Evan Frank ’19 LABB Intern – During my first two weeks of the LABB program, I have learned about finance and entrepreneurship, topics that are otherwise unavailable in a traditional liberal arts classroom. However, I am starting to assimilate how the critical thinking and analyzing abilities learned through an inter-disciplinary liberal arts education can be utilized in the world of business and finance. I would like to thank the Lilly Endowment for providing my peers and me this opportunity to kick-start our business careers.

Our focus for the second week centered on finance and the importance thereof. Valerie Griffin, a veteran of the field, coached us to help improve our understanding of finance. Throughout the week, we learned how to analyze financial documents such as income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements to make business decisions. The LABB program has exposed me to information in addition to my already diversified academic curriculum to help develop real world skills that I can use after school.

Our predominant task for this week was to deliver business pitches about our food truck idea that each group developed.  We had a lot of fun doing this project.  There were four groups – two with five members and two with four.  The goal was to sell our idea with two pitches to a group of investors that would decide whether they wanted to invest in our idea.  We gave our initial pitches on Tuesday and our final pitches on the following Thursday.  For the first pitch, the groups received 10 minutes to give an idea of what their company would look like.  My group talked about where we would operate, what food we would sell, when we would be open, etc.  We missed a lot of details originally, but we were able to identify some of those shortcomings after the presentation with the help of the investors.  The second pitch was then much more refined.  The groups were given 20 minutes a piece and in addition to the original ideas of the truck, we were able to talk about the finances of the food truck, what food we would sell, who we were competing with, etc.  The second pitches were much more polished as all of the groups could improve from the feedback we were given after the first pitch.  The feedback was especially helpful to develop a better understanding of all of the factors that go into pitching a business idea – in this case, specifically factors such as paying the chef, finding locations, having a licensed place to prepare food before serving. All these along with the financial projections go into establishing a sustainable food truck.  I felt it was also great practice to get in front of both the groups and the investors to sell our ideas.  I am not used to speaking in public, and I understand the importance of this in business and finance fields.  As such, this program is helping me to broaden my avenues.

So far, the LABB program has shown me how to think from a business perspective.  My goal going into the program was to figure out how my education would fit in in the real world of business and finance, and I am very pleased with the progress I have made so far.  I look forward to continuing my growth during the remaining weeks of LABB.