Campuses:

MBA Alum Advances Career by Going Back to the Basics

June 26, 2012

Joe Taylor talks about global travel, keeping up with classmates, and the value of the MBA.

Though his diverse background, from
television news to public relations, was a natural fit for the transition into
his current career (media monitoring), Joe Taylor recognized early on he was
missing the key pieces to becoming the industry expert and businessman he
desired. Through this realization, and encouragement from a mentor, Taylor set
out to gain the practical knowledge he needed with the Carlson Executive MBA
Program (CEMBA).

 

In a recent interview with the Carlson
School, Taylor talks about his career journey, global travel, keeping up with
his CEMBA classmates, and the value of the MBA.

 

Tell
us a bit about your work history. Where did you start and how did you end up
where you are now?

My first job out of college was as a
radio news reporter in Tulsa, OK. I moved from there to television news
reporting and then to public relations. It was while I was working as a media
liaison for a PR agency that I stumbled upon the idea of monitoring the local news
media for my clients. This eventually led me to start Oklahoma's first media
monitoring firm in 1991. Since then, I have worked in the media monitoring
industry almost exclusively.

 

A few years after CEMBA, I was
recruited by the country's dominant media monitoring firm to serve as director
of content. Last year I left the company to start my own consulting practice.
My first project took me to Tanzania in East Africa. Over the next 12 months I
have additional projects in the Middle East and South America.

 

What
responsibilities do you have in your current role? Do you feel the CEMBA
program prepped you for your current role?

As a media monitoring consultant, I
help monitoring firms around the world improve their operational processes and
business practices. My direct experience in the media monitoring business
helped develop my practical expertise, but CEMBA helped me become a well rounded
business executive, especially in the critical areas of accounting, finance,
and negotiation.

 

Not only did it fill the rather large
holes in my understanding of the finance side of business, it gave me the
confidence to present myself as an expert in the media monitoring industry.

 

Was
there a defining moment in your life that prompted you to pursue further
education?

I sold my first start up to a New York
City firm in 1997. In the process of negotiating that sale, I became aware of
how naïve I had been as an entrepreneur and business owner. A few years after
that, I was lucky enough to develop a mentor/mentee relationship with a new
boss who encouraged me to pursue an MBA. I was living in Minnesota when I was
finally able to start an MBA program--my research indicated Carlson was the best
program in the state.

 

What
did you find to be the most challenging part of the CEMBA program?

For me, the most challenging part of
CEMBA was trying to keep up with the rest of my team. Not only were they great
people on a personal level, but each was intellectually exceptional and were
already distinguished in their professions. I had to work hard to try to match
their contributions.

 

There's
been quite a bit of media surrounding the value of higher ed, specifically the MBA. What are your thoughts?

A year or so after I graduated from
CEMBA, my mentor asked if the degree had been worthwhile. This is the same guy
who once complained that he knew people who gained nothing from their MBAs. He
was really asking me "was that master's degree wasted on you?" The answer is
CEMBA changed my life. Without the education and team projects provided by the
program, I would not be qualified to do what I do now.

 

What
books would you recommend to our future Carlson School leaders?

I've been reading about
decision-making lately, including Nudge:
Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness
by Cass R. Sunstein
and Richard H. Thaler, and Being Wrong: Adventures
in the Margin of Error
by Kathryn Schulz.

 

Any
motto, words, or themes you live by?

For business endeavors, my favorite
quote comes from Teddy Roosevelt: "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to
win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with
those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in
the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."

 

Life
isn't all about work! What do you do for fun?

History is my hobby. I am much more
likely to be reading the biography of a historical political figure than to be
reading just about anything else. I also buy and sell antiques on the side. 

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