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Marco Ortega ’17 The Business of Brewing

Wow did I have an interesting day this Friday.

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Ortega ’17

My fellow LABB Interns and I visited the IU Research and Technology Corporation and the Triton Brewing Company in Indianapolis. While Wabash alum Joe Trebley ’01 was quite the cool guy to talk to at IURTC, I’m going to be focusing on my first tour of a craft brewery. (I swear it’s not just because it involves the creation of beer!) I can genuinely say I learned a lot about brewing and all the factors that go into the business in general.

 Alum David Waldman ’93 is the co-founder of Triton and gave us a detailed tour of the brewery; he covered the history behind the building, (it used to be an army base,) what goes into creating a batch, and their unique competitive advantage. Triton prides itself on not only quality ingredients, but also having the highest quality water go into their beer. Considering more than 95% of the beer consists of water, they figured starting with ultra-pure H2O would give their beer a distinctive taste/advantage.
 It should be said that I not only learned what went into making their beer, I also learned that running a brewery isn’t easy. It is one of the most scrutinized goods in the economy; another good that is comparably more scrutinized is pharmaceuticals. As a brewer, you need to be aware of mandatory government regulations, how many bags of hops you have on hand, how much is expected to be brewed by a certain date, and many, many other constant concerns. Sure, you get to brew and create beer for a living, but you are still running a business that deals with ever-changing markets, demands, and competition.
Marco and Dave strike a pose at Triton Brewery

Marco and Dave strike a pose at Triton Brewery

I feel that this experience really broadened my horizon in terms of my perception of the craft-brewing industry. There are passionate brewers behind each brewery that go through the same creative struggles as David. There is much more than meets the eye in terms of difficulty in starting, running, and succeeding in craft-brewing. This trip also reminded me that one can follow their passion and bring it into their everyday career life and succeed. I feel very excited for my life after Wabash and to execute my ambitions as well.

I’d really like to thank the LABB Program at Wabash and also the Lilly Endowment for granting me this beautiful opportunity to explore the many facets of business, marketing, and entrepreneurship along with these on-site visit experiences.I know the things I learn and people I meet during these next few weeks will better prepare me for my life after Wabash.

Delon Pettiford ’17 Real World Marketing Applications

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Pettiford ’17

During week three of the LAAB internship we transitioned to the ideas and strategies of Business of Marketing. Throughout the week we learned a numerous amount of relatable business terms for marketing, strategic marketing vs tactical marketing, and the importance of networking. Monday we all had given our own business pitches for a theoretical restaurant which allowed us to use some of these experiences in a real world situation by creating things like income statements, balance sheets, and marketing strategies. We have also been given great opportunities like meeting alumni such as Rob Shook IBM’s chief strategic industry solution. His talk about motivation, creating opportunities for yourself, and networking was great encouragement for us to reach out to alumni because they are here to help. He spoke of how he stood on alumni’s shoulders to reach his goals and as a Wabash man he owes it to the college to pay back his dues and help out the younger generations of Wabash students.

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LABB students finishing up their negotiation practice

Throughout the internship I’ve learned real world business situations from the many hands-on activities we’ve done throughout the internship, site visits of different start up business, and building relations and meeting alumni. I’ve also learned to speak “business” in the sense of learning many different business vocabulary and understanding all the paperwork behind starting and owning a business. I would like to give a huge thanks to the Lilly Endowment for funding the program. I’ve learned so much in the first three weeks that can be applied to many real world situations. With my Rhetoric major and Econ minor I plan to get into business marketing and then one day own my own business. This internship has opened my eyes to the actual work that goes into business and has motivated me to continue to follow my dreams because they are definitely obtainable with hard work and dedication. Thank you Lilly Endowment

