I would like to thank the Lilly Endowment for funding this program. The LABB Program thus far has been an amazing experience. I have learned so much from the program and it has made me more interested in owning my own business one day. I have met alumni with amazing stories and who continue to uphold the tradition of excellence typically found in a Wabash Man. What I have seen is that these men have fought hard to grow themselves as well as their businesses. I want to apply this to my business plan because while it might seem hard now there are things that will be much harder later. The exposure we have gotten from Joe Trebley and Tony Unfried has given me many new ideas that I can use toward my group presentation.
Stone ’17 poses with for a selfie at JMI
This program has also shown me that a liberal arts education is very helpful to have in the real world. After Wabash I will be educated in many different fields and will be able to carry on a conversation in just about anything. This aspect is extremely important to the business world because networking and connecting with people is crucial if you want to start your own business. The LABB program is a great program and has become a fantastic talking point that I can use during job interviews or as an example of my experience. Before doing the program I had no prior experience and now I feel more prepared to take on the world.
In the first two weeks of this program, I have gained an extensive amount of knowledge that will help my future endeavors into the business world. This knowledge was only further enhanced by the teaching of a graduate of this college, Will Weber ’11, came into our LABB program to put us through a Financial Bootcamp.
As part of his class, we learned about the mechanics of Microsoft Excel and how to create an income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow. During this Microsoft Excel crash course, we learned many formulas, shortcuts, and other helpful tips that will allow us to work much faster on our own Excel projects in the future. During the process of learning about Excel, Will Weber we formulated the income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow for a shoe store inside a mall through the use of the formulas and referencing other cells. He emphasized the importance of connecting information so that it was significantly easier and quicker to change information. By referencing cells, we were able to make a change to one value and have Excel automatically make changes to all the other information for us.
By creating the statements involved in forming a budget, I was able to form my own financials for the restaurant business plan. As I was worked on forming the income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow, I found the shortcuts and tips that Will Weber gave us very helpful. The insight he provided about his own job and how he uses Excel was beneficial in that it showed us how this information could be used in the real world on a daily basis.
Prior to this week, I was not very sure as to how Excel played a role in the business world, but now I realize that it plays a crucial role in almost every business. As I have began to work in Excel and create financial documents, I have found that it is interesting how every number relates to another number and have found enjoyment in changing individual values to see as to how they change the values in the entire spreadsheet. I would like to thank Will Weber ’11 for putting us through his Financial Bootcamp and taking time from his schedule to educate myself and my fellow Wabash men. I would also like to extend a special thanks to the Lilly Endowment for making this opportunity possible for both myself and everyone else involved in this program.
Haley ’17 awaits his turn to present his business plan
With the last week of the LABB program we took a lot of time to work on our presentations for Wednesday. Tuesday my group spent a few hours in the CIBE work space figuring out exactly the way that we wanted our power point to come across and what information we wanted to convey to the investors. Having the CIBE gave us a place to get into the real business mindset. This was all in the preparation of our business plans on Wednesday. Wednesday we presented our business plans to a panel of 5 judges. Disappointingly my group did not receive as much funding as anticipated especially in regards to the amount of work and effort we put into completing it. When the judges were asking us questions about our business plan it made me realize that I had learned a lot about business the past seven weeks but also that I still had a lot to learn which I will strive to do. Before the LABB I didn’t understand all of the things that go into a business plan. Now I think that of I wanted to start my own business I have the skills to set up the frame work and the knowledge to pitch the idea to investors and run the business from the ground up. This is because we learned how to write the business plans from the ground up and incorporate all the factors. I would like to thank the Lily Endowment for giving me this opportunity to further my knowledge of business. Without the generosity of the Lily Endowment I would have remained pretty ignorant of all things that have to do with business and how I can apply my Liberal Arts education in the business world.
The LABB students present their Business plans in front of a panel of judges
Over the course of this internship, we had the chance to create two business plans. This was an interesting, challenging, and rewarding experience that I am glad to have been a part of. The first business plan we were assigned to create was one for a restaurant. I was in the lucky group that was assigned to design a business plan for a food truck. The catch was that we only had a week to do it. My responsibility was writing the financial documents. This was a useful experience because we were taught how to use Excel to create the financial spreadsheets, which will most likely be a useful skill to have in many future careers. Although it was time consuming and stressful, I do believe I learned a lot about budgets, income statements, cash flows, and balances. The next business plan we were assigned was to create an app. This was a challenge because in this technologically frenzied culture most app ideas already have been created. I had never heard of writing business plans for an app, but I have learned that there is more that goes into creating an app than you think. I had the assumption that if you were good with computers, creating an app would be cheap and easy; which is not true because designing and programming can take months and cost thousands of dollars to develop. The group I worked with came up with a business plan for an app that acted as an index for recipes and suggests meals that can be made from entering ingredients. Overall, I thought writing these business plans gave me useful tools that I will use later on and have given me confidence to be able to write my own someday. I learned about presenting to investors, working with partners, and the preparation that goes into creating the first version of a business plan. The only thing I wish was different was if we had more choice in what industry we were making business plans for, because I think it would be interesting to create a plan for a product or service company. I would like to thank the Lily Endowment through which I was able to take part in the LABB program.
