Zicklin MBA Takes the Reins: Josephine Graci (’12)

Photo by Howard Schatzberg

Zicklin MBA Takes the Reins: Josephine Graci (’12)

While the average American embraced the advent of “horseless carriages” by the 1920s, current Zicklin MBA candidate Josephine Graci remains a fan of good old-fashioned horsepower. The owner of Graci Arabians currently has 10 horses and, over the years, has owned and bred 25 more. Yes, she concedes that “horses are no longer a mode of transportation. Now it’s about enjoying the ride in the ring, not down the highway.”

Graci has been enjoying that ride since her dad put her on a horse at age 3. “I was hooked,” she enthuses. Then on her 14th birthday, her father bought her an Arabian broodmare; before her next birthday, the first foal she bred became a national champion, and Graci’s avocation became a vocation. Graci holds the distinction of being the nation’s youngest breeder of first- and second-generation national champions.

Graci Arabians has become a successful and recognized equine brand, selling foals to some of the biggest and oldest Arabian breeding farms in the world. “These are farms I’ve always admired,” she says. “Originally they inspired me, and now they’re buying from me.”

Though Graci showed a facility for business at an early age, she—unsurprisingly—planned to become a veterinarian. When that plan got sidelined, she wound up studying English lit while continuing to run her horse-breeding business.

Today Graci is pursuing an MBA in accountancy in preparation to take over her father’s tax practice one day. “With one of the best graduate accounting programs in the U.S., the Zicklin School was an easy and convenient choice,” she says.

Graci is already devising a professional schedule that will allow her to be both a successful tax practitioner and a successful horse breeder/entrepreneur. “The tax season will work well with my horse schedule: Tax’s busy season coincides with the breeding season, and its quiet time corresponds with show season.”

—Diane Harrigan

Related story: Q&A with Entrepreneur and Current MBA Student Josephine Graci (’12)

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