Connor Rice ’17 Continued Education in Marketing

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Rice ’17

First off I would like to take a brief moment to thank the Lilly Endowment for providing me with the opportunity to take part in the LABB program. This week we welcomed our instructor Roland Morin, back from relinquishment of his role to Will Weber ’11 who is was versed in finance and took on the responsibility of imparting his knowledge onto us. At the beginning of the week we did our restaurant pitches that were supposed to one, give us an idea of what being an entrepreneur is like, two, to provide us with the experience to give pitches in front of judges who acted as potential clients, and finally as Roland delicately put it, “to never want to start a restaurant ever”.  I thought all the members of the Labb program did a fantastic job presenting their restaurant ideas to the judges and I quickly became aware of how innovative my fellow co-workers are.  My group in particular received the most investments from the judges so we were very excited that they found the family restaurant to have the most potential out of all the great ideas that the other groups presented.  Later that week we had Dean Raters come in and present his consulting project that presents a challenging but doable task.  My colleagues are excited to begin working on that project and I am sure they will be efficient and effective with their efforts.  With Roland back in the mix we

The LABB students sit and listen as Dean Raters explains their upcoming consulting project

The LABB students sit and listen as Dean Raters explains their upcoming consulting project

went through a Marketing 101 crash course that took us through the essentials of marketing and it gave us an opportunity to practice the strategies and concepts we learned in group activities.  After participating in the marketing immersion program and my brief experience with the Labb program I believe that marketing is the career path for me.  Roland’s expertise in the field has and will be valuable for myself and my co-workers for the duration of our internship and for possible future internships.  We capped off a successful week with guest speaker, Rob Shook talking about his career with IBM and the keys to having a successful career in business and in life.  I was moved by his words and he is definitely an alum that all Wabash men should aspire to become.  He has proven to be a successful man of the industry as well as a man of faith and for that I can call him a hero of mine.

Chris Szostek ’17 Hurdles in Financing

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-Szostek ’17

This week was the Financial Boot Camp. We were lucky enough to have Will Weber ’11 come into class to teach us everything we needed to know about the financial details of starting, maintaining, and operating our own business.  Personally, the largest hurdle that would come to my mind in starting a new business was generating the initial capital. It was always tough to get my mind around the amount of capital needed to start a business. I couldn’t understand how anyone did it! It seemed like you had to already have a boatload of resources to work with. How can anyone do it from nothing? All of my questions were answered and more. Will was very generous with his knowledge and gave all of the details on creating a start-up from nothing. Will taught us about where to find the initial capital and where to look for investors. It boiled down to four main avenues. Bank loans, angel investors, friends and family, and credit cards were the best solutions. We learned about the pros and cons of each source, and what to expect when lobbying for initial investments. We learned how to finance and how to budget our ventures. After looking at the hard figures, and learning how to map out our financial forecast, everything suddenly became clear.  Starting a business no longer seemed like a pipe dream. The LABB internship has already far surpassed my already high expectations, and it is only the beginning of week 3! I look forward to what else is to come, and I am very excited to learn how to build even more bridges to business. I would like to extend a huge thank you to the Lilly Endowment for funding this incredible program, Will Weber for lending his time this past week, and Roland Morin for taking the lead in the LABB program.

Deryion Sturdivant ’17 Talking Business

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Sturdivant ’17

First week is down in the books. During our first week we were tasked with crafting a business plan for a variety of different restaurant types. Beginning this business plan has been eye opening as I am just being introduced to the business field. There is so much that goes into a single business plan and I am intrigued to learn the ins and outs of it, as we work on it the next two weeks. One of this week’s highlights was watching Shark Tank. I’d never seen this television show before. Watching entrepreneurs give pitches of a lifetime in front of four “sharks”, venture capitalists, gave me ideas for future endeavors. I was able to make connections to real life business, and our current business plan because of the show. Every company is backed by a strong business plan, as it is the foundation and glue to any successful company. Weston Gregg, who led the LABB program the first week, occasionally paused the show, to ask questions that kept us engaged. Often he would ask if we would invest in the entrepreneurs company, I’d like to think that investing in other people’s dreams is just as important as investing in your own. Next Monday we are planning on giving pitches of our own and I hope to use some of the concepts of presenting that that we were able to observe on Shark Tank. Many times on Shark Tank poor ideas are overshadowed by the strength of the presentation. It is my goal to be such a strong presenter that no matter the content, I am captivating and convincing. For example, the group of interns gave pitches about ourselves in order ascertain our strengths and weaknesses so that we could be divided into groups for our first business plans.  I take pride in my ideas and values, which is what I believe made my pitch strong. I was assigned to a group that I believe is going to be extremely successful. To be apart of the business field, we must be self-confidence, and put our best foot forward in every endeavor. Finally I would like to thank the generosity of the Lilly Endowment for providing me with the opportunity to take part in the LABB program.

