Corey Hoffman ’16
Corey Hoffman ’16 – One of the major aspects of the LABB program was the business plans. For each of the two business plans we had to develop, we were divided into teams and had to develop a fully functional business plan (or at least what we were able to produce within the time restriction). For the first business plan, the group was divided into teams of three, and each group was given the task of developing a business plan for a restaurant. The catch was, one group had to do a food truck, one a sit down restaurant, one a franchise, one a bar, one a deli, and the last a café. This wide range of options led to some amazing creativity, a trait that appeared rather absent in many students’ initial surveys. After two weeks of many dedicated hours of work, the day to present had arrived. We were to present in front of a panel of judges, who each had tens of thousands of dollars in “play money” in which they could invest however they pleased. My group, consisting of myself and Weston Gregg ’16, created a business plan for a food truck called Golden Boy Burgers, located in Lafayette, IN. We were able to obtain the most investment money due to our low startup costs.
Using our experience from this first business plan project, we divided into new groups of four or five to create a business plan for any business of our choosing. The four groups did a recording studio, a 3D printing company, a CrossFit gym, and a social media marketing company. All groups had greatly improved from the first set of business plans, despite having one week less to do it. Other than the fact that the group sizes were roughly double those of the restaurant business plans, we were all much more experienced and understood much better what needed to be done and how to do it.
Through these business plan projects, we were able to virtually immerse ourselves in real world business, by developing financial plans, marketing strategies, brand development, and product. While there is obviously much more detailed matter that we were unable to cover due to the time restrictions, we were all able to take away a lot from these experiences, and can eventually implement them into our careers.
I would like to give a huge thanks to the Lilly Foundation and Roland Morin ’91 for making this program possible and also to the judges of each business plan for providing helpful feedback.
Jake Budler ’17
Jake Budler ’17 – As week 6 of the Liberal Arts Bridge to Business (LABB) internship comes to a close, the focus of us interns has turned to the Consulting Project. Throughout the past week we have done several case studies, another negotiation, and a Google Hangout, however we are all looking forward to the final week, during which we are giving our presentations about the Campus Scheduler.
Throughout the past week, we have been meeting in our groups (there are three separate groups) to discuss and prepare our presentations. The groups have taken the information learned during a community forum that was held, as well as several additional meetings, and each devised a consulting pitch for the College to improve and fix problems with the current scheduler. My group in particular has devised many solutions to problems that our current scheduler has. We decided, for many reasons, that it would be better for the College to fix the problems rather than install an entirely new system.
For me personally, the Consulting Project has been a highlight of the LABB program. The project provides a way for me to practically use much of the knowledge that I have gained in the past six weeks in a tangible and practical way. Before the LABB program I would not have been able to contribute to my consulting group what I have for our presentation. I am very excited for this upcoming Wednesday, where we will be presenting to over 40 members of the Wabash community who have given an RSVP for the presentation. It will be great to see the LABB interns have a real effect of the future of Wabash College.
The skills that I have learned from both the Consulting Project and the LABB program as a whole are very valuable for me. Being a rising sophomore, I feel like LABB was the perfect way to spend my first summer of college. I learned a lot about different facets of the business world, but more importantly to me was the exposure to real businesses. The trips that we took around Indiana, the guest speakers that we had, and finally the Consulting Project are experiences that are invaluable real world experiences that I will be able to use in the future.
Daniel Scofield ’17
Daniel Scofield ’17 – Each year the LABB program interns are assigned a consulting project to work on based on a request from the college. The problem that arose this year for the program was the Wabash Scheduler. It was put upon us to analyze and come up with recommendations on how to improve the current system and we absolutely had no restrictions. We were then divided up into three separate groups to see who was able to come up with the best plans on how to fix the scheduler problem. Once assigned to our groups, we held a community forum as well as meetings with individuals from various departments who actively use the scheduler. The forum as well as the meetings allowed us to gain valuable input and knowledge on the current issues with the scheduler. After we had enough data and understanding of the scheduler, it was time to put our critical thinking skills to the test and begin coming up with possible solutions.
