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Sayre ’20 discusses Wabash, the LABB program, and the power of the Liberal Arts

Bennett Sayre ’20 LABB Intern– What if I told you we had three weeks to come up with an innovative app solution to an everyday problem, create a business plan for it, and pitch it to an extremely successful panel of investors – all in three weeks. Sounds impossible, right?

Well, with the power of the LABB program and the Liberal Arts, it was anything but impossible.

We started off the program with a rundown of financials; balance sheets, income statements, cash flow statements, estimating three and five-year projections, and everything in between. We moved onto the importance of marketing, product positioning, social media, and brand awareness. We looked at Harvard Business School Cases on funding your own company; from bootstrapping, to angel investors to venture capitalists. We heard from Wabash Alumni about the importance of conducting market research and establishing a competitive advantage in a world filled with unique ideas and innovative solutions. We learned a lot about business and entrepreneurship, but more importantly, we immersed ourselves into something we weren’t too familiar with. Sounds a lot like the liberal arts, and sounds even more like Wabash.

Don’t get me wrong, completing our final business plan of this seven-week internship was undoubtedly demanding. However, the power of the liberal arts was evident throughout this process and the duration of the internship. Business is just as much about creative thinking, researching an unfamiliar topic, building relationships, and speaking in front of an audience as it is about financial projections and marketing. In this seven weeks, we had the pleasure of learning about “all-things business,” but we also had the pleasure of practicing everything we have been taught thus far at Wabash. Our final business plan was a perfect representation of the strength of a liberal arts education, the LABB program, and the beauty of Wabash College.


Winter ’21 – “Give Me a Business Plan, or Give Me Death”

Nick Winter ’21 LABB Intern– The LABB program has given my fellow students and myself the opportunity to create business plans for our mock “apps” and “food trucks” that we have pitched to investors. A business plan may sound menacing at first; however, it is an essential role in creating a great foundation for a business. In fact, I would even say that it is a mandatory step when starting any business… may that be a lemonade stand or a multimillion-dollar company. Business plans describe the problems of the market, the business solution, marketing, financials, management, funding, and provide a timeline. The idea of the business plan is to have all these metrics on one document or presentation. This assures that management always can follow the business plan to stay on course when the business must pivot. A firm, well written business plan keeps the company anchored to the core goals, values, and ethics. When pitching our business plans to “potential investors” our team was able to stay focused on the mission of what our app and restaurant provided. A business plan is a great thing for any business to fall back on in hard times. Our food truck business plan for “Basil’s Gyros” helped us pitch our ideas to potential investors. We had to be sure to clearly show the financials that we forecasted for the investors. Often, we were question on our target market and financials the most. I learned that these two factors go hand in hand with each other. If you have not proved that there is a market and reasonable financial plan, your idea is dead before you even started. We have learned how important it is to clearly define your target market when writing your business plan. A target market is the driving factor of how successful a business is going to be. Without this research, that is shown in the business plan, a business may try to appeal to a market that is not right for their product. Overall, business plans may be tedious; yet, they provide priceless insight to the many important factors of any business.


Marr ’20 Is On “Cloud” Nine With His Internship

Alex Marr ‘2o Trek 10 – During my internship this summer at Trek10, I have been given the opportunity to learn about cloud computing and the nuances within the field. Among the different areas, I have learned the most about serverless cloud computing, which is the field in which Trek10 specializes. Trek 10 has given me several small projects, as well as one large one that has taken most of my time here to complete.

Among the smaller projects, I have created a “Blockchain Competency Application” that follows the design of other Amazon Web Services Competency Applications. Another project included searching through publications created by various universities for keywords relating to the field of cloud computing. If these keywords were in the document, the document would be put into a spreadsheet marking what aspect of cloud computing was an interest for the university and the author of the document would be contacted by Trek10’s CEO.

For my large project, the goal was to create a publication which would be the first meta-review ever created regarding the serverless research community. In preparation to write this meta-review, I had to create a database to store all the information of documents about serverless that I found in Google Scholar. This would include their title, year, authors, journal, keywords, university, and country. After creating this database, I analyzed this information in order to produce graphics that would be the main attention for my meta-review. I then created figures regarding the production from each country, the top institution, the top author, results in Google Scholar by search term, and a projection of the velocity of publications for the next few years. After creating the graphics, the actual writing of the paper came smoothly since all the work had already been completed and I was able to talk to others at Trek10 about my organization and structure of the paper.