The LABB students after introductions on the first day of their internship

The LABB students after introductions on the first day of their internship

Christian Rodriguez ’17 Productive Business Background

Rodriguez ’17

I would first like to take this opportunity to thank the Lilly Endowment for its generous support and investment in my education. The first week of the Liberal Art Bridge to Business (LABB) program has just been completed and my fellow LABB interns and I have already taken part in engaging exercises and activities to help us develop a better understanding for business and entrepreneurship. Some of these exercises included Power-Point presentations with the goal of improving our speaking skills and confidence in front of a live group of listeners. For example, our first task consisted of making a 5-minute presentation over a topic of our choice, with a wide variety of topics ranging from “Why Chipotle is the best restaurant in existence” to favorite sports teams and movie series’ on television. Keep in mind that after 5 minutes of presenting, many colleagues were encouraged to give positive feedback on how we each presented. Dean Oprisko was also present to provide helpful tips on how to give a more effective and convincing presentation. Tips ranged from body language and time management to voice intonation. I would like to thank Dean Oprisko for donating his time and efforts to the LABB program.

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Alejandro Reyna ’17 gives his 5-minute presentation in front of his fellow LABB interns

I felt it was very effective watching others being critiqued as well because I was able to learn from their presentations and polish my own. Preparation for the presentations included creating a personalized Power-Point with valid information and practice presenting to others on our own time. Practice was necessary until we could we could comfortably present our Power-Points within 10 seconds of the 5 minute mark. The significance of the 5-minute mark was to teach us how to provide valid information to business associates without taking up too much of their time because in the real world, time is money. Also, practice in front of others was necessary to make us more comfortable in presenting. This whole exercise was very helpful in getting me out of my comfort zone and communicating in front of large groups effectively and persuasively which is an essential ability in the business world. I look forward to the following weeks of the LABB Program and learning more about business and entrepreneurship!

Thanh Tran ’17 The Art of Persuasion

 

Than and Pete

 

Thanh Tran ’17- It’s hard to believe that 5 weeks of my internship had already passed. The last 5 weeks was an excellent work experience. Speaking of email marketing, people may assume that there’re not much work involved in it. As I told my friend once about my internship title, he asked me: “So you just sit there and click the send button?” I wished it could be simple as that but “unfortunately”, in fact, it was not. I have to admit that I was a bit worried before my internship started since I just finished my first year and didn’t have many course works in business. However, with the step-by-step instructions from Curtis Peterson ’10 and other team members, I was able to learn and enhance my skills substantially in marketing.

Angie’ List is a consumer-reviews company whereby people sign up for membership to view the reviews of other customers and use the recommended services. In other word, it’s a reciprocal platform of which Angie’s list suggests the best service providers to consumers and in return, the consumers leave the reviews after they use the services. The Email Marketing team, of which I intern in, is a core function of that review-based system. Our job is to get the members to sign-up for membership as well as help them leave the reviews after they use a service or purchase a deal. Our team has four great members. They are Jared, Weston, Seth and my supervisor, Curtis Peterson. My internship wouldn’t become a great learning and working experience without the dedicated guidance from Jared and Curtis. As I mentioned above about the email marketing function, my internship tied to the review collection, including updating and analyzing data. On a daily basis, I handle most of the tasks with Excel and some specialized email marketing tools, which are ExactTarget, Formstack, FTP and AL-tool. On every Monday, I cleaned up the submission spreadsheet that I pulled out from Formtack to calculate the conversion rates of the test and control groups. Then, I conducted A/B split tests to determine which one is the winner of the weekly email campaign. I also sent out review emails to over one million member on every Monday, which was quite intimidating since a small error could mess up the whole process. On Friday, I executed quality assurance (QA) to ensure proper emails templates and resolution regardless of viewing screens before they were sent. In addition, the best part of my internship was the email project, thanks to the great initiative of Curtis Peterson. First of all, I created four types of Gmail accounts based the increasing level of engagement: they never engaged, rarely engaged, less engaged and engaged. With those accounts, I signed up for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, TripAdvisor, HomeAdvisor and Yelp. I keep track of the emails from those websites to calculate the email frequency as well as the way they approach members with respect to different engagement degrees. And for that reason, my project is also called the email “spy” project. Indeed, I found out very interesting things about how each Websites above email their members. For instance, Facebook keeps the same subject lines for their emails, whereas LinkedIn tweaked their emails a lot.

