Most people who go to college and then go right away to go to receive an MBA program are not the entrepreneur; they are the people that work for the entrepreneur. If you are a business owner and you’re growing, you might already have a partner who has an MBA or a finance degree or something that the two of you can bounce off of and grow together. However, if you want to beat the learning curve, be around people who are walking the walk and talking the talk, and take away some action items for your company, there’s no other place to be than college. In this episode, Ken and Kerri share why they’re going back to school and give us a feel of the course and what they attempt to take away from it.
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Going Back To School
This is perfect and poignant to us living our lives and feeling something that might help other people. I am right next to the one and only, the gorgeous, beautiful Kerri Courtright.
Kerri, for those of my loyal audience, is my beautiful bride. For those of you that are new to this show, Kerri partakes in quite a few podcasts. We’re going to jump in right away as I normally do. As a matter of fact, we have never interviewed anybody that wasn’t Kerri, but seldom do we reach out and do an interview style. In this case, it’s perfect. I’m going to ask some questions. Kerri’s going to answer them and we’re going to see if these apply to any audience out there. Kerri, you and I made a very large business decision for our company. Both you and I are going to participate in it. What I would like you to do is share with our audience simply what was the single decision we made?
We are going back to college. Ken and I met in undergrad years ago. Our eldest daughter goes to attend Pepperdine University. It has an amazing program, Executive MBA for executives, CEOs and owners of companies. They call it the Presidential Key. Whereas other universities like Wharton and Harvard have EMBA’s. However, it’s a little bit different where it’s more school-school. What we know is what we know, in terms of growing a business. We grew it from zero to a very large company that we have together. We’re not looking for book information. We want the learning curve done. We want to be around people. We totally believe in association. We’re looking for a programmer. We are part of a program, where it’s the people like us just sitting around doing educational stuff because we have five books on my desk that we have to read. The point is we’re going to beat the learning curve and be around people who put their feet moving where their mouth is. They’re walking the walk and talking the talk. We’re excited to be around that environment.
Can you give them an idea of the schedule? What do we do halfway during the schedule? Give them a feel of the course.
The first weekend is an immersive weekend and it was pretty funny because I was called. I was asked, “Do you want to have a room with your husband or by yourself?” “No. He is my best bud. We are good.” The first weekend is an immersive weekend where you kind of get to know everybody. It’s once a month we keep going. In the middle of the program, we have a choice of either going to China or going to India to do an immersive cultural, international business learning situation, where the real application meets with real business owners in the areas. Ken and I are going to pick India. We’re picking India because we’ve got people that work with us in India. We’ve already been to China. We like China, but we don’t at this moment have any employees out there. We’re excited to learn more about the culture as we are working with the people out in that area.
The people who go to college and get an MBA program right away are not the entrepreneurs; they’re the people that work for the entrepreneur. Click To Tweet
Some of the audience can understand why we’re making this decision. It’s fifteen months, roughly one week a month. It’s a few days a week. There’s travel to and from. We lose two days on each end. It’s about a week a month for fifteen months. It’s an exhausting schedule for what we’re already doing, but in literally two minutes or less for the newer audience, tell them a little bit about what our company does and then why do you think it’s important for you specifically in what you do with us to get an Executive MBA?
Our company is Income Store. What we do is we have a management contract and we manage websites that people purchase. It’s a passive income for the person that purchases the actual website and then we manage it. Most people don’t know how to continue to market, run and keep the income flowing on a website. That’s what we do. Why is it important? Our company is moving from barbaric to more systematic. We are in the throes of it at the time and its chaos. It’s beautiful, lovely chaos. It’s not like you walk into your teenage daughter’s room. Its chaos of going from these are the people who are amazing and trudging through getting stuff done, who are very excellent and smart in what they do, to learning how to streamline and multiply themselves.
We’re at the point where we’re adding fourteen people a month. You can’t just say, “Here’s what you do.” There has to be a system, a checklist, to make sure it happens. That’s why we were going. Ironically, I was giggling because my husband’s sister asked, “What is it? Do you just want to have those three letters behind your name?” I giggled and I like, “I’m not getting a job. It’s not going to help me to get a job. I’ve got a company.” The reason why we’re doing it is to grow the company. We’ve grown it, we are great. We are stable. We want to grow it like Superman would fly to the next country. That’s what we’re looking to do.
