How to combine your MBA and your passion

This weeks podcast is with Debbie Trenholm. Debbie came to see me when she was just about to graduate with her MBA. Debbie, while doing well at Quest Software, was really not as passionate about technology as she was with other interests in her life. Debbie wanted better. She had always planned on getting a Master’s Degree so she chose to pursue the Executive MBA program at the Queen’s School of Business. This allowed her to pursue an MBA while still working. At the same time, it gave her the opportunity to consider a career in another industry. Debbie was tempted to stay in the high-tech sector although she wasn’t completely comfortable there. "Where do I fit? Where can I find a personal challenge and where could my experience help another company? In my heart of hearts, it wasn’t going to be high-tech as my next step."

Debbie had always been passionate about wine, had taken courses and had even become a sommelier. Given her international experience along with her creativity and marketing background, it seemed to her that the wine industry might be her "fit." Debbie decided to test the waters by doing her MBA internship in a winery. As a result, she gained valuable insights and created networking opportunities, all without quitting her day job. Her passion for wine grew and it became obvious that the business of wine was the right fit for her. Once she had finished her MBA, Debbie quit her high-tech job and spent some time exploring European wineries while she brushed up on her French, trained for a half-marathon and recharged her mental batteries, all this to prepare for the task of building her next career.

With the goal of taking the mystery out of wine, she used some savings to launch her own company, The Savvy Grapes. Starting small and keeping her overhead low, she began offering wine and tasting classes and a wine subscription service. She also helped restaurants develop their wine lists and pitched her marketing and business development expertise to wineries. At first, she marketed her business to her existing network, but she was always on the lookout for opportunities to broaden her clientele. Debbie built her business by being constantly creative and by defining which aspects of her business were personally most satisfying as well as profitable. She took a huge and very successful leap, and the MBA program and internship helped her make a career change. "If you think you can do it, give it a try, if you can arrange your life or your work to test it and see if you would like it better. It will be exhausting for the first while, but it will help you to investigate, validate and become confident that you are making the right decision."

You may be struggling with how to combine your experience, education and your passions. The whole process may seem daunting, but it really does start with one action towards a better future.

Book an initial session with me and, like Debbie, you can pop a bottle of champagne when you land in something you are truly passionate about.

Along the road with you!

Alan Kearns

This week’s 10 Minute WORKout
What is your passion? Think about your past experiences and your education. Start working towards making your passion your new career by taking one step at a time.

LUNCH & LEARN: Find the Right Career!
Are you struggling with your career? Call toll free to participate in this WORKshop led by our Head Coach Alan Kearns.

Easy to participate – Do the workshop from wherever you are – home, office, or on your porch! Informative, practical, casual, lively and inspirational. You can also just listen if you choose – there are no requirements.

Meet new and interesting people from all over the world who are asking the same questions and meeting the same challenges as you are.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

12 noon – 1:00 PM EST

Limited Space Available – Click here to register today!