The most fun part about this internship was the most challenging part, which was creating a projection of the velocity of publications for the serverless research community. Prior to this internship, I did not have much experience with projections, but it was fun teaching myself and playing around with the data until I found out how to make an accurate projection.

I would like to thank Wabash College and Career Services for the opportunity to learn about new concepts and to allow me to actively engage myself in a work environment.


Fajt ’21 Gets Real Life Examples of Majors Don’t Matter, Experiences Do

Matthew Fajt ’21 LABB Intern– This week, LABB had the opportunity to step out of Crawfordsville and travel to South Bend and Indianapolis to learn the ins and outs of enFocus, Archon Tech Strategies, and Triton Brewery. In South Bend, we learned about enFocus’s impact on the community through the insights of Executive Director Andrew Wiand and Program Director Pat Jones ’15. They talked to us about enfocus’s mission to build a better community through research, consulting, and innovation. They were joined by enFocus fellows and interns (current Wabash students) to speak on behalf of their own projects and experiences. After an insightful Q&A, we received a tour of the new building in which enFocus was operating as well as the old Studebaker facility.

On Friday, we took a visit to Platform 24 and Archon Tech Strategies in Carmel, Indiana to meet with Tony Unfried ’03. Tony is the President of Platform 24, a co-working space, as well as the Indianapolis Association of Wabash Men (IAWM). In addition, Tony is the CEO of Archon Tech Strategies, a business development service. He talked about his experiences and failures after Wabash, emphasizing the importance of marketing research prior to launching a product.

That afternoon, we headed to the east side of Indianapolis to visit David Waldman ‘93, co-founder of Triton Brewing Company. David told his backstory on how he founded the brewery and explained how his liberal arts degree helped him in his career. He then gave us a tour of the Triton, demonstrating to us each step in the making of the product. We learned that David’s philosophy was to place the majority of efforts into the water, because 95% of beer is water. Following the tour, we had the opportunity to try his root beer (because we are not of age), and I must say it was delicious! The main thing that I took away from the visit is that a major does not define your career. Rather, a liberal arts education opens the door for several careers.


Garcia ’21 Learns Business Through Beauty

Joe Garcia ’21 Lavender and Hops Style Lounge – Over the course of the month of June, I have had the unique opportunity to intern for Ms. Ashley Newton, owner of Lavender and Hops style lounge. Although one might assume someone interested in business could not learn a lot about the concept at a hair salon, I saw the opportunity as a way to immerse myself within a realm unknown, and to also learn the many aspects that come with running a small business. As expected, I learned a great deal over the course of this internship. I learned how to create a website and also how to update it frequently in order to display fresh content out to clients. Ms. Newton let me tweak the website she had already created but also taught me how to create my own from scratch. I also gained knowledge on search engine optimization, the way in which search engines rank websites on Google. I was able to apply what I had learned about SEO onto the Lavender and Hops website. Furthermore, I had the opportunity to manage inventory, place shipments of products in an inventory management system, and evaluate data in order to track which products sell the most and which products sell the least. With this knowledge, I created a system for Ms. Newton on how often she should order certain products, the quantity she should order, and which products to stop purchasing due to their lack of popularity. Additionally, I was able to work on price configuration for her hair salon services. This process in particular was very complicated due to the amount of variables that you encounter as a business owner. You have to keep in mind the amount of time it takes for the service, how much product you may need for the service, what kind of market you are trying to attract, and the price of competitors. As Ms. Newton and I researched and evaluated all these variables, we were able to come up with new pricing for many of her services. Although those were many of the larger projects I worked on as an intern, there were many little things I learned in the process as well. For instance, learning how payroll works for both an owner and employees, learning how to establish a culture and style of a business, learning how to manage everything and keep a schedule to be as efficient as possible, and much more. Throughout the entirety of the internship, Ms. Newton constantly gave me insight on why she does certain things and how it helps the business. This internship was definitely a great experience and I am glad I had such an opportunity.