Alexander Marr ’20 LABB Intern – First off, I would like to thank the Lilly Endowment and Wabash College for allowing my peers and me to experience the LABB program. It truly is a learning experience as well as a place to gain and build relationships.

This week, we learned from Valerie Griffin about three different financial statements. She walked us through a program that helped us make our own income statements as well as balance sheets based on statistics from different companies. If any of us wish to run our own business, it is essential to be able to successfully write an income statement and balance sheet. We also created business plans for food trucks and presented them to investors, which proved rather nerve-wracking. Later in the week and following into the weekend, we had an opportunity to communicate with Wabash alumni at Big Bash.

On Tuesday, we gave mini pitches of our business plans for food trucks. Intended to be around 7 minutes, each turned out to be about 20 due to constructive criticism as well as questions from investors. Many of us felt unprepared, incapable of being able to answer questions that were presented, which gave us incentive to develop our business plans with greater depth. Further research and new ideas were needed to create a full business plan and a successful pitch. Luckily, we were given until Thursday to regroup and take considerations for our plans. One addition that my team included in our final presentation was a sheet with backgrounds and personalities of all our group members, which gave a basis of who we are and where we come from. Another concept that my group developed further was a budget that focused on the initial costs and each monthly cost, which let our investors envision the start to our business.

On Thursday, we gave our pitches on the full design of our food trucks. Four groups made and presented an entire business plan for investors to hear, who appropriated money to invest according to how well each business plan was. We also saw our peers present their ideas as well, which helps establish standards for these presentations and gives expectations for progress for future business plans and presentations. As nerve-wracking as it was, it was great to hear positive feedback about how much we have progressed as well as hearing that Roland Morin was impressed with our work.

Friday and Saturday gave my peers and I our first opportunity to network since we began the LABB program. I conversed with more than 40 alumni, of which 2 handed business cards to me allowing me to contact them in search for a job in the future. Many of the alumni were very curious about the internship that I have this summer, and the idea seemed to strike all their attentions. I recognized the importance of the key ideas to remember when networking, including a proper handshake, speaking with confidence, and being open minded. Taking the time to focus on being able to effectively network has a greater importance than I had initially thought.

It certainly has been a busy and full week, with many learning experiences in the classroom as well as introducing ourselves in the real-world setting. I can say that I have gained knowledge that makes me better understand the business world. Again, I would like to thank the Lilly Endowment and Wabash College for making this experience possible. I am looking forward to what the next 5 weeks have in store for myself and my peers.