Morgan Hays (MBA 07)
My 10th stop. Breakfast with my Emory classmate Morgan Hays (MBA 07) and a quick visit to MIT.
It was nice meeting up with Morgan. He’s doing well, working at Autodesk as their Director of Product. He gave me a quick tour of their advanced manufacturing facilities which they rent out to students & faculty at MIT or Harvard for advanced prototyping.
Even though Morgan went to b-school one year apart, I recall getting to know Morgan personally through the Goizueta Christian Fellowship. Over the years, we’ve kept in touch through FB: me seeing his family photos (wife & 3 kids) and him seeing my travels all over the world.
Interestingly enough, I found out over breakfast that Morgan grew up in San Diego, California. Weather is not as good in Boston compared to pleasant San Diego, but there are far better career opportunities in Boston than in sleepy San Diego.
MIT is nice. I’m glad I didn’t go to school there (they rejected me). I should have been accepted, but through bad luck, I couldn’t put my best foot forward in my undergraduate application.
At MIT, I would have stayed a nerd. I feel MIT is a school for Nerds & Geniuses whereas UC Berkeley is a school for Nerds & Hippies. Since I’m not smart enough to be genius, I would have stayed a nerd at MIT. Whereas in Berkeley, I got to explore my hippy side … let my hair grow out long and become a Christian.
I will post more of my thoughts on Boston vs. Silicon Valley cultural differences for startups in a later blog.
Back to Morgan: After b-school, Morgan started working for Comcast in Philadelphia & Washington DC and then later as a Director of Video Product Development at Cablevision in New York.
He ended up in Boston when he decided to take a job at a brand new startup called Layer3 TV (later acquired by T-mobile) as their Head of Product and Business Development. This was a super exciting opportunity for Morgan because he got the chance to grow his product management skills and work with some leading entrepreneurs in the cable TV industry. He was also one of the founders of Layer3 TV, and so the opportunity to be a founder, grow his career and move to Needham, Massachusetts (suburb of Boston) was very compelling.
Needham has proved to be a fantastic place to live from the day his family moved in. His family received a bouquet of roses from the neighbors next door and a plate of brownies from the people across. It was a warm welcome from the beginning. Furthermore, three young girls lives on their block. For his oldest daughter, being able to have playmates and friends made the move a winner.
Layer3 TV continued to grow, but they wanted to centralize their headquarter in Denver. Having just moved to Needham for about a year and his family happily settled, Morgan left Layer3 TV. His next 2 roles were VP of Product Management at Deluxe Entertainment Services and TiVo running $40 million and $45 million businesses respectively.
Morgan learned a lot about running global Products at TiVo. Selling product in 16 countries around the world was brand new challenge that he loved. Being an officer a public company was also a great learning experience. TiVo ended up being sold and that's how he ended up moving on to his current role at Autodesk.
Morgan believes his MBA education at Emory was instrumental to his career success. The Emory MBA provided him a wide range of tools which he likes to call, "the problem solving mindset", to tackle a wide variety of business problems. Before coming to Emory, he had some product management skills. But he didn't have any finance tools. He didn't have any organization and management tools or a playbook for strategy. Learning these tools gave him broader skills to be effective in the different roles he took on at big and small companies throughout his career. So he's glad he did an MBA and feel grateful for the outstanding teaching at Emory.