The path to entrepreneurship doesn’t go in just one direction. Take the example of Joan Treistman, who graduated with an MBA from Booth in 1969. Treistman initially got a marketing research job at The Quaker Oats Company, but switched to consulting a few years later when she and her husband decided to move back to the east coast of the United States and start a family.

In consulting, Treistman developed an expertise in visual communications research, examining what attracts a customer’s attention to a display, advertisement, or product, and advised marketers about how they could use such insights to influence shoppers’ decisions.

But after a few years, Treistman figured out that her employer’s parent company was looking to sell the firm, and she suggested to two colleagues that they make their own joint bid.

The bid was successful and for the next 20 years, Treistman ran her own show, first with two partners at that firm, later with one of the same partners at another firm.

In 1999, Treistman began to grapple with a shift to online and global marketing. She worried her boutique firm didn’t have the resources to make the change alone, so she sold her business to a larger firm. For the next eight years she worked as a senior-level executive, first for the firm she sold to and then at another marketing research firm.

By 2008 she was ready to go out on her own again. “I realized I was used to making decisions on my own. It was hard to be in an environment where I was obliged to work in a way that was not always agreeable to me,” says Treistman, who found her corporate time filled with supervisory and administrative work. Now she’s back doing research, as president of the Treistman Group, her own marketing research firm.

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