MBA syndrome

Disney Concierge team in the 1990's
Disney’s Grand Floridian Concierge Team in the 1990’s. Even 8-10 years into my Disney salaried leadership career, an MBA felt like a legit credential. These days though, i know text-book theories can’t hold a candle to actually running a profitable business.

Actual email exchange today:

Me: Why do you think an MBA is what’s missing? The people who sell MBA’s work hard to exploit insecurities. Discover your insecurities and then pretend you want to slay them as much as an Olympian wants to be on the podium

Them: You’re right on about the sell job advice from the MBA folks. $$$$$$ As for insecurities, I’ve been thinking about your question over lunch… there are definitely ones coming to mind already which create some false assumptions about an MBA’s potential to “patch” insecurity. Conquer them head on with focus!

Me: Your first sentence is encouraging because you didn’t try to defend the industry. Your second is vital because you have signaled to me – and more critically to yourself – that you see the pervasive patch syndrome. The last thing i wanna do is discourage anyone from their plans…and at the same time the last thing i wanna do is see someone blindly follow the herd without looking at the vitality and vibrancy of the herd. It also works in reverse when people leave organizations to start their entrepreneurial lifestyle – most don’t make it. The romanticizing hype always covers its tracks about the vitality and vibrancy of its success rate.

.think .differently

CEO of You, Inc. (embrace it)

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Work like you mean it: Four early “big ideas” that never took off

West Orange High School 9th grade center
He was less scared after seeing the campus.


Until you are out on your own as a solo entrepreneur, it’s easy to have a lifetime of delusional ideas about how business works. All the crazy ideas about spending money, priorities, brand building, marketing and sales – well, it’s all theory until you own it.

Dreaming is the easy part.

It’s almost pornographic how wild the business improvements or new ventures could go. All the “what if’s”.  So easy to go nuts.

Dreaming is the easy part.

Making stuff happen, nearly impossible.

Here are four early “bright ideas” that were like candles in the wind.

The coolest thing about mistakes is how much more meaningful – because of the real lessons learned – they are when you own the business.

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Pretty sure this ain’t emphasized in business school

Game Changer t-shirt


(photo: MBA = managing business administration… it gets real when it’s yours, not someone else’s.)

First rule of negotiation.

Be able and willing to walk away from every opportunity.

Not being able to walk away cripples your soul.

Pretty sure this ain’t emphasized in business school enough to be the first rule of negotiation. It’s covered, but not emphatically driven home.

It gets real when your MBA is your business administration, not a piece of paper and resume booster.

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As if Baby Boomers need a reminder for this money BFO

photo of New Orleans small business advertising
This beer-joint owner knows his market, and is positioned perfectly


As if Baby Boomers need a reminder for this money BFO – blinding flash of the obvious.

The odds are overwhelming that I’ll fail.

This is the real test. Tenacity and perseverance.

One of the greatest, eye-opening experiences a business professional can ever have is starting their own business. You learn first-hand the things only a real, hard-working entrepreneur knows.

Forget text book theory and arm-chair quarterback decisions. They don’t exist! When it’s your money, time and ultimately – success or failure – everything you’ve ever learned comes into question. Everything is a test.

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This month jeff noel is encouraging Mid Life Celebration readers to follow all five daily blogs about work life balance. To go in an instant from this money (career) blog to the HQ blog, just click -> go to Next Blog