Monday, February 23, 2009

Late Stage MBA Application Process-Josh Moritz -part 4

After selling DMTG in 1999 and working for a couple of years with Earle Palmer Brown, I started another agency partnership with David Klang and Peter Blau called Customer Growth. At the time I was also teaching various online and off-line interactive marketing courses at the New York University School of Continuing and Professional Studies.

During the start-up phase of the agency, I started investigating several executive MBA programs in the New York area: NYU both the domestic and international program, Columbia, Baruch, UCONN. I also looked at a programs at the New School (a masters program that was more like a mixture of business and public policy) at McGill in Toronto, Babson and even Northwestern. I dropped the idea again when all of sudden we had 5 accounts towards the end of 2002 and just was too busy to even think about school. There were too many things to do.

I also dropped out of teaching. As I was leaving the Masters program at NYU, my supervisor also said that I should really think about getting my MBA since if I ever wanted to pursue life as a part-time college professor on the Masters level, that I would need the degree. While the commment made me pause, I was not motivated enough to think about teaching quite yet since I was pursuing business as a career and not teaching. It was again something to file away for the future.

Customer Growth was very well positioned for the types of clients that we took on: financial services, insurance and software arenas, traditional heavy users of direct mail and email. For a longtime it was a great system. As clients left one company and moved to another, we moved with them and kept our curent customers as well. We were concerned though that we were pigioned holed as the direct mail guys, and despite proposals to build web sites, utlize web analytics, banners, pop-ups, PPC, SMS Text, Blogging, PR, trade shows, advertising, outdoor, dancing emails, social networking, databases, lists, even twitters, we were always precieved as the direct mail guys.

Our clients loved our work but said that they had a slew of online specialists and that we needed to stick to our knitting.

The problem was defining what was the knitting. To us it was interactive marketing which encompassed a slew of media, to them it was direct mail and maybe email.

It wasn't helping that I just finished two book like reports on the credit card industry or that I was pulling together the interactive boot camp held at the Direct Marketing Association each year. Or acting as a CMO for start-ups where I really did use all forms of interactive, advetising, branding, outdoor, PR, telemarketing, CRM to sell and service all sorts of stuff.

I was beginning to think it was time to rename the agency to Dinosaur Direct.

I can't change my age and I am not about to dye my hair -- something about a 54 year old with those strange redish brown dews just don't seem very natural. Works for my wife, not for me.

But one can change the way one thinks, what they know and who they know. After working many years with NYU SCPS, I knew that education can turbo charge the brain cells and the netowrk.

I thought about getting a graduate certificate in social networking, bogging, SEO, but realized that all of this could come and go.

What I wanted was a new network and a degree that could lead in new areas. I was also facinated by the legalized piracy going on Wall Street (my Babson finance professor disagrees with my analysis) and I had no real understanding of finance, operations research, or international marketing.

I also think doing something counter-intuitive to the norm can be a game changer; and it can impress propects, clients and people in general for that critcal extra 5 seconds it takes to make a relationship or to get in the door. (Amazingly, there are quite of few people in their 50's at the Babson Fast Track program who must be thinking in the same way -- so much for being truely unique.)

Let's not also forget that what you learn can make you a better marketer, consultant or general manager helping your company and clients grow.

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