Smith Soc Featured Member
Questions and Answers with Adam Smith Society Members.
Taylor Gillig | Dallas Professional Chapter
Taylor Gillig is a husband, Marine Corps combat veteran, and small business owner. He graduated from the University of California Santa Barbara with a bachelor's degree in History. Taylor received his commission from the Marine Corps immediately following his graduation and became an Infantry officer. In 2013, he deployed to Afghanistan as the Ground Assault Force commander for Regional Command Southwest. After leaving the Marines in 2015, he began working for the Texas State Senate as a policy analyst where he also earned a Distinguished Service Award and was made an honorary Texan by Governor Abbot. After the legislative session, Taylor started to pursue his MBA at Southern Methodist University. During this time, he met his wife Kelly, and they started their company, The Cookery. After graduating with an MBA in finance and strategy, he and his wife grew their business and now have two locations in DFW.
How do you think your time in the Marine Corps prepared you for life in the private sector?
The time I spent in the Marine Corps has been the definitive contribution to my success. The Marine Corps taught me discipline, strategy, leadership, and perseverance. All of these are necessary to succeed in the private sector. There is nothing in the private sector that is comparable to the Marine corps when teaching these concepts.
What was the most surprising thing about setting up shop as an entrepreneur in Dallas?
Government regulations. An MBA program teaches business in the abstract. No school or class can prepare an entrepreneur to understand and navigate the maze of local, state, and government regulations that may or may not impact their business. So much of regulations are at the whim of unknown regulators and bureaucrats. Larger companies may be able to navigate it with greater ease than start-ups. However, when I first started, I had no idea which agencies I even needed to talk to, let alone have a plan to work with them.
In general, do you think MBA programs do enough to prepare students for entrepreneurship?
If someone knows they want to start their own business, an MBA program can be an invaluable resource. Having open access to professors and resources to help formulate a business plan and develop relationships can make the difference between success and failure—however, entrepreneurship is based on the individual. If the drive is there, an MBA can help enormously. But you have to want it.