How the MBA has Changed My Life

It's funny when you catch yourself unconsciously and automatically applying the stuff you've learnt in the MBA. That happened to me a couple of days ago when I dreamt that, instead of going for a Internet- or technology-based career, I'd gone ahead and bought myself a second-hand bookshop in Carlton. (Dreams and conveniently devoid of explanations, aren't they?)

The dream itself was short and my most vivid image from it was walking in through the bookshop's front door into a place that looked like a cosy, old-style study/library/reading room and thinking, "Wow, I own this now!" I'm pretty sure that, in response, my conscious brain commented, "And how the heck did that happen?"

Soon after my dream, I stirred and, in that half-awake, half-asleep state, I realized that I had automatically started doing a full-fledged analysis of the business. I remember wondering about:

  • Revenue streams -- which new ones I was going to add
  • Profit margins -- trying to figure out which revenue stream would bring the business the most profit
  • Inventory and inventory management -- which types of books were the most profitable, what their turnover was, whether I should move into selected first-hand books as well, etc.
  • Plans for expansion -- in the first phase I was going to add wireless Internet and a small, self-service kitchenette/cafe in the corner
  • Marketing plans -- customer surveys, flyers, word of mouth, sponsored events, starting a reading club, partnerships, etc.
  • Industry analysis -- figure out which industry I was in (second-hand books), whether I wanted to be in any other industry or industries (coffee shop, retail bookstore, Internet cafe, community venue, etc.), who my competitors were and what were they doing, etc.

And so on. I've written all this down not to show off all that you learn in the MBA degree, but because I'd actually gone ahead -- quite automatically -- and mentally prepared this analysis and was, in my dream, getting ready to carry it out!

Fortunately, the realization that I'd done all this startled me awake more fully, at which point I rolled my eyes (thinking: "great -- now I'm doing this in my sleep!"), turned over, and went back to sleep.

I wonder, though, whether this was a divine hint telling me to ditch all my technology-related dreams and get into the nitty-gritty of running a bookshop (something I'd love to do, by the way). Whether it was or not, at the very least I got a blog entry out of it.