We were told that cost was not an issue and this allowed the groups to explore all possible outcomes which varied from a simple remodeling of the current system to an extreme which was to introduce a third-party software. I was a member of the group that thought it was in the best interest for the college to move on with a third-party system. Since the software was far pricier than remodeling the current system, it was very important for us to convince the audience that the software was what the college needed to fix all of the current problems with the scheduler. The ease of use and time saved using the software would compensate for the higher price which is what we advocated.
After all of the research had been done and numerous practice presentations had been completed, it was finally time to stand up to give our recommendations. Some would say it could be a little intimidating presenting in front of the president, deans of the college, and many other high up officials of the college, but to myself I just saw it as a chance to explain my group’s ideas in order to help out the college. Since I believed in the product that I was presenting it made it very easy to try and sell it to the individuals in the audience that morning. It was a great honor being able to work on this consulting project because it showed the great amount of trust that the college held in us. It’s not very often that a college passes along a significant campus problem to a group of students and that is what makes this program so special. Not only do you learn the essentials of business through discussions and site visits, but you also have projects that you have the opportunity to see all the way through.
Joel Whittington ’15
Joel Whittington ’15 – The Liberal Arts Bridge to Business (LABB) program has been one of the most educational experiences I have had at Wabash, and it is almost over. It’s hard to believe that there is only one week left of the LABB program. It has been a challenging summer so far; by this point we’ve covered everything there is to cover about business startups and starting businesses of our own.
With our business plans done, IBM was the focus of this last week. The tech giant is a far cry from the small startup companies we had read about. Like the other firms we have looked at, we read a study covering a major decision that affected the direction of the company in a major way. This study dealt with IBM’s creation of BlueGene, the world’s fastest computer, in the early 2000’s.
We did more than just read about the company. On Wednesday we got the chance to talk, via Google Hangout, to Bill Kerst, a self-proclaimed ‘Wabash Groupie’, and Rob Shook ’83. Both are employed by IBM and have traveled the world on projects for the company. We spoke for a little over an hour about the pros and cons of working for Corporate America as opposed to smaller firms. Surprisingly, Rob told a story about how IBM had taken care of his family on one of his business trips to Australia in a way that didn’t fit with the ‘Evil Empire’ persona that big corporations all seem to have. At the end of the talk, these two very successful men gave some advice on getting our feet in the door in a large corporation like IBM. Bill’s advice was to “shadow people wherever possible” while Rob ’83 strongly advocated interning, which is how he got his start at IBM. Both men were cool to talk to and it was a pretty laid-back conversation. Like everything else in this program, I got a lot out of this conversation. This program really is a crash-course MBA. I never would have thought I could learn as much about business as I have in the last six weeks. I’ll be a little sad when it’s over after next week, but I know it’s been worth every minute and I’m glad I was chosen to take part.
Brenden King ’16
Brenden King ’16 – It is hard to believe that 5 weeks have already passed in the LABB program. In these first 5 weeks, we have covered everything from writing a business plan to a crash course in marketing and finance. Roland Morin ’91 our instructor and boss was not joking when he said we would receive a mini MBA this summer. This past week may have proven to be the most challenging, but most rewarding, for the course. For our past business plan we were given a few weeks to gather information and present our idea, for this time around we were given a week and I think the entire group agrees that we were able to deliver.
Split up into groups of four to five, we were each tasked with finding an idea for a business and presenting it to prospective investors. My group was made up of Ryan Anzalone, Thanh Tran, Denzel Wilkins, and myself. After a few sessions we came to the idea of a 3D printing schematics company. With only a week to prepare our group, along with the other three, we used every minute we had granted to us to put together our plan.