I’m going to add my little nugget. I have a thing called FOMO, Fear Of Missing Out. Kerri and I had quite a few conversations lately with private equity groups. We’re about to talk to a couple of hedge funds. The reason is when a company gets to a certain size, there is tremendous synergy in partnering with somebody much larger than you. You don’t necessarily have to give stock up. You can just do a partnership. There’s one situation on the table we’re one of these private equity groups wants to fund the purchase of an advertising platform. They would then keep 30% of that company. We would keep 70%. They would do all the funding, nothing would come out of our pocket, but they need that synergy of us as Income Store.
Our 150 and growing employees to manage that marketing company because they have nobody on staff that could manage that. There is so much synergy. Here’s the thing, as I’m sitting through these meetings, there are certain things these private equity groups are saying to Kerri and I that’s going right over my head. I do not like being in a conversation where I am not following the latest systematic conversations about business. Kerrie, you are about to begin this Executive MBA program. When it’s over in fifteen months, what do you hope you gain? What are you going to attempt to take away from this course personally?
The funny thing when I was being interviewed, I turned it around and I was interviewing the school. If I don’t have a takeaway by the end of this weekend, it’ll be a letdown. I probably won’t continue. I’m looking for application action items, that after each weekend if I’m spending my time away from my family and my company, I better be getting something out of it. I look for action items every single meeting and I was assured I would, which I’m assuming I would otherwise probably made a poor choice in which school to attend. With the program, learning, hearing and understanding about it, that’s what I expect. I will hope to have and expect to have an action item, something I can take away for our company. By the end of fifteen months, I expect the barbaric to the systematic company to be complete.
For perspective for the audience, some of our audience own a company, it’s just them. Some of our audience I know for sure are managing divisions of companies of 3,000 people or more. They manage a division. Based on the interviewing so far, why would somebody consider an advanced degree when their company is already growing? We grow 100% every year. From the outside, it almost looks insane for you and I to go get our Executive MBA. Why would an audience member whose company may be growing as fast as ours consider going for an Executive MBA? To some further degree, give some insight to why we came as a yes to this decision? It’s a few hundred thousand dollars. This is a tremendous amount of time. Why sacrifice that time and money when we double every single year? Why would an audience consider doing the same thing?
Most people who go to college and then go right away to go to receive an MBA program are not the entrepreneur. They are the people that work for the entrepreneur. If you are a business owner and you’re growing, you might already have with you as a partner someone who has an MBA, has a finance degree or something that where the two of you can bounce off of and grow together perfectly. We didn’t graduate with those tools. I graduate with a Poli Sci and Ken graduated with Graphic Arts. The two of us together, everything we’ve done, we’ve done with bootstraps and learning on our own. When you get to a size, it’s almost like a plateau. You know you want to get there but you can’t do it yourself. You need to find help. Since Ken and I are already partners, we do recognize our weaknesses, which is the greatest thing. We grow together and do that. We’ve recognized as a company, why would you want to do it?
That might be where you need to go next. You might need that help, whether it’s yourself. Ironically, we were thinking about sending some of our staff there to Wharton. We were thinking of Wharton because it’s in Pennsylvania. That’s great but I think if we’re going to invest the money, it should be for us because we’re entertaining hiring another level at our company. In order to talk the talk, walk the walk, it would be better for us to be informed. I just want to say, most entrepreneurs do not have MBAs. I don’t know that Ken and I would have started the company had we had an MBA first. It kind of teaches you the fear and you got to watch your I’s and watch your T’s and make sure everything’s done correctly. Whereas, most entrepreneurs are bootstraps, get it done type of people. They hire the one to put the systems in and it’s what we’re doing.
In the end, you completed its full circle. I don’t have much to add. I like it because conceptually, I’m not a real big proponent of school. I’m definitely not a proponent of degrees. Schooling in general gives people fear. We’re going to go through courses, I guarantee it on risk mitigation, hedging bets and things like that. For some young entrepreneurs that know they have an incredible idea, that could be a very crippling course. My only two cents to add is if you’re growing and you’re growing fast, is it possible you could be growing faster? The reality is you don’t know what you don’t know. There is always more information out there. Possibly, there’s a right time for you and your company to go grab it. Ken and Kerri are going back to school. It’s unbelievable. See you.