says. “All the reviews that came back were positive. For me, that was super satisfying."

After seeing the success of the book, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt contracted publishing rights for the highly visual volume, which is slated to be released in the United States this April. Other publishers abroad have also taken an interest in pursuing the rights to translate and publish the book.

Barron remembers a time when he felt like giving up on the project altogether. As a father of five, he had to balance time amid the MBA program, compiling the book, and caring for his family. “It was a big challenge,” Barron says. “More than once I thought, ‘I can’t accomplish this. No one will like it. It will be too much work.’” The reassuring words of his wife, Jackie, and a strong support system helped Barron push through moments of struggle and to complete the endeavor.

A creative mind-set and the knowledge he gained from the MBA program continue to help Barron’s career goals today. “I think the ability to think outside the box and do things differently is critical,” he says. Thinking creatively helped him as a founding partner of a startup and currently as senior manager in the Communication Services department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

The lessons learned have also helped him in other aspects of his life. “This entire experience—earning my MBA and the process of publishing the book—has helped me in my Church calling and as a father,” say Barron. “I can think more broadly and find a better way to do things. The whole experience has been a huge blessing to me.”

Jason Barron with his book
Jason Barron with his book, The Visual MBA, a compilation of drawn concepts he learned as a student of the BYU MBA program.

Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Brittany Salinas