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Speaking of my internship, it would be a serious mistake if I didn’t mention the workplace environment at Angie’s List. Angie’s List does care about its employees. Indeed, we don’t have to wear business casual to work. People can wear whatever they want as long as they’re appropriate. There is a small gym on campus where employees can have a short break to work out. Angie’s List employees can enroll in a fitness program of which they get awarded for a number of pounds they lose. During my internship, the human resource team organized an Interns Olympic Day where interns competed against each other in a variety of outdoor games. It was a fun day as all of us have the great opportunity to know each other. My friend Shelby Logan from Northwestern University won the Intern of the Year. Along with that, working with my team is an interesting thing too. People here are very friendly as they’re willing to help when you reach out to them. We also have a Friday lunch that people at the Marketing department can have lunch together. Just so you know, I had a Friday lunch with Angie Hick once. As my supervisor Curtis told me on his last day at Angie: “Money is important but not everything, what matters is who you’re working with.”

Now, I can say with confidence that my knowledge of email marketing was substantially improved. What you show on your email has a significant impact on the viewers. It can be a subject line, a picture or an appealing call-to-action. Email marketing is cost-effective, yet the most effective marketing campaign. With that being said, it’s a job that requires creativity, innovation and meticulous analysis.

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Finally, I would like to take my last part to thank Wabash College for offering such great opportunities like this to Wabash students. I also want to thank Lilly Endowment, Inc for providing me this opportunity. Without the funding from Lilly, this would not be possible. Last but not least, I want to say my biggest thanks to Curtis Peterson ’10 and Jared Campbell for guiding and teaching me with great dedication.

Fenton ’15 Sunshine State

Left to Right: Adam Andrews '12, Stephen Fenton '15, and Andrew Shelton '03 at Paramount in front of their new robotic plastic injection press

Left to Right: Adam Andrews ’12, Stephen Fenton ’15, and Andrew Shelton ’03 at Paramount in front of their new robotic plastic injection press

Stephen Fenton ’15 - Halfway through my internship at Paramount Mold and Tool, I have learned numerous invaluable lessons regarding business and professionalism, as well as learning a lot about myself and how to function in a fast-paced, diverse, and completely different world. Paramount Mold is a plastic injection plant where various plastic products are manufactured, ranging from PVC pipes to remote controls to extremely important medical devices and parts. Aside from the plastic injection aspect of the factory, Paramount is unique in that it still constructs its own plastic injection tools (or molds), as well as tools for other plastic injection plants. Paramount Mold and Tool is owned and operated by Wabash alumnus Andrew Shelton ’03, and more recent alumnus Adam Andrews ’12 presides over the sales department. Although both men preside over numerous business duties, they are both highly invested in the factory itself, and the production of Paramount’s products from A to Z. In my effort to assist the Paramount staff in its continual growth, I have gathered data regarding numerous aspects of the factory and its production, and then transposing it into a digital format while providing initial analysis. I have also had the chance to compose, review, and edit workplace organizational systems and literature. In undertaking these activities, I have learned invaluable lessons regarding business, from plant management to logistics to pricing and sales, all the while learning more technical skills, from Excel to a workplace computer program called JobBOSS, and many other business important computer programs in between.