The end result could not have been more satisfying. All of the groups were able to build their plans with only a week for preparation. The other businesses that my peers created were a marketing firm, a record label, and a cross-fit gym – all of which were researched and presented professionally. The next and final step for the program is the consulting project for Wabash College. I would like to thank the Lilly Foundation and our instructor Roland Morin for making all of this possible.
Mason Zurek ’16
Mason Zurek ’16 – I came into this program fairly hesitant. Business was just something that never seemed to suit me. I’m not a numbers guy, but I love to read and write which is why I’m fairly sure I want to be an attorney. Also, I enjoy competition immensely and law seemed like the proper way to go. So, I figured I could take this program and learn more about business in order to help me later if I go into corporate law.
Yet, as we learn more about business, and specifically entrepreneurship, I find myself hooked for two reasons: the challenge and the potential reward. The idea of putting everything you own on the line in order to be successful is scary, yet enticing. What could be more possibly exhilarating than seeing your gamble pay off? I view it as a competition against myself; seeing if I can actually set out and start a successful business is now something that greatly interests me. The other reason I mentioned, reward, is more of a dream scenario. Building a successful business and selling it off for enough money to retire comfortably by 40 would be wonderful.
In conclusion, I have been having a great time with this internship. I’ve been engaged, questioned, and forced to rely on the analytical skills Wabash has taught me. I’m looking forward to the next two weeks.
Arion Clanton ’15 – Over these last four weeks this program has evolved to become one of the most entertaining, exciting, and thought-provoking working experiences that I have ever had in the job field. There are many things that I could write about that have stood out to me, but one aspect of the program that I have come to really enjoy are the negotiations over Labor Union vs. Management. I have enjoyed these negotiations because they have really forced me to think critically and look at every aspect of a situation. I can be a very controlling person, wanting everything my way; however, I understand that there has to be some give and take to a negotiation. As a Wabash man, I should know that things in life will not be easy, people will always disagree with me, and I will have to work and fight for whatever I want. These negotiations have served exactly that purpose. They have opened my eyes to the real world problems that are going on. They showed me the value in standing your ground, speaking up, and holding your values intact without feeling used or abused. Before this program, I had never considered most of the things we have discussed – not only in our negotiations, but even things like learning how to create a simple business plan.
Clanton and Downing ’15 look out over the Indianapolis Public Library
The Liberal Arts Bridge to Business (LABB) program is very important to my continued success here at Wabash College. Coming from a low socio-economic community such as East Chicago and being a successful student athlete, a lot of younger boys and girls really look up to me as a role model. It is with the help of this program that I can and will continue to be successful and show the younger children of my hometown the importance of an education and networking. It is because of like-minded individuals whom provided the Lilly Endowment that I am able to remain at Wabash.
Thank you again for supporting me, Wabash, and others just like me. I look forward to further partaking in this program and seeing other young Wabash men benefit from your support.
Weston Gregg ’16 – The fourth week of the LABB program has just come to an end. Over this past week we have discussed in depth how franchising a business works and the pros and cons in opening a franchise compared to a solo operation. We also analyzed in depth Cirque du Soleil, which was different than any of the previous businesses we had looked at due to the unique nature of their shows. We also had the chance to briefly watch part of the Cirque du Soleil performance in class, which was quite impressive and made me want to go see the show live sometime in the near future.
Along with partner, Corey Hoffman ’16, Gregg earned the most faux-funding for their business plan – Golden Boy Burgers, a food truck which would sell stuffed and deep fried specialty burgers
On Wednesday we finally gave our first business proposal presentations. Honestly this was a huge stress relief, not only for myself, but for the rest of the LABB members as well. We have been working on these proposals since the first week and have put many hours into researching and preparing for them. We gave our presentations to Roland Morin ’91, our instructor, Deborah Woods, the Grants Coordinator at Wabash College, and Cassie Hagan, the Administrative and Recruiting Assistant at Career Services. The six presentations consisted of a specific type of restaurant with each team competing for investments for their respective restaurants. There was a bar, deli, food truck, franchise, café, and typical sit down establishment. In the end, the food truck team consisting of Corey Hoffman and myself, was able to secure the most funding. Later on in the week, we were divided into new teams for our next business proposal – a venture of our choosing. Though the workload will be about the same, I believe this next proposal will be much easier to complete because we are now well aware of all the work that needs to be put in to complete a quality proposal.
