Life advice? - MBA, business, travel, & music

Discussion in 'Professional Trading' started by malaka56, Oct 1, 2005.

  1. malaka56


    Hi Everyone,

    This may not be the best place to ask career questions other than trading, but I saw some other threads regarding careers, MBAs, life paths, etc. There seems to be a large pool of MBAs on here, so it worth a shot. Basically, I want to tell you all a bit about my situation and see what kind of advice I get.

    I’m mid-20’s, undergrad degree from state school university in psychology (I’m lazy, what can I say?). Been done with school for two years. Initially after college I went to China for a little over a year, worked in manufacturing, import/export, learned about Chinese business, made connections, etc etc. Came back to the US over 9 months ago with an outsourcing business partnership under my belt with some European friends of mine back in China. I have put a lot effort into it, have several clients, have made money but not enough to live from, but it’s not working for a multitude of reasons, some beyond my control, but I don’t want to go into it here. SO, now I have to decide what to do. Getting a normal 9-5 is out of the question for me. My interests lay in international business, import/export and manufacturing, business strategy, and the ultimate goal for any of these is to own a company for myself (regardless of the industry actually). I don’t think I would be a good trader – I hate sitting in front of computers all day looking at charts, this is NOT the life I want, but I am interested in it as a hobby.

    Entrepreneurial opportunities are probably the most important factor in whatever I decide to eventually do, trading can do this, but I don’t feel it is something I would be very good at. I have been considering getting my MBA, which would help get my foot in the door in international trade, but since my GPA is not good, and I graduated from a state school, I would NOT be going to any where near the top 10 schools. I have also considered getting my MBA in Australia – not a bad place for the few months I have spent there.
    I have $50k in the bank to do whatever I want with, and my family can help with additional money – and may pay half of my MBA costs if I decide to do that.

    Anyway, is getting an MBA worth it, should I return to China to seek my fortune, go live in the jungle in Indonesia, get a 9-5 and a prescription of lexapro, work import/export from the US side, become a waiter and focus on playing/creating music?

    Any and all thoughts, opinions, insults, insights, indecisions, experiences, are welcome. I realize the majority of opinions will be coming from people who love trading, and want this to be their “career” in life, so I will take this into account.
    Thanks for reading.
  2. do you have a "gift" for playing music?

    if so then consider this for career if it gives you the most satisfaction in life and can pay some or all bills for you.

    my late dad was a prof jazz musician ... made a ok income doing this fulltime / partime
    but he had a fear of doing "deals" etc businesswise
    that prevented him from making alot of money
    however his joy came from making people happy
    though his playing with big bands or even solo
    and he played until he was 84 and was happily married for 57 yrs
  3. wow, this is a real place for life advice. Youve just had an existential crisis my friend, it will pass.
  4. Cheese


    Go live in the jungle .. then come back and be a waiter.
  5. Just for fun...

    If you want to be an entreprenuer now is the time to go for it as you are young, single, and can recover from any mistakes made relatively quickly. Good entreprenuers hire MBA's to sit in front of computers for them.

    If you want to be corporate get the MBA. Realize that post MBA is full-time and generally pretty stressful for a number of years -- otherwise the MBA was most likely a total waste of your time.

    If you just want to fool around for awhile be a musician -- unless fortune favors you of course and you strike it rich.

    The best thing I can say is choose something that you can really put your heart into and go for in a serious way. Fooling around is fun but in the long run unproductive.

