Thursday, February 19, 2009

Late Stage MBA - Josh Moritz-Part 3

I gave the MBA concept another half hearted try in the early 1980s but gave it up when I realized that many contemporaries with MBA's were no more successful than me within the advetising community. I also began to realize that what drove the ad business was new business and ideas, and MBA trained people did not do it better than anyone else. The only place it seemed to make a difference were those people who went back and moved into finance, usually M&A, private equity, etc. There was just no compelling reason for a mid- to -late 20's dude hanging out and having fun to go to school unless I was interested in a career change. I was working, exercising and floozing around with no responsibilities, making adequate money, living in a very cheap co-op on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

The apartment was so cheap that I had more than enough money to do whatever I wanted to and save about 20% of income per year. Living there was also a return to the Shtettle where I began my life. M grandmother bothered the housing office for four to make sure that when my name came up, they were going to find me and offer me an apartment. See, these were non-profit Co-ops, set up under some strange NY State law that said you could only buy and sell the apartments through the housing office. The prices were frozen at the 1959 price, so in 1981, I paid a grand total of $1500 for a 1 bedroom apartment, overlooking the East River with a huge balcony. My monthly cost was about $250 per month, which topped out over 7 years to about $400 per month. Grandma was really happy that I was in the neighborhood. She asked for a key to the apartment so she could stuff the freezer with all sorts of food that would make the manufacturers of Lipotor salivate. Because of privacy I declined her offer, gave the key to my neighbor Faye instead. I was living fat and happy. Really low rent meant that corporate ambition could be deferred, being a floozy could continue.

Fast forward 20 years; by this point I have not only married, but I have three kids, my wife and I have sold our first advertisng agency. As any entrepreneur knows, getting to the point where you have a company big enough to sell is not easy, lots of potholes along the way, near death experiences and salvations. Fun stuff. While I enjoyed my time at the agency that acquired us, I also knew that in my early 40's it was time to move on. During that time, one of things that I did was teach at NYU in the direct marketing certificate and master's program. While that too was fun, I realized that the life of adjunct was very limiting and not monetarily rewarding. Without a master's I was not going anywhere fast in this type of track.

Although I had been a general manager at an ad agency before starting mine, I realized that if I were to change careers, I would have to seriously think about a graduate degree. I also realized that all my training was in marketing; I had no real experience in finance, operations and my negotiating skills were limited. So I had to broaden my experience and broaden my knowledge.

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