The LABB students await their turn to present their business plans inside the MXI
As the weather gets warmer and the days get longer, summer time in Indiana is in full swing. Unfortunately it also means this years LABB program is coming to a close and all of us are scurrying to finish our consulting and business plans. As deadlines draw near, we shifted our focus from case studies to polishing up our final reports. Along with our daily morning discussions over Shark Tank, the first half of the week was spent with us all working in our teams for the consulting projects. We wanted to make sure we offered beneficial and viable solutions in order to help both Dr. Drury’s and Dean Raters’ concerns they presented at the beginning of the summer. As we finished our consulting we began to work in our smaller business plan teams in order to discuss the final presentations to investors on this coming Wednesday. We wanted to make sure everyone understood what was going on and be ready to get started working on Monday. When the time for us to present our business plans came we all gathered in the MXI and awaited for us to present to a panel of judges. Dean Raters was present and opened up the presentation by explaining to the judges and other members of the faculty/staff who were present what we had been doing the past 7 weeks. He also acknowledged the work of Weston Gregg ’16 who had been an integral in making sure the entire LABB program was a success. After all the groups presented the judges were then tasked with providing funding for the proposals. When the numbers were all in my group’s app idea titled MealMaker received the most funding. I would like to thank the Lily Endowment. Through its generous funding of the LABB I was able to gain many valuable skills the impact of which I am sure will continue to aid me in all my endeavors.
This has been one of the most helpful programs through my Wabash career. Being a Wabash student, it is hard to gain real-life Business experience other than internships or externships. But the L.A.B.B. program has been a perfect segue for me. Throughout the 7 week program I have added new Business lingo to my vocabulary as well as learned professional lessons. One of the many great lessons was taught by Joe Trebley ’01. Joe told the L.A.B.B. students to never say, “No”. He reminded us that saying no only closes doors that have yet to be opened, but by saying yes there is a high percentage of more opportunities opening up for you in the future. A perfect opportunity for us to apply this lesson was in our consulting project. After watching some episodes of Shark Tank to better our knowledge of how to conduct a business pitch, Dean Raters challenged us to help the Dean’s office better communicate their roles on campus to prospective students, current students, alumni and parents. We were open to suggest whatever we found best for the school. The first place where we found place for revision was on the Wabash College webpage. After research was conducted, one suggestion was to simplify the website by changing the format. This would help visitors better surf through all the Wabash College information. We also suggested that a “People” page be created that would have specific bios and job descriptions along with a picture for each employee of the college. We thought this would help students, parents and alumni remember who they were meeting while on campus as well as know their roles to the College. Our last big suggestion was to hold weekly campus meeting called “Deans and Donuts”. This would allow students to pitch their perspectives to College changes or potential changes, but also allow student to talk the deans in a more casual setting. The L.A.B.B team is now just waiting to hear feedback from the judges on our proposals. Finally I would like to thank the Lily Endowment through which I was able to gain this valuable knowledge and experience.
The final week of LABB program is upon us, such a bittersweet time full of late night presentation practicing and afternoon El Charro runs. This week was mostly focused on one thing, getting our App pitches ready for our final presentation on Wednesday, July 1st. The first two days we had no classwork so my whole group and I got together at the CIBE office in downtown Crawfordsville and hammered out every detail about our App. A little background about our app, it is a life organizational app that pushes you to accomplish and set more goals for your self, in its simplest form to explain it is x-box achievements for your life and an updating bucket list. The name of the app is LyfeGoals. On Monday we worked on flushing out of idea more, making sure that our presentation had everything we needed and that it was really clear what our app was. Tuesday was pretty much the same, but this time we putt together our PowerPoint, it took all afternoon, and later in the evening we re-grouped and practiced the presentation probably eight to ten times. By the time it reached eleven at night on Tuesday we had our PowerPoint together and were well practiced in what we were saying for our big pitch the next day.
The LABB students working at the CIBE Offices
The big day is here, it’s the day of or final pitch and the competition is fierce. We all arrive at the MXI around 8 and my group makes sure to squeeze one more practice in before we do our final presentation. The way these presentations works, is five judges from the Wabash community come and each have $50,000 to invest in whichever App they like the most. The can invest there money in which ever way they want, and our group needed some big time money to win. Our group ended up going second and the presentation went pretty well. We all did the best we could do individually, I think some of the questions we got asked were really tough and had no answer for which ended up hurting us a lot. Most of the questions we got drilled on were things about target market in advertising, which we didn’t have a lot of explanation for. After every group had gone the judges spent time privately deliberating on who should get the money. When they were done they all came out and gave us some feedback group by group. The biggest thing they said about ours was to make sure we know our audience and have compelling reasons to sell our app. We ate lunch and just like that, it was over. Thursday the 2nd was out last day, a bittersweet time. We all arrived at MXI and discussed what we did and didn’t like about the LABB program with Roland, and we also talked about how we think our presentations went the day before. We found out how much the investors put in each company, and our group only got $25,000 so we ended up tying for last with another group. A little disappointing, but we did our best. And just like that, we had turned in our iPads and the LABB program was over. Overall a great experience and something that really changed how I view business and entrepreneurship. I would like to take a moment to thank the generosity of the Lily Endowment which allowed me to participate in the LABB program.
