David Thomas ’19 LABB 2016-I couldn’t have thought of a better way to spend my summer than with the LABB program. Most of us started the program not knowing much about how the business world works, having little exposure to the mechanics that govern success from a small business level to a corporate scale. I initially had anxieties as I entered this program; I was nervous that I would be caught in an avalanche of details that I would not be able to digest quickly. After all, we were only spending seven weeks with very arduous material (according to Mr. Morin, our director, we were examining Harvard Business School cases that were at a GRADUATE level. Yeah, graduate). On top of this, I feared that my hearing impairment would inhibit my capacity to grasp all the necessary details that I needed to acquire. You can bet that my first day was nerve racking.
As time progressed, however, we settled into a rhythm of working progress. In the first four weeks we tackled a financial bootcamp, followed by Harvard Business School case studies, and a crash course on marketing and networking. Also, we were able to achieve LEAN certification, making ourselves more marketable to the job market. My initial anxieties were quelled by the safe, reassuring learning environment that I was in. We were free to ask questions and voice opinions without judgment. I was able to get help when I did not hear something properly.
As we entered the fifth week of LABB, we were introduced to a consulting project. Our experience thus far with the program enabled us to analyze the different aspects of this project. Skills such as research, team work, and communication were employed in our analysis. We were able to ask meaningful questions about the project that allowed us to gather the necessary data and answers for our employer. Effective team work allowed us to divide our job duties logically amongst skill sets, so that we may reach our goals in a timely manner. Lastly, correctly communicating our findings displayed our analysis clearly and concisely. Our work with the consulting project proves a clear resonance with our Liberal Arts education as Wabash men; an exhibition of our capacity to think critically, act responsibly, lead effectively, and live humanely.
Overall, LABB was a very valuable learning experience. I would definitely recommend this program to future students. Even if a participant was not aspiring to become an entrepreneur, the skills taught here have broad applications that will eventually prove useful in job searches and personal finance. Personally, I have finished this program with a greater confidence in my ability to succeed as an entrepreneur. In closing, I extend my sincerest gratitude towards the Lilly Endowment for providing Wabash students with this program.