Zach Hogan ’21 LABB Intern– The final week of the LABB (Liberal Arts Bridges to Business) internship was all about showcasing the skills that we developed and the projects that we worked on. Literally. Tuesday, we had our final business pitches for app ideas we developed, and Thursday we presented our consulting projects and recommendations for the college. However, while I prepped, practiced, and presented during this final week, I couldn’t help but gain a reaffirmation in the strength of the Wabash community.
On Tuesday morning we travelled to Indianapolis. It was there that we convened at one of Salesforce’s office buildings, arranged by alum Jake Koeneman Class of 2006, to give our app pitches. We presented to a group of alumni and salesforce employees, who each acted as potential investors, with $50,000 of hypothetical capital that they could choose to invest, or not invest, in the five groups that were presenting. The group that received the most investment would win. The setting was tense, but after undergoing the process of coming up with an app idea, diving into researching how the app would work and actually become a product, and doing mock pitches, we were ready. One of the coolest parts of the experience for me was at the end of the presentation. After my group showcased our slides, we opened up to the investors for questions. It was then that Jake Koeneman said that if we actually planned on starting up our app in the Indianapolis area, that he had a contact who had experience in our app’s field of business that could help us learn and better understand the industry. Jake not only held belief in our team and idea, but he was readily willing to help us.
On Thursday we presented our campus consulting projects. With the help of Wayne Bewley Class of 1985, over the course of several weeks we analyzed processes on campus to make them more LEAN using A3 Thinking. The presentation was attended by members of the Wabash community ranging from the marketing department to the Deans of the College. Similar to the app pitch, the presentations ended with questions being addressed. My group consulted campus parking, and there was a long list of questions. However, while there were many questions, most of them were clarifications on our solution and specific data points. There was still an air of respect, a striving for understanding, and an overarching trust that the attendants— the Wabash community—held in our solution. I think it says something that Wabash College trusts students who haven’t even began their second year to evaluate something as integral as campus parking, and to take that evaluation seriously.
In reflecting on the last week and the overall LABB internship, I learned so much about business and all of its different facets. I believe the LABB program has shown us participants that becoming an entrepreneur takes hard work, but it isn’t as impossible or intimidating as it may seem. I would also like to say that I gained a greater view of what Wabash is willing to do for me, and what can be expected for the future. So, thank you to Roland Morin, the CIBE, Jake and Wayne and all of the other alums who helped, and the overall Wabash community for willing to volunteer time, experience, and go the extra mile for Wabash men.