For the final week of the program, we met in our groups to finalize our business plans and presentations for the apps that we have been working on. My group was working on the Cardbazaar app. The Cardbazaar is an app that could be used to buy, sell, or trade unwanted to gift cards with people across the nation. Our group and the other groups had been working on our different apps for several weeks now, so we already had most of the information that we needed. We were just meeting to fine tune all of the information that we had gathered and fill in the loose holes to our environmental analysis, marketing strategies, and our financial overviews that we had already written.
All the Phi Psis in the LABB program pose for a dapper photo
After all of the information was gathered we were able to make our PowerPoint to use for the presentation. To make our presentation even better some of the group members were able to make the format of the application and add in features that would make it simple to use. Once this was all put together, we then began the process of rehearsing the presentation. I could not tell you how many times that we ran through the whole thing, but I can tell you that it all payed off during the actual presentation. Our group ended up tying for second place out of all of the presentations. The next day after the presentations was the wrap-up session. Here we discussed options that we could do to improve the program in the future by adding or taking away certain aspects of the program. We then turned in our iPads, which was a shame considering that they had been extremely useful throughout the summer. Of course, after this was over we all delivered our goodbyes to each other and we all went our separate ways. I had a blast this summer being an intern for the LABB program. I was able to learn so much information in such a short time and would recommend this program to everyone for next summer.
We began the week with a collective group survey, critiquing everyone involved in the LABB program. By the end of our 5th week participating in the LABB program, I learned how critical thinking skills and open-mindedness is necessary for business and many other parts of life. My pledge brother called the LABB program a “practical application of our liberal arts education”. The critical thinking, research, public speaking skills and ability to work alone and in groups, are all developed here at Wabash College. Producing business plans, consulting on projects and the other assignments and case studies we’ve done in the 5 weeks of our internship will further help us improve as we continue past Wabash and go into our post-graduate school/ career.
During the week, I was given the opportunity to visit Just Marketing International (JMI) in Zionsville, IN. JMI is one of the biggest motorsports marketing firms in the world. At JMI, we learned how closely guarded some information is. The legal restrictions, and level of accountability held by everyone in the racing motorsports from the drivers to secretaries of the lawyers who negotiate deals with their sponsors. Internationally he told us how data that was kept on a server in the different country was put in jeopardy. He and the JMI team had several assistants collecting survey data on iPads. When these iPads were left unattended, they were stolen. The first thing he said he did was call his attorney and then the data collection service to ensure the data was backed up on their servers. In this scenario, the individual iPads themselves was less important than the data that was collected. This segued into a way that we could make our apps more profitable. By tracking data, collecting demographic information, and tracking purchase history we can make our app usage unique for every user. Plus, businesses that want to reach our target market would potentially pay for the data that we collect so they can improve their marketing strategies accordingly. This week was another chance to witness all of the achievements that the Wabash Mafia has created. This week allowed me to get a glimpse at more successful Wabash Alumni while also motivating me to push myself and my peers towards greater success. I would like to thank the Lily Endowment for granting me this opportunity to broaden my horizons in the world of business.
Entering the fifth week of the Lilly Lab Program, our focus as interns was heavily placed on our app projects. My group specifically was discussing the issue of who to initially market our app to in the first year. Fortunately, for my group we were able to visit Archon Apps in Indianapolis, IN. Archon Apps is home of SpeakEasy were app developers come together to work on and improve existing ideas for apps. The experience we had there was participating in a discussion with President and CEO of SpeakEasy Tony Unfried. Tony Unfried, Wabash graduate of the class of 2003, gave our group a brief background about himself and his path to becoming the President and CEO of SpeakEasy. Once introductions and the exchange of a few interesting stories were over he opened the floor to us interns to ask whatever questions we had. At this point in our trip to Archon Apps my group told Mr. Unfried about how we were struggling to decide whom to market our app towards. Mr. Unfried told us that in order to have success in a business such as app making it is important to start off very slim. What we gained from his answer was that although we see our app becoming useful to many age groups, it was critical to focus on one particular demographic. This initial demographic allows one to gain a solid foundation in users, which in turn will make it easier to gain users in the future. We also had a surprise guest in Dr. Joe Trebley who works at IU Research & Technology Center. Dr. Joe Trebley a Wabash graduate of 2001 gave us an example to further clarify Mr. Unfried excellent point. His example was how he would go about starting up a “one-use” sunscreen booth at golf courses. In his useful example he described that flooding money into such a project would be counter productive. Instead he described how he would simply go to a few golf courses and offer the service to see if others thought it was a worthwhile expenditure. This made perfect since to my group as later on in the week we took their advice and plan on marketing our app towards a specific demographic. The experience we had at Archon Apps along with Mr. Unfried and Dr. Trebley was one that was very insightful and much appreciated by the Wabash Lilly Interns. I would like to acknowledge and thank the Lily Endowment for giving me this opportunity to further my knowledge of business.