Don’t Let an MBA Get in Your Way

Kevin_O'Leary_(entrepreneur,_reality_show_personality) - CopyIn an interview, Kevin O’Leary from the successful television show “Shark Tank” said that MBAs drove him crazy because they have never built a business, are arrogant, and think they know everything. Well, I work with some very savvy clients who have MBAs and respect their achievements, but understand totally why he feels that way.

I recall a conversation with one of my salesman who was failing terribly. When I asked him about his performance, his attitude was how dare I question him? His response to me was, “I have an undergraduate degree from Yale and a Harvard MBA.” He was actually defending his lack of performance by citing his academic credentials!

My response was straightforward, “Then you ought to be smart enough to realize that – as the founder of this business – nobody knows our products better than me, and you should at least listen to my constructive advice! Needless to say, he didn’t last very long with Venmark. If fact, he had three jobs the following two years and then settled down, I suppose?

Recently, I spoke with a young MBA who thinks he knows more than me about publicity and what he proposes to do for his company is simply stupid, wasteful, and is going to hurt his marketing efforts. The worst part of this ‘often experienced MBA story’ was that he is so invested in his own brilliance that he wouldn’t listen to other ideas. My position is that you can always listen and reject. But, you should at least try to learn something from every person you meet.  Everyone can teach you something!

It should have occurred to him that I have been a successful product publicist for nearly 40 years because I know how to help clients achieve their marketing objectives using publicity as a tool. Why? Because it is a very cost-effective solution to any small company’s need for widespread and/or niche exposure, sales leads, web traffic, SEO, vendor relations, distributor support, and much more.


© 2014 Steven M. Stroum


Steve Stroum

Steve Stroum

Steven M. Stroum, founder and president of Venmark International is a seasoned publicist, marketer, and entrepreneur who has been featured in INC Magazine, Sales & Marketing Management Magazine, Industrial Marketing, OMNI Magazine, USA Today, The Christian Science Monitor, Boston Globe, Boston Herald, The Middlesex News, San Francisco Chronicle, and other media outlets. He has also appeared on numerous radio and television programs, addressed many business and civic groups, and been a guest lecturer at Boston College, Babson College, MIT, and his alma mater Northeastern University.

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