An Open Letter to Incoming Entrepreneurship Majors

I am about to start my junior year at Grove City College. The cliche is true; it flies by!

Looking back on these 2 years I have learned so many different things and found myself wishing I had known them at the beginning of freshman year. With the help of some great fellow entrepreneurs and former GCC students we are going to try and give you the head start we wished we had.

The people who have graciously helped me with this post are some of the top entrepreneurs Grove City College has produced. Many of them are highly successful, and believe me when I say, they know what they are talking about!

Thanks to these awesome people for the ideas and quotes:410847989 d73a3c4dd9 m An Open Letter to Incoming Entrepreneurship Majors

Name   |   Year of Graduation   |   Major

  • Sean Ammiraticopy of copy of linkedin sig An Open Letter to Incoming Entrepreneurship Majors(02) Computer Information Systems
  • Taylor Pratt copy of copy of linkedin sig An Open Letter to Incoming Entrepreneurship Majors (06) Business Management
  • Hunter Stewartcopy of copy of linkedin sig An Open Letter to Incoming Entrepreneurship Majors (08) Entrepreneurship, Bus Econ.
  • Chris Andrew  copy of copy of linkedin sig An Open Letter to Incoming Entrepreneurship Majors (08) Business Economics, Finance
  • Tom Griffin       copy of copy of linkedin sig An Open Letter to Incoming Entrepreneurship Majors(08) Entrepreneurship
  • Dustin Kunkle             (09) Entrepreneurship
  • Jon Bush                     (10) Entrepreneurship
  • Ken Maillet       copy of copy of linkedin sig An Open Letter to Incoming Entrepreneurship Majors(10) Entrepreneurship
  • Blake Imeson copy of copy of linkedin sig An Open Letter to Incoming Entrepreneurship Majors(10) Entrepreneurship, Econ

Your education is just that, YOUR education.

The greatest opportunities at college are the ones you go after. -Jon Bush

Your GPA will not get you a job. A 4.0 guarantees you nothing. Spend your time getting involved in things you are passionate about. Write a business plan, compete outside of college and add things to your resume that translate to things you care about and can talk effectively about. -Chris Andrew

Ask questions. Always. You will always learn from others, regardless of how educated you are. -Dustin  Kunkle2436481628 881688fa7f m An Open Letter to Incoming Entrepreneurship Majors

Be involved, not over committed. Find groups and activities to get involved in, but don’t be so over committed that between schoolwork and activities you have no time for yourself or to see friends. -Tom Griffin

Do…

  • Be proactive & ambitious. Seize opportunities.
  • Be involved. Especially outside of academics.
  • Be a lifelong learner.

Don’t…

  • Let your education be defined by the classroom.
  • Stress letter grades and GPA. Instead, focus on learning, not memorizing.
  • End up like any other business major. Be different.

Professors

Getting to know professors and jumping at the opportunity to volunteer to help them out on projects outside of class (like introducing a speaker, etc.) can give you a wealth of information and the connections you need to succeed. One volunteer opportunity could become the link to your future job, a valuable asset, or a loyal friend. -Jon Bush

Really get to know your professors, especially those that share your interests and passions. Find opportunities to talk to them or get involved in their lives outside of the classroom, even if just a little bit. The thing you may use most after college is the friendships and relationships you have established with professors, friends, and college staff. You will find these more valuable in the long run, and you will remember them. -Dustin Kunkle

Most professors really want to help you succeed. Make the effort to connect with them and help in any way you can. They can recommend you; but more importantly they can connect you. -Blake Imeson

Do…

  • Get to know your profs. Have lunch. Talk.
  • Ask good questions and don’t be afraid to challenge.

Don’t…

  • Be invisible in class.
  • Answer questions only to appear smart.

Lectures, Why hear another