MaineMBA Alum Becomes a Business Owner

Nicole Gogan, ’11G, always knew two things:  she wanted to have an advanced degree and her own business. She graduated from the Maine Business School’s Graduate School of Business with her MBA, became an adjunct faculty member, and now runs her own business.

Why did you choose to earn your MBA?

Going back to grad school for business was a no-brainer. Business impacts every facet of life!

How did your MaineMBA help your career?

In general terms, it shows a prospective employer that you have the dedication and commitment to learning and improving yourself. It certainly opens the door to apply for higher-level positions that require a Master’s level degree. More importantly, being a part of the MBS and networking with faculty, alumni, and classmates opened more doors for me than just having a straight MBA. 

You have a background in banking and recently purchased a business. Why did you decide to become a business owner?

I grew up in a small family business in Orrington, and when the time came when my Dad sold it, I wasn’t ready to take over for him, but I always knew one day I would have my own business. But I just had no idea what it would be! 

I chose to purchase Superior Restoration in Camden, Maine because it was a long-standing business with a great reputation. It had multiple revenue streams and wasn’t dependent on disposable income or one particular customer type. Luckily for me, emergency clean-up jobs are recession-proof!

You’ve been running Superior Restoration for a few months now. How do you feel?

It’s totally overwhelming at times, but at the end of the day, I know whatever decision I’ve made is solely mine. There’s something very satisfying and rewarding about that. I’ve heard from many business owners that owning their own business is absolutely the hardest job they’ve ever had. But if they had to do it over again, they wouldn’t change a thing. After a few months, I would definitely agree with that.

What did you like about your previous job in banking? What factors did you consider when switching your career?

I enjoyed working with my customers, getting to know them and their businesses, and learning different operations and models. I also really loved my co-workers; we were a very tight-knit group who all looked out for one another.

My tipping point came when I reached out to one of my customers who said they were thinking of selling their business. I summoned the courage to ask him if he would be interested in selling to me. He said I missed him by about a month— he had already sold. I wasn’t prepared for how hard it hit me that I missed this opportunity and how disappointed I was in myself for dragging my feet because of fear. It was a gut check, for sure! 

From that point on, I started looking for businesses to buy and came across what would become Superior Restoration. For a long time, I didn’t dare to go out on my own. When looking at purchasing a business, I knew I was holding myself back by coming up with reasons why I couldn’t do it.

You also teach at the undergraduate level at the MBS. What class do you teach?

Principles of Management.

How did you get into teaching?

A year after I graduated from MBS, I was asked to teach a pilot course, Introduction to Business, to incoming first-year learners. I did that for several years and then was asked to add Principles of Management, which I happily accepted. I love the management side of business!

How does teaching fulfill you? What do you like about it? 

I loved being in college, both in my undergraduate time at Springfield College and my graduate studies at UMaine. I love being on campus surrounded by students, and teaching at the Maine Business School is no different. There’s an energy on campus, and I’ve always enjoyed being a part of that. I also really like working with students—their creativity, ideas, and optimism. I also love being able to share with the students my “real world” experience. There are situations and experiences that happen in the workplace that you can’t find in any textbook. This year, in particular, I shared with my Principles of Management students my personal experience and issues in purchasing a business.

Nicole Gogan
Hometown: Orrington, Maine
Business Owner: Superior Restoration 
MaineMBA Class of 2011