    Of course, you could always use the MBA to import chinese musical instruments to the US. :) This would probably meet all your criteria.
  6. malaka56


    I enjoy music, and sometimes i wonder if i should pursue it professionally. however, unfortunately i am not idealistic or romantic enough (perhaps i should work on that), and i realize statistically speaking, there are many more successful business people/business owners than there are financially successful musicians. quantifying everything doesnt always work, especially with music. :) but i cant help it. my goal regardless of the process, is to sit on a tropical beach and play music, which is basically what i did through college - but with no money.
    I am not looking to be filthy rich, more like freedom from the workplace, and i see my opportunity in this as being a business owner with great managers to run the business, opposed to most of the people on ET who i would imagine feel trading is their key to financial freedom, workplace freedom, whatever you want to call it. From my experience in international business/trade, there seems to be a lot more interesting stuff going on, and a lot bigger profit margins than domestic business, but of course my experience is limited.
    IF i get an MBA, the purpose will be to get a job with a company who has a business model I will be able to simulate with my own resources, and then do it. Once, I have enough money coming in for my own small company to hire an excellent manager, give him equity in the company, a great salary, and have him/her grow it.
    This is basically my plan with my small company now, but the chinese float, amongst tax laws, US attitude toward "chinese outsourcing", and a whole slew of other factors some my fault, some not, are causing it to fail, so it's time for plan B.
  7. malaka56



    There are other not-so honorable reasons to have an MBA: social status (important for asian business i believe), personal satisfaction, to subdue my inferiority complex? It seems as though many older people regret not going to grad school, and I do not want to regret that either, and If i can combine it with something fun like living full-time in australia, it may be a viable option, but im not to keen on wasting my money on and it putting myself into debt.

    Music would be great, and I plan on spending a lot of time with it, and if the opporunity arises to tour as the expense of my job, so be it. So I will not write it off completel, but not put 100% into it either.

    The problem with being an entreprenuer isnt the lack of motivation or guts, but ideas. I do not want to start a subway sandwiches, or an espresso stand. It has to be something with potential for real growth. Import/export HAD this opporunity, but is now saturated in China (for export at least). Since I have my little 50k to use, i invest it conservatively until i have a venture i will need it for. thats the best i can think of right now.
  8. Well I did my MBA in the UK and had a great time so I can support that logic. It has gotten quite expensive though. Mine cost $20K for tuition (2 years) and then the lost income plus living expenses. I just met with the alumni fund raiser and he told me that tuition is now around $80K -- per year!

    For a counter example I offer my sister who did not graduate high school but has a succesful business selling computer supplies -- about 15 years now. She has had a wonderful life and family and managed to do quite well financially. From my own observations, the two most important characteristics were a) persistance and determination and b) natural intelligence.

    Personally, I would suggest you take a look at the millionaire next door ( a book), review the subject of compound growth, and contemplate the idea of multiple income streams. Don't bother looking for a "big" success. It might happen it might not. But multiple income streams and compounding can't be beat.

    Best wishes on your journey,

  9. I made my living playing music through my 20s and 30s and I can tell you that the reason I have my health and a good outlook on life today is the fact that I played music every day. I see some of my high school friends who did the 9-5 thing in some field which didn't make them particularly happy and they look their age. I don't.

    If you want to pursue music you must be the kind of person who has NO need for material things. Only you know if this is true.

    The one thing I will say is this. I played music during those years but I could have done a hell of a lot more in the field, and I could have done more for myself personally. It was just too easy to indulge in the sideshow and hang out with the limitless supply of women who wanted to hang with me. I now look back and regret that I did not do more with the energy I had in those years. I would say that if you are 25+, your time for just hanging out on a beach or sitting under a tree smoking dope are over. Whatever you do, you need to kick it down and get it going. Choose something that you can sink your teeth into and understand that you will look back on these years and regret the opportunities you gave away - not the situations in which you tried and failed - that is the only way to succeed; I mean the opportunities you gave away.
  10. Joe


    Seriously in all areas of my life I have known exactly what I should do. Maybe I am the only one, but in every situation I have known exactly what to do.

    Whether I choose to do it, is another story.

    I am sure you know what you should do aswell.

    My advice get the MBA, your young and have the money. Your GPA is bad but your work experience will compensate partially. You wont get into a top ten school, but you will pick up skills that will allow you to expand your horizons.
    #10     Oct 2, 2005