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Taylor ’15 Applies Passion for Start-ups

Anyone that knows me, knows that I am start-up crazy. I love learning about start-up companies, working for start-up companies, and generally try to incorporate them into conversation as much as possible. So when looking for my summer internship it was a clear choice to interview through the Small Business Internship Fund (SBIF), which offered a chance to work with start-ups/small businesses across the country with a stipend. Yeah, I’m getting paid to learn. I met some really great alumni during the interview process who were all working on some really cool ventures. In the end, a start-up consulting firm called W-Advisors & Co. seemed liked the right fit.

Taylor '15 attends Detroit Economic Club Luncheon

Taylor ’15 attends the Detroit Economic Club Luncheon session titled “De-Globalization: Retooling Global Operations for Strategic Advantage.” Pictured (from left to right) Jim Moffat, Chairman & CEO Deloitte Consulting LLP; Dr. David Cole, Chairman Emeritus, Center for Automotive Research, Chairman, Auto Harvest; David Szczupak Executive Vice President of Global Product Organization, Whirlpool Corporation.

W-Advisors & Co. is a consulting firm based out of Detroit, MI and is run by David Woessner ’01. David had spent the last 7 years consulting for large firms like Deloitte and P3, but now he was ready to put the skills he had acquired to the test in his own venture. His interview process required the examination of a series of work packages and the creation of a proposal on the packages I would like to work on. The interview process was unlike any other I had in the series and it was the first sign that this internship would be learning intensive. It did not let me down.

My internship could be broken down into three sections: business development, corporate consulting, and personal growth. I have spent two weeks so far in the city of Detroit helping to establish W-Advisors as a company and a brand. I’ve gotten the chance to attend networking events like the Detroit Economic Club luncheon, where I met some of the biggest movers and shakers in Detroit; participated in a meeting with C-level executives; and built out many of the company structures that will exist once my internship is complete.

The other four weeks of my internship have been spent in Greenville, SC working at the ZF Transmissions factory. I have been playing a supporting role here, along with a team from P3 North America, as we work to help our client overcome some systemic obstacles they are facing. The days run from 6am-6pm for 6 days a week, with some more outside assignments sprinkled throughout the gaps. I thought my 8am Research and Methods class was tough. I’ve had to become a PowerPoint/Excel pro, because I’ve learned that communicating through visual representation is key in consulting. My biggest achievement so far is turning 2 months of truck check-ins/check-outs (over 2,500!) stored in boxes, into a meaningful data set, and eventually into meaningful slides, in order to show the impact our team has had on shipping and receiving. I’m now managing a multi-million dollar project plan, and with that learning more than I could have imagined about the way a nearly $1B factory is run.

Woessner '01 and Taylor '15

Woessner ’01 and Taylor ’15 at the Wabash Admissions Networking Event held at a Detroit Tigers game

If you know me, you know that on top of being fascinated with start-ups I am also very interested in understanding the way people work. This experience, so far, has challenged my conception of myself and of the professional world. I’ve seen that sometimes executive meetings can look just like fraternity chapter meetings and that even pay checks are not enough of a motivation for a work force. I’ve seen that some people, no matter the age, are still not able to put themselves after the greater good. I’ve seen that just because you want something doesn’t mean that you are willing to make the tough choices to get it. I’ve also seen that there are people out in the world who truly want to make the most positive impact that they can. I’ve met people who have opened up to a curious young man and shared themselves in the hopes that their experiences would help him grow. I’ve seen people driven by such passion, that even though they are unsure of what is to come, they are certain that what they are doing is right. I’ve learned that if you want to see it in the world then you must be willing to create it. I’ve found mission, courage, and strength inside myself that I thought was a distant possibility. It’s only week 5. Let’s see what the rest of this internship has in store.

Johnson ’16 Out of Classroom, Away from Desk

Jordan Johnson '16 SBIF MeiWu

Johnson ’16 measures vibrations from a nearby railway

Jordan Johnson ‘16 – In my brief stint here at Mei Wu Acoustics I have learned many new and unexpected things. My time as an intern through the Small Business Internship Fund has already helped me to begin developing a better idea of what I want to do as a future profession. First off, I have always thought I wanted a job where I can get out of the office and go do site visits and observe the situation, instead of being solely an office worker. My new position has solidified my perspective on wanting to get out of the office on occasion. Part of my job as the intern has been to go help setup equipment on site visits. I have thoroughly enjoyed the visits, as I have had the opportunity to see a large portion of the beautiful Bay Area and other parts of California.