As great as my summer at Paramount has been, my time away from the office has been a tremendous experience in itself. I drove through six and a half treacherous hours of Florida traffic on the afternoon before my internship started and arrived at a place in downtown Fort Lauderdale that I had never seen and had a hard time imagining. Since then I have met great people and felt right at home; nearly everyone here is very accommodating and is willing to talk to you, which if you know me, is nice to see. I have never felt too far from home, for I’ve had family down here for what seems like half of my time here (one of the many perks of being birthed into a family of “Floridians”). I have also made numerous weekend adventures to the cosmopolitan metropolis of Miami, which is like nothing that I have ever experienced in my life. While dining at a famous Cuban restaurant and coffee shop deep in the heart of Miami, David Beckham and his family came in and sat down next to my family and I, all after an excellent, in-depth tour of the beautiful Marlins Park. Outside of the hustle and bustle of Miami, I was lucky enough to be taken out onto the deep sea with Wabash alumnus and fraternity brother Cory Olson ’85 and his live-in intern and classmate of mine, Hongli Yang ’15, where we collectively caught two amber jacks and two great and delicious gag groupers, all before I was able to catch my first ever sailfish. My summer in the Sunshine State has given me memories and lessons that will last forever, and I am extremely grateful for the opportunity that I have been given through the Small Business Internship Fund.

Nick Sommer ’15 The Many Hats of Business

IMG_5324Wearing many hats

Nick Sommer ’15 - Growing up working in a small family business, I accustomed to working in an environment where everyone is close to each other, and every worker wears many different hats.  Finding Connecta Corporation has to be one of the closest internships I could have found to my family’s small business.  In this small manufacturing business of small precision parts, I have put my liberal arts education to the test while working through the long list of a variety of projects to be completed by the end of the summer.  Working for a company of this size (less than 20 employees) I have to produce quality work and contribute immensely in order to help the company continue to do business.

My work this summer has required me to wear many different hats as one may say.  I’ve done jobs from repairing parts, to accounting work, and even marketing.  Since I started later in the summer, I was thrown into the middle of a huge project: completely redesigning the way the company stocks their raw material.  This system involves reorganizing material into PVC pipes, separating them by material, alloy, and purchase number.  My to-do-list for this summer has also included updating the company’s website and creating and posting on the company’s social media pages, along with many other miscellaneous tasks.  My fellow intern, an engineering student at Butler University, and I have created videos, sales brochures, and bounced ideas back and forth in order to improve and modernize the company’s marketing capabilities.

What have I learned from this experience?  Well, it would be tough to squeeze everything I’ve learned into one blog.  One aspect that I have learned is not only vital in a business setting, but in everyday life as well.  This is accountability.  Since this is such a small business, you are expected to pull your weight and complete each and every job in a timely manner.  The business is like a team; where everyone is expected to do their part and work together in order to be successful.  I know I can rely on anyone here in the company for help and I can count on them as more than just co-workers.

I would like to thank the Lilly Endowment, Inc. for making this internship possible.  Having real world experience is very important for any student to gain before graduating from college, and what Lilly Endowment provides for students like me is awesome.  I would also like to thank Mr. Scott Crawford and Mr. Alan Pyle ‘67 for giving me this opportunity to work for Connecta Corp.

Alan Ortiz ’17 LABB Introduces Business Concepts

Alan Ortiz ’17 - The Liberal Arts Bridges to Business was an excellent opportunity for me to see what the business world is like.  It is an excellent program full of fun and great opportunities to learn a great amount about the business world.  All seven weeks were a great experience and I will definitely recommend it to as many people as I possibly can next year.  Throughout the seven weeks I had many challenges to overcome and a great amount of work to do, but it was exciting work and I really enjoyed all the tasks that I had in hand, because I was able to work on many of my weak spots.  I was challenged to think critically everyday and I got to talk to many extremely successful alums.

There were many great experiences throughout the seven weeks, but my personal favorite was when we visited JMI and met with Wes Zirkel ’98.  He talked to us about the business side of marketing and how lawyers are extremely involved in marketing deals.  He also showed us the sexy side of marketing and I was extremely impressed by what he does.  I also enjoyed his stories about all of the work experience that he had and everything that he has done throughout the years.  I was extremely impressed by all of his achievements and all that he has done at such a young age.  At JMI we also got to see many exotic cars, which I thought, were really cool!

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Ortiz ’17 at JMI

The last week of the LABB program we presented our consulting project.  This was a project that we had been working on for about 5 weeks.  My group suggested to incorporate a new system called EMS.  I thought that our presentation was a great one and even though I did not have the chance to present I think that our work paid off.  In conclusion I would like to say that doing this program was something that has really helped me in being a more educated individual in the business world, and I would like to thank the Lilly Endowment and our teacher Roland Morin ’91 for putting this internship together and allowing us to have this great opportunity.


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