Brenden King ’16
Brenden King ’16 - It is hard to believe that 5 weeks have already passed in the LABB program. In these first 5 weeks, we have covered everything from writing a business plan to a crash course in marketing and finance. Roland Morin ’91 our instructor and boss was not joking when he said we would receive a mini MBA this summer. This past week may have proven to be the most challenging, but most rewarding, for the course. For our past business plan we were given a few weeks to gather information and present our idea, for this time around we were given a week and I think the entire group agrees that we were able to deliver.
Split up into groups of four to five, we were each tasked with finding an idea for a business and presenting it to prospective investors. My group was made up of Ryan Anzalone, Thanh Tran, Denzel Wilkins, and myself. After a few sessions we came to the idea of a 3D printing schematics company. With only a week to prepare our group, along with the other three, we used every minute we had granted to us to put together our plan.
The end result could not have been more satisfying. All of the groups were able to build their plans with only a week for preparation. The other businesses that my peers created were a marketing firm, a record label, and a cross-fit gym – all of which were researched and presented professionally. The next and final step for the program is the consulting project for Wabash College. I would like to thank the Lilly Foundation and our instructor Roland Morin for making all of this possible.
Mason Zurek ’16
Mason Zurek ’16 - I came into this program fairly hesitant. Business was just something that never seemed to suit me. I’m not a numbers guy, but I love to read and write which is why I’m fairly sure I want to be an attorney. Also, I enjoy competition immensely and law seemed like the proper way to go. So, I figured I could take this program and learn more about business in order to help me later if I go into corporate law.
Yet, as we learn more about business, and specifically entrepreneurship, I find myself hooked for two reasons: the challenge and the potential reward. The idea of putting everything you own on the line in order to be successful is scary, yet enticing. What could be more possibly exhilarating than seeing your gamble pay off? I view it as a competition against myself; seeing if I can actually set out and start a successful business is now something that greatly interests me. The other reason I mentioned, reward, is more of a dream scenario. Building a successful business and selling it off for enough money to retire comfortably by 40 would be wonderful.
In conclusion, I have been having a great time with this internship. I’ve been engaged, questioned, and forced to rely on the analytical skills Wabash has taught me. I’m looking forward to the next two weeks.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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 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.
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
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
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.