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Escaping middle management - MBA or small business

Discussion in 'Business, Careers & Education' started by zerostyle, Feb 21, 2012.

  1. zerostyle

    zerostyle Senior member

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    So, here's the deal.

    I'm 31 years old, and currently in a role where I feel like I've fallen into middle management hell. I work as the Director of Mobile for a media company (build iphone, ipad, android, mobile web products). I'm sort of in a fast growing industry within a dying dinosaur.

    Here's the problem: I feel like a terrible generalist. I'm not a developer. I don't have an MBA. I more of a product manager, and find myself writing requirements and arguing P&L's most of the day. I don't hate it, but I also don't feel that useful.

    Looking to the future, I'm trying to find a way to use my background to:
    (a) make considerably more money
    (b) work for myself, or at least have a job situation where I have tons of flexibility to travel

    The problem is, as a generalist, I feel like my ability to start small businesses is limited. I have some experience building ecommerce websites, affiliate marketing, etc, but haven't come up with any idea nearly good enough to replace my salary.

    So I'm looking at 2 directions right now with the following problems:

    1. Work for myself - but I am at a lack of ideas and skills - but this would be my dream
    2. Keep climbing the corporate ladder and stay in the mobile industry. The good news is it is very quickly growing. However, without an MBA, I will struggle terribly. Also, as with any corporate gig, I feel that there will always be a ceiling on salary. The cost of an MBA will hurt (no company help at present), and it's not like I'd be going into investment banking or other high-return industries to offset that tuition.

    Any suggestions? I'm feeling terribly distraught over my next move, as I feel this is a critical turning point in my life when I need to pick something and go with it.
     
  2. Nereis

    Nereis Senior member

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    You need to sit down and honestly ask yourself where your strengths lie and where you will be most valuable. What is your position and what have you done so far in your career? What have you succeeded in?
     
  3. bringusingoodale

    bringusingoodale Senior member

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    Be lucky you have a job.

    Go home and get a hobby.

    OR

    Real estate.

    (that's all I got)
     
  4. Flambeur

    Flambeur Senior member

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    Somewhat unimaginative advice
     
  5. SkinnyGoomba

    SkinnyGoomba Senior member

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    Having an MBA certainly won't hurt you, except in the wallet for the short term. In fact it often seems like a requirement in most companies.

    If you are a small business person at heart you'll start one regardless, but IMO unless it's a field that you love than you are trading a hell that you know for a hell that you don't know. For me it's in my blood.
     
  6. gort

    gort Senior member

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    Make a lateral move to a company that offers education assistance? :)
     
  7. zerostyle

    zerostyle Senior member

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    This is my current thought right now.

    My question is - would it be insane to try to do a new company + part time MBA + build a small business all at the same time?

    I imagine my free time will be insanely limited for at least 3-4 years if I go that route. Honestly, I don't mind losing the free time, but I do worry that I wouldn't be able to dedicate enough time to a small biz.

    For me, my heart is SCREAMING that I need to run my own small biz. I'm just struggling right now to come up with an idea good enough to replace salary right now.
     
  8. Savile Row

    Savile Row Well-Known Member

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    Old sport, a horrible day working for yourself always beats a great day working for another person.
    How did Milton put it... Better to reign in hell than to serve in heaven... ?

    As for lacking ideas and skills... I doubt that.
    That fact that you have the where-with-all to post your query tells me you already know the answer.
    Don't be a slave to pushing around someone else's paper pile.

    You don't have to have superior intellect, and you don't have to have superior physique...
    But, you do have to have a superior attitude.

    Bon chance !
     
  9. zerostyle

    zerostyle Senior member

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    Thanks Saville.

    I am actually a fairly sharp guy, and have some skills that are very useful to making money ( web development, web marketing, etc ). So, it's very clear that the direction I need to head is down some kind of ecommerce / affiliate marketing / etc path.

    I've since put together a list of 15 ideas, but none are really big enough to make enough money. Just not sure how long it's worth researching/not finding anything.
     
  10. Verniza

    Verniza Senior member

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    I honestly feel doing all 3 would be too much and put a heavy strain on your finances.

    Maybe just stick to your current job while building a side business. When that business takes off you can move over to the business full time. Planning for a business will take up lots of time months or years even.
     
  11. ballmouse

    ballmouse Senior member

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    Starting a business is pretty much a full-time job, and I don't know how well it'd work part-time, much less part-time while taking a MBA. Speaking of which, I've heard a part-time MBA is miserable. Sure you don't want to stick all your eggs in one basket, but I'm under the impression if you don't fully concentrate on just one thing, you won't be successful at any of them.
     
  12. austinite

    austinite Well-Known Member

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    Do you have skills you could sell as a consultant?
     
  13. bringusingoodale

    bringusingoodale Senior member

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    But not incorrect or misleading.
     
  14. zerostyle

    zerostyle Senior member

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    Yes, various web marketing skills, particularly search engine optimization, pay per click management, and some mobile consulting.

    However, I really have desire to consult. It just means that you end up working for someone else. You just call them the customer instead of "boss". I realize that any business ultimately has to have a consumer, but I think there are better passive ways to go about it.
     
  15. Satorialist

    Satorialist Senior member

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    If none of your business ideas are worth acting on then go for an MBA; but it should be a specialized MBA. You've self described as a generalist and you're right to think that image needs reformed, quickly.

    In your case, given your interests and what you want to do, I'd recommend a specialized Marketing MBA. I'd also recommend going full-time rather than part time. Get cracking on the GMAT.
     
  16. Sir Humphrey Appleby

    Sir Humphrey Appleby Senior member

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    If he was whingeing about how he wanted more money when the company was going under and his colleagues were being made redundant I'd agree with you, but he isn't so your advice is irrelevant.

    What about to make a profit on it or if you have been given a life expectancy of three days?
     
  17. Satorialist

    Satorialist Senior member

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    It seems he needs to do something drastic or he's left stuck in "middle-managment purgatory," at the very least an MBA increases his odds of breaking out of that cycle. Even if the actual cost of his MBA puts him in the hole and isn't recouped for many years, if it succeeds in breaking him out of his current reality then it may be worth it--but that's something only he can weigh.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2012
  18. SkinnyGoomba

    SkinnyGoomba Senior member

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    Figure out what kind of business well before quitting your job. You may be bright, but you don't know everything about an industry that you are brand new in. Doing it part time on the side is alright as long as you properly manage the expectations of your clients. Otherwise you will spend a great deal of time being sued.
     
  19. wj4

    wj4 Senior member

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    To the OP,

    If you truly want to go for an MBA degree, I highly suggest doing so.

    I'm currently in an MBA program. My former educational background was in science. I absolutely love the program. I'm not in a top tier program, it is a local school that is easily accessible to me after work. The whole program costs me about $55-60K, but I think it will be absolutely worth it. My social life is non-existing, but I don't mind. Between school and work, I'm pretty swamped.

    I feel somewhat like you. I'm not stuck in middle management, I'm just starting out my career. I'm 26 years old now. I know I can earn a nice 6 figure income in this field, but I have a yearn to try "this business thing" out.

    Please keep us informed on what you decide to do. Best of luck to your future endeavors, my friend!
     
  20. wellsronald18

    wellsronald18 Member

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    If you have the passion for business then start one and yes you can simultaneously do MBA too.
     

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