Gregg and fellow LABB Interns after completing their business proposal pitches
I would like to thank Deborah Woods and Cassie Hagan for taking time out of their busy schedules to listen to all six presentations and provide valuable feedback for each one. I would also like to acknowledge the Lily Endowment and the generous Wabash alumni who support the LABB program for continuing to educate Wabash men in all aspects of business.
Ryan Anzalone ’16 – Wabash has countless benefits, but I have found that the liberal arts education alone falls short in terms of job preparation. The Liberal Arts Bridge to Business (LABB) is a perfect program for me because it has allowed me to get the business-focused education that I felt was missing from my normal Wabash experience.
This week was particularly interesting for me because we learned about marketing. We visited a firm called JMI and learned all about the world of auto sports marketing. A big thanks to Wes Zirkel ’98 for taking the time to share his wisdom and teach us about his experience with marketing. Everything about JMI was cool, down to the exotic car showroom which we got to look around in. Here’s a look at one of the awesome cars in the showroom.
A peek into JMI’s exotic car showroom as Zirkel ’98 gives LABB Interns a tour of the facilities
Later that day, we went to Triton Brewery and got a grand tour of the facility. David Waldman ’93 followed his passion and founded Triton as a high quality craft brewery. I got to learn about the entire process of brewing starting from the water that comes into the building to the bottled beer which leaves the other side. David, we all had a great time at Triton and enjoyed learning about your career, as well as your time at Wabash.
Before this week started, I understood marketing as advertising primarily, but I learned that there is so much more to it. I’m not sure if I have enough creativity to be a good marketer, but I would definitely enjoy my work if it was my career. The LABB program has taught me and my peers so much in only three weeks, and we are all looking forward to the final four weeks. A special thanks to the Lilly Endowment which made this opportunity possible and to Roland Morin ’91 for pushing us all to work hard and continue to learn about the complex world of business.
Shane Xuan ’17 – In Week 3, the LABB (Liberal Arts Bridge to Business) team was divided into four groups, who negotiated the terms between the Union and the Management in the 1978 case. The negotiation went fairly well as both sides came up with practical plans. As one of the Union workers remarked after the negotiation, “I realize that there is no winner in the negotiation. As a Union member, I get what I want, which is to raise the minimum wage and to ensure my job.” On the other hand, another management member also acknowledged the fact that the principle of negotiation is to maintain the relationship between the two sides. “Negotiation is to form an agreement between two sides for the long term.” Dan Scoffield ’17 said, “You would not expect the other side to compromise if you do not concede at all.” Moreover, it is interesting to see different approaches to the same problem. One tentative plan proposed was to improve efficiency of the factory by cutting the workers’ welfare program immediately by increasing their minimum wages. Another plan proposed the idea to cut the welfare program progressively while maintaining the current payment rates. Both plans were practical and creative, and won approval from both sides and the program supervisor, Rolan Morin ’91.
LABB Interns collaborate on the team negotiation project
The whole LABB team should appreciate Lilly’s generous endowment for the opportunity to help us realize how business works in the real world. The merit of a liberal arts education is determined by the ability to apply what we have learned in class to the real world. The LABB program gives us a rare opportunity to practice such application through numerous field trips, in-class work, and the design of business plans. It is now Week 4 of our program, and the business program presentations will be given by the students on Wednesday. After the intensive financial knowledge bootcamp and practice, it is thrilling to see how far the whole LABB team has gone! Thank you Roland for your help, and thank you Lilly!