This leads me to discuss what it is like working in the Bay Area/Silicon Valley. Different than I had originally thought, work is quite relaxed and on your own time. Most places don’t have distinct rules on when you have to arrive or how long you work; you are still required to get your work done, but if you want to do it at home that is fine. I really enjoy this part of the work culture in California. It makes life a little less stressful when you have other things bogging down your mind (high rent payments, cost of food, gas, etc.).

As for what I do on a daily basis, 60% of my time is spent in the office working on a computer or helping the other engineers on their projects. I have really appreciated being able to help some others in the company, because it usually means they have to take some of their personal time to show me what they are working on and how they did it. Some of the things I have been asked to do include: copying data and simplifying calculations in Excel, creating spreadsheets to make projects easier, taking measurements, recording data, and best of all, marching through woods covered in poison oak in order to take a sound measurement (since I am supposedly immune to poison oak). Not to mention walking right over the top of a rattle snake.

Jordan Johnson '16 SBIF MeiWu 2

Left to right: Tom Pizarek ’09, Mei Wu Acoustics’ owner, with employees, Josh, Gabriel, Eric, and Jeff

On the more technical side I have learned a lot about acoustics and engineering; but surprisingly, I have learned more about doing business with other people and how a small business manages to get work. Sure, in class you can learn to calculate the sound pressure level of a noise equally dispersed throughout a room, traveling through gypsum wall board with wood studs, and then again equally dispersed into another room (taking into account the reverberation time of the room, transmission loss from the wall, and directivity). Yet, school can’t teach you how to explain how this works to a business owner who doesn’t want to violate noise codes, and may know nothing about acoustics or engineering. I have learned that being able to explain how things work to a customer is one of the greatest struggles for engineers and acoustical consultants. Hopefully having the opportunity to see and hear this occur first hand, will help me in the future when I become an engineer and need to explain what is going through my head.

Grant Klembara ’15 - In late January, I attended the winter Trustee-Alumni Board Dinner with some of my fellow Wallies. After mingling with a variety of doctors, CEOs, entrepreneurs, and other successful alumni, I found myself sitting at a table with Jim Kerr ’92, the VP of Business Development at Allegient, LLC. Eager to make good first impressions, students anxiously introduced themselves around the dinner table. Alumni, on the other hand, cracked jokes to break the ice and calm the noticeable tension. Before long, everyone began sharing stories, ideas, concerns, and life lessons that related back to our beloved college. Jim and I swapped stories about sports and life, recounting the sweet memories that will forever shape our views of Wabash. The night ended with contact sharing, hand-shaking, goodbyes, and promises to keep in touch.

Little did I know that four months from then, I would be the newest member of the Allegient marketing team—sitting just on the other side of the wall from Jim’s office. With no previous ‘corporate’ work experience, I really didn’t know what to expect. Guidance from Brad Pusateri ’14, my fraternity brother and Allegient’s last Wabash intern, eased some of that uncertainty. He helped me through the application process and introduced me to Lindsey LaBerge, Allegient’s Marketing Manager.

Since my first day in May, I’ve had not only the privilege to work with Lindsey and Josh Burkhead, the newly hired Social Media Coordinator, but the opportunity to learn from them and their experiences. I’d like to thank both them and the entire Business Development Team for supporting and directing me these past five weeks, and for accepting me as a member of the team. It truly has been an amazing learning experience.

Klembara '15

Klembara ’15

At this point, you’re probably thinking, “That’s great, Grant… but what have you being doing for the past five weeks?” I’ll stop dancing around the question. I’ve been Inbound Marketing Certified for Hubspot, a company providing a SaaS to help other companies with their online marketing strategies. I’m also currently working on a sales certification in two Microsoft products: SharePoint and Dynamics CRM. I’ve written several blogs addressing Allegient’s new partnerships, researched Allegient’s use of social media outlets and produced reports/schedules for each (i.e. Twitter and LinkedIn), and I’ve participated in business meetings, webinars, in-person seminars, and event planning committees.

One of my favorite experiences thus far has been my interaction with Element Three, a marketing agency just down the road. Allegient is currently in the process of formalizing a “Brand Plan,” to help enhance and direct their marketing efforts. From a marketing perspective, I simply couldn’t be with Allegient at a better time. I have been free to actively participate in the discussion thanks to Lindsey and the Allegient Team.

There’s a difference between being busy and doing busywork. There’s no doubt I’ve been busy. This internship has proven to be unique; activities such as filing folders, making copies, and running tedious errands have not been a part of this experience. There’s a reason for that. Allegient recognizes the importance of personal improvement and the value of firsthand experience. No matter how big or small their role is, each employee is seen as a valuable resource to the company. I believe it is that attitude that separates the good companies from the great ones.

Of course, none of this would be possible without the Lilly Endowment Fund, so to them I am thankful. This partnership and investment in Wabash College students will undoubtedly continue preparing young men for a successful future.

 

Clanton ’15 Business Immersion Prepares Interns for Success

Clanton ’15

Arion Clanton ’15 – Over these last four weeks this program has evolved to become one of the most entertaining, exciting, and thought-provoking working experiences that I have ever had in the job field. There are many things that I could write about that have stood out to me, but one aspect of the program that I have come to really enjoy are the negotiations over Labor Union vs. Management.  I have enjoyed these negotiations because they have really forced me to think critically and look at every aspect of a situation.  I can be a very controlling person, wanting everything my way; however, I understand that there has to be some give and take to a negotiation.  As a Wabash man, I should know that things in life will not be easy, people will always disagree with me, and I will have to work and fight for whatever I want.  These negotiations have served exactly that purpose. They have opened my eyes to the real world problems that are going on.  They showed me the value in standing your ground, speaking up, and holding your values intact without feeling used or abused. Before this program, I had never considered most of the things we have discussed – not only in our negotiations, but even things like learning how to create a simple business plan.

Clanton and Downing '15 look out over the Indianapolis Public Library

Clanton and Downing ’15 look out over the Indianapolis Public Library

The Liberal Arts Bridge to Business (LABB) program is very important to my continued success here at Wabash College. Coming from a low socio-economic community such as East Chicago and being a successful student athlete, a lot of younger boys and girls really look up to me as a role model.  It is with the help of this program that I can and will continue to be successful and show the younger children of my hometown the importance of an education and networking. It is because of like-minded individuals whom provided the Lilly Endowment that I am able to remain at Wabash.

Thank you again for supporting me, Wabash, and others just like me. I look forward to further partaking in this program and seeing other young Wabash men benefit from your support.

Gregg ’16 Head of Class in Pitch Competition

Gregg ’16

Weston Gregg ’16 - The fourth week of the LABB program has just come to an end. Over this past week we have discussed in depth how franchising a business works and the pros and cons in opening a franchise compared to a solo operation. We also analyzed in depth Cirque du Soleil, which was different than any of the previous businesses we had looked at due to the unique nature of their shows. We also had the chance to briefly watch part of the Cirque du Soleil performance in class, which was quite impressive and made me want to go see the show live sometime in the near future.

Along with partner, Corey Hoffman '16, Gregg earned the most faux-funding for their business plan - Golden Boy Burgers, a food truck which would sell stuffed and deep fried specialty burgers

Along with partner, Corey Hoffman ’16, Gregg earned the most faux-funding for their business plan – Golden Boy Burgers, a food truck which would sell stuffed and deep fried specialty burgers

On Wednesday we finally gave our first business proposal presentations. Honestly this was a huge stress relief, not only for myself, but for the rest of the LABB members as well. We have been working on these proposals since the first week and have put many hours into researching and preparing for them. We gave our presentations to Roland Morin ’91, our instructor, Deborah Woods, the Grants Coordinator at Wabash College, and Cassie Hagan, the Administrative and Recruiting Assistant at Career Services. The six presentations consisted of a specific type of restaurant with each team competing for investments for their respective restaurants. There was a bar, deli, food truck, franchise, café, and typical sit down establishment. In the end, the food truck team consisting of Corey Hoffman and myself, was able to secure the most funding. Later on in the week, we were divided into new teams for our next business proposal – a venture of our choosing. Though the workload will be about the same, I believe this next proposal will be much easier to complete because we are now well aware of all the work that needs to be put in to complete a quality proposal.

Gregg and fellow LABB Interns after completing their business proposal pitches

Gregg and fellow LABB Interns after completing their business proposal pitches

I would like to thank Deborah Woods and Cassie Hagan for taking time out of their busy schedules to listen to all six presentations and provide valuable feedback for each one. I would also like to acknowledge the Lily Endowment and the generous Wabash alumni who support the LABB program for continuing to educate Wabash men in all aspects of business.

Anzalone ’16 Alumni Provide Glimpse into Marketing Careers

Anzalone ’16

Ryan Anzalone ’16 - Wabash has countless benefits, but I have found that the liberal arts education alone falls short in terms of job preparation. The Liberal Arts Bridge to Business (LABB) is a perfect program for me because it has allowed me to get the business-focused education that I felt was missing from my normal Wabash experience.

This week was particularly interesting for me because we learned about marketing. We visited a firm called JMI and learned all about the world of auto sports marketing. A big thanks to Wes Zirkel ’98 for taking the time to share his wisdom and teach us about his experience with marketing. Everything about JMI was cool, down to the exotic car showroom which we got to look around in. Here’s a look at one of the awesome cars in the showroom.

A peek into JMI's exotic car show room as Zirkel '98 gives LABB Interns a tour of the facilities

A peek into JMI’s exotic car showroom as Zirkel ’98 gives LABB Interns a tour of the facilities

Later that day, we went to Triton Brewery and got a grand tour of the facility. David Waldman ’93 followed his passion and founded Triton as a high quality craft brewery. I got to learn about the entire process of brewing starting from the water that comes into the building to the bottled beer which leaves the other side. David, we all had a great time at Triton and enjoyed learning about your career, as well as your time at Wabash.

Before this week started, I understood marketing as advertising primarily, but I learned that there is so much more to it. I’m not sure if I have enough creativity to be a good marketer, but I would definitely enjoy my work if it was my career. The LABB program has taught me and my peers so much in only three weeks, and we are all looking forward to the final four weeks. A special thanks to the Lilly Endowment which made this opportunity possible and to Roland Morin ’91 for pushing us all to work hard and continue to learn about the complex world of business.

Xuan ’17 Applies Creative Thinking to Negotiation

Xuan '17

Xuan ’17

Shane Xuan ’17 – In Week 3, the LABB (Liberal Arts Bridge to Business) team was divided into four groups, who negotiated the terms between the Union and the Management in the 1978 case. The negotiation went fairly well as both sides came up with practical plans. As one of the Union workers remarked after the negotiation, “I realize that there is no winner in the negotiation. As a Union member, I get what I want, which is to raise the minimum wage and to ensure my job.” On the other hand, another management member also acknowledged the fact that the principle of negotiation is to maintain the relationship between the two sides. “Negotiation is to form an agreement between two sides for the long term.” Dan Scoffield ’17 said, “You would not expect the other side to compromise if you do not concede at all.” Moreover, it is interesting to see different approaches to the same problem. One tentative plan proposed was to improve efficiency of the factory by cutting the workers’ welfare program immediately by increasing their minimum wages. Another plan proposed the idea to cut the welfare program progressively while maintaining the current payment rates. Both plans were practical and creative, and won approval from both sides and the program supervisor, Rolan Morin ’91.

LABB Interns collaborate on the team negotiation project

LABB Interns collaborate on the team negotiation project

The whole LABB team should appreciate Lilly’s generous endowment for the opportunity to help us realize how business works in the real world. The merit of a liberal arts education is determined by the ability to apply what we have learned in class to the real world. The LABB program gives us a rare opportunity to practice such application through numerous field trips, in-class work, and the design of business plans. It is now Week 4 of our program, and the business program presentations will be given by the students on Wednesday. After the intensive financial knowledge bootcamp and practice, it is thrilling to see how far the whole LABB team has gone! Thank you Roland for your help, and thank you Lilly!

 

Wilkins ’15 Applies Finance Lessons to Creating Business Plan

Wilkins ’15

Denzel Wilkins ’15 - We have just completed the second week of the LABB program, and up to this point we have learned about how finances work and a bit about investments. I must say I had no idea how either one of these aspects worked in the business world. After a week of site visits and lectures, I am confident that my knowledge is fairly well-rounded in these two categories. I am able to use this knowledge in the restaurant business plan my group is creating.  So, not only are we given the information – we are able to apply them to real world activities, too.

My restaurant team consists of three people: Ryan Anzalone, Thanh Tran, and myself. We have been working on our business plan for about two weeks now and we found out that this is not as easy as we thought it would be. We are franchising Moe’s Southwest Grill and there are many different aspects that go into a business plan that we have to account for. Understanding a business plan is key to knowing what direction you want your business to go.

I would like to thank David Knott ’69, who gave us a huge wake up call about finances and investments. Also, I would like to thank Ron Zimmerman ’93, who came and talked to us about entrepreneurship and the difference between small businesses and large corporations.  Finally, I would like to thank the Lilly Endowment for allowing students this opportunity to receive a crash course of business in a matter of a few weeks, considering we don’t have a business major. Overall, in the second week of the LABB program, I feel that we have already learned so much about business. I would encourage students to take advantage of this opportunity because it is beneficial and provides us with real world experiences. I am excited for the four weeks we have left and what we will know when we finish the program.

Downing ’15 Business and Technology at The Indianapolis Public Library

Eric Downing ’15 – During our first week of the program, we visited the Indianapolis public library for a tour and lecture. First walking into the building, I felt as though I was walking through a museum mixed with a learning and education center. The building was magnificent and breath taking, and I was astounded when I heard there are weddings that take place in the public library throughout the year. Looking at the original library and comparing it to how the library stands today, the growth and evolution of the institution is absolutely amazing. Moving to the CEO of the library, Ms. Nytes, who gave an informational and interesting presentation, I found myself interested in two aspects of her presentation.

Downing ’15

One was the fact that they spent 15% of their revenue on something that will benefit and be used by the public, meaning they are re-feeding 15% of their earning onto the public. The number stood out to me. Earlier in the week, Roland shared that his library was spending double that amount (30%) of their revenue for the public. I began to wonder why there was such a difference in the numbers. We began to learn that libraries with different magnitudes run at different rates for many diverse reasons, and it really allowed me to connect the real world experience with what we later learned.

And the second idea that began to float in my head was this idea of the libraries being flooded with technology. Whether it is ebooks or the computers the library offers, technological advances are impacting libraries. Learning how complex and ordered a library system had to be opened my eyes to an aspect of the library I had never thought about. I always thought of the library as somewhere to get a book for a class assignment, never about the business aspects the library follows. We later learned in class how many industries are being influenced by new technology, and can connect those ideas to the library or other sites we visited this week. These two ideas stuck out to me and I was able connect them to the learning that had taken place in the Liberal Arts Bridge to Business.

Yan ’16 Bridge Between Classroom and Business

Kevin Yan ’16 – I am very fortunate to be a member of the Liberal Arts Bridge to Business (LABB) program this summer with Mr. Ronald Morin’91 and sixteen fellow Wabash participants. It is a seven-week summer program that

Yan ’16

introduces us to the basic principles behind business decisions and consulting, as well as providing a one-week financial literacy workshop. Through this past week in the program, I have gained practical knowledge about finance. Specifically, I learned how to make balance sheets, income sheets, and about accounting practices through lectures, readings, and field trips.

In the first two weeks our typical class period has been from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 to 5 p.m. During the morning session, we discuss global news and then we always watch a TV show called “Shark Tank.” We talk about the advantages and disadvantage of investing in each different startup business and how each case should be developed in the long run. We also review different cases related to diverse business areas from Harvard Business Review. In the afternoon, we continue our discussions about the business cases and work on our business plan and consulting project with our group members.

However, the internship is not limited to the classroom, but also includes on-site visits to many businesses. This past Thursday, we visited Indiana University Research and Technology Corporation with Joe Trebley’01, Head of Startup Support and Promotion. He first discussed the definitions of cash flow and founders equity. He further examined the pros and cons of equity and debt. In the end, we had the opportunity to ask several questions about startup business and finance, and Mr. Trebley patiently answered each question in detail.

I would like to thank the Lilly Endowment, Wabash alumni, friends, and family who have generously donated to the Liberal Arts Bridge to Business Program. I am thankful for the liberal arts education that I am receiving at Wabash College. I feel confident and prepared each day because of the knowledge gained from my economics, rhetoric, and mathematics courses. I am also thankful to have had the opportunity to get to know some of the guys in the program, and I believe that we will work well together. In the upcoming weeks, I look forward to learning more about business development and how that process works. Additionally, I hope that alumni will continue to support this excellent program, opening a door for more liberal arts students to learn about business.