Category Archives: Personal

Oh Lordy, Guess Who’s …

Sooooo … you know the saying that “time passes by” … it has indeed!

I’ve had a very busy year and a half with ForeSee focused on discussing the impact of customer, candidate, and patient experience on revenue for clients and future clients ranging in size from several Fortune 50 companies to recently monetized internet start ups.  So busy in fact that I’ve neglected my blog for quite some time.

That is changing effective immediately … as soon as I celebrate a little “time passing by” event called … my 40th birthday this weekend.  🙂

 

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To MBA or Not To MBA – The ROI Question

This week a new client asked me why I had decided to pursue an MBA.  Specifically, what was the ROI for me? What an interesting question!  I’ve been so wrapped up for the past few years in work / school and just plain being in “busy” mode that I didn’t have a quick response … and that got me thinking …

Three years ago I decided to return to academia via graduate school and pursue an MBA.  I had been kicking around the idea of returning to school for several years and quite simply could not decide on whether or not an advanced degree would be beneficial.  Would the considerable investment of money and time have a return?

And therein was the faulty logic.

Earning an MBA has zero ROI.  There is no immediate return on the investment of time and money from a graduate degree. Sure, there is intangible achievement or return as your knowledge base and day to day application of Finance, Marketing, Operations, and Strategy increases.  But, intangibles are difficult to quantify and thus the difficulty in answering the ROI question and quite frankly, the lack thereof, of a firm Return On Investment to respond to the question at hand.

I learned about a financial return quantification method called EVA in Finance that may provide the best response.  EVA or Economic Value Added is a robust financial measurement approach that companies use to evaluate their economic profit – the value created in excess of the required return of the company’s shareholders.  The concept hinges on the fact that a company’s shareholders gain when the return from the capital (or investment) employed is greater than the cost of that capital.  In essence, EVA is the profit that is earned minus the cost of financing the firm’s capital.  Capital (or YOUR money) doesn’t just sit around doing nothing.  Companies spend or invest just as you and I do … although they may invest in R&D while you or I choose to go on a vacation, buy a pair of sunglasses, etc. An EVA analysis of pursuing an MBA is a better quantification as it accounts for the value of the investment rather than the return.

For me, the decision to invest time and money in an MBA hinged on the fact that the opportunity cost of NOT pursuing an MBA far exceeded the initial time and money outlay.  The economic value add of an advanced degree lays within the opportunities that become available – whether a new career path, skills to start a business, etc.   The EVA will continue to multiply throughout my life as I put the new skill set to work … the impact or intensity of the returns (whether financial or not) on my life is dependent on me taking actions based on the investment of time and money.

So, when asked about ROI … while the path to an MBA has been completed the journey has just begun … and the EVA will continue to exceed the opportunity cost for not investing in myself or my future.

P.S. Thank You to the University of St. Thomas  in Minneapolis, MN for a rewarding and AACSB Accredited learning experience.  Make sure to check out the UST MBA Program here: http://www.stthomas.edu/business/degrees/ustmba/eveningmba/


Real World Social Media – The Power of Networking

Image representing iPad as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

I’ve spent the past 2 years and 9 months working diligently on an AACSB accredited MBA at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, MN.  The university requires successful completion of 17 classes, 2,200 hours of class time and a LOT of group projects of their MBA candidates – whether you attend full or part-time.  My decision to attend St. Thomas was made for a variety of reasons (including their AACSB accreditation) but as I look back on the past 3 years or so – one criterion stands above the rest … the people.

The power of social media has enamored both marketing and sales organizations over the past few years.  In fact, when I began my MBA coursework, Facebook was still a “college” thing rather than the behemoth it is today.  Twitter was called Twttr. And the iPad didn’t exist.

Social media’s influence and impact continues to grow and to be debated but will surely be with us in the near term.  However, we must not forget the power of being social in the real world.

The true power of social networking exists in real life as it has for generations.  The ability to hold a conversation, to emote, to share and to laugh (without the use of LOL or emoticons) will quickly become a lost art form if we forget the most important aspect of our day-to-day the lives … the people we interact with, cherish, work with, or even dislike. No amount of Facebook likes or posts, Twitter Feeds, Apps, Texts, etc. can replace real world communication and networking.  They can enhance or compliment the experience as any technological innovation should do.

While I’ve learned a great deal about marketing, statistics, decision-making, strategy, and yes, even social media during my pursuit of an MBA … as I reflect on my experiences it becomes readily apparent that no amount of technology or innovation replaces the fundamental power of being social – IRL.

(that’s Twitspeak or SMS for In Real Life)


Atlas Shrugged In 2011

Ayn Rand's sign.

Image via Wikipedia

2011 is off to a rather fast start with a bit of inspiration from Ayn Rand. I’m starting a new journey in marketing with a company based out of Ann Arbor, MI that is the industry leader in customer satisfaction / Voice of Customer measurements that drive informed decision making leading to increased revenue and customer satisfaction for a wide variety of F1000 clients.

My blog will continue to be focused on marketing and strategy but will be enhanced with the power available via analytics and knowledge … it is a reflection of my journey and not representative of my employers past or present.

So, how does Ayn Rand or Atlas Shrugged or The Fountainhead fit into all of this?  Simple.  You have the power to effect personal and professional change that influences your own journey … it’s your outlook (like the quote above) that will determine how successful you are.  In my humble opinion, of course.


Happy New Year! (Auld Lang Syne Social Media Style)

Times Square at night

Image via Wikipedia

My New Year’s Eve tradition has always included watching the ball drop in Times Square on television – either at home or from another location.  But, it was always via television. You remember what that was, right?  You may think I’m kidding – but, in another 5 – 10 years that will be a truly valid statement.

December 31, 2010 brings this time honored tradition into the realm of Social Media.  As of today, Facebook has officially passed Google as the most visited site on the internet.  The passing of the guard from a search based user experience to a social media user experience has occurred!  Befitting this type of change, my New Year’s Eve tradition will shift from watching the ball drop in Times Square on television to leveraging a wide variety of social media.  The power of social media is remarkable as my tradition will now include sharing my experience with my network of professional and personal friends via Facebook and Twitter.  There are a variety of tools and links available  including apps for Android phones, apps for the iPhone, iPad, and iTouch, Facebook apps, live stream on Twitter as well as video streaming sites.  I bet you can even attend the event virtually via Second Life!  Leverage the links below and be a part of the New Year Social Media experience but most of all … Happy New Year!

Facebook New Years Eve Ball Drop App:

http://www.facebook.com/apps/application.php?id=205194694192

Links for live streaming:

TimesSquareNYC.org
Livestream.com/2011
TimesSquareBall.net


The Bucket List – 100 Things To Do

I stumbled across this site http://100thingssebterry.blogspot.com/ while reading another blog – what an amazing journey this person has been on.  Rather than practicing the coulda, woulda, shoulda philosophy – this guy made a list of 100 things he’d like to do in life, also known as a bucket list,  and is slowly but surely accomplishing each of them.

Taking a look at his list reminded me that not everyone takes advantage on opportunities to become self fulfilled rather than financially secure.  Granted, financial security is an important part of life (right?!) … but, if it comes at the cost of not being happy, not finding love, not being whatever – then you’ve wasted your life.  It’s as simple as that.

I made a list (not of a 100 things) that I wanted to do in 2008 and with the completion of my MBA will have completed it. I’ve been skydiving, went golfing, ran a 6:10 mile, etc.  Getting the MBA has sidetracked me from a lot of “fun” things that I wanted to do in the past 2 years (and is one the “bigger” things that I wanted to do).

Graduation is around the corner – May 2011 to be exact.  I think it’s time to create another list of things to do and get to work!

What do you want to do next?


First!

<< insert self applause here >>

I’ve been online since 1992 using a plethora of websites and services (remember Prodigy?) and figured it was time to create a permanent space and tie everything together.

I’ll be rambling about social media, marketing, branding, sales, and my life in general … just as soon as I finish setting things up. GO MIKEY GO!


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