The MBA Gave Me the Confidence to Follow My Dreams and Passions

The MBA Gave Me the Confidence

An Interview with John F. Lusk, Wharton MBA, Co-founder and VP of Marketing for Platinum Concepts, Inc

Could you describe your background to us, including your educational and personal paths leading up to your MBA at Wharton?

I spent four years as a management consultant in Ernst & Young''s Information Technology Group before going to Wharton. As a consultant, I spent a lot of time working with start-ups in the software industry and began to show an interest in joining a high-tech startup. While I had obtained a business degree from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas and while I knew business basics, I felt that an MBA degree from a top program would give me the confidence and the skills ultimately strike out on my own and experience entrepreneurship firsthand.

Looking back, was the MBA worth the time and money invested?

Absolutely! Deciding to get an MBA is such a personal decision. While I could have started my company without the Wharton MBA I would not have started it with as much confidence and knowledge. The people you meet, the lessons you learn and all of the experiences of being at MBA school have made those two years in Philadelphia unforgettable. I am still paying off my school loans, but will hopefully have all of that taken care of within the next few years or so!

How has your MBA helped you in your career?

Well, without the Wharton MBA I would have never been able to market the
MouseDriver story! That story being, why in the world would two Wharton
MBA's bypass all of the money-making opportunities in investment banking, consulting and dotcoms to manufacture a novelty computer mouse out of their kitchen. Because my professors at Wharton encouraged me to forge my own entrepreneurial path I was rewarded by being able to claim Wharton as my home.
Additionally, the Wharton network has proved very valuable. Bottom line: The MBA helped me give me the confidence to follow my dreams and passions.

Would you actively recruit MBA graduates in your company?

Of course! I believe that MBA's are able to approach problems and issues
from many different angles and understand the importance of thinking outside the box . Not that there aren't plenty of qualified non-MBA's out there but that MBA definitely acts as a nice pre-screener for most candidates.

What advice would you give to our readers who are considering getting an MBA?

It's a personal growth decision. Don't just make money and prestige the
main reasons for getting an MBA. In the end, choose to obtain an MBA because it's something that you truly want to do.

Could you please tell us a few words about your position?

In 1999, after graduating from The Wharton School, I teamed up with Kyle
Harrison to manufacture, market and sell MouseDriver, a specialty computer
mouse shaped as the head of a driver golf club. At Platinum Concepts, I was
responsible for all aspects of the marketing mix and, during the first year of
sales, achieved profitability on revenues of nearly $1MM. He was also
instrumental in creating a internationally recognized brand utilizing emotional
marketing and product evangelism with a marketing budget of less than $7500. My biggest accomplishment to date was writing The MouseDriver Chronicles: The True-Life Adventures of Two First-Time Entrepreneurs. The book was recently released in the UK and Europe by Simon & Schuster and is required reading in over 65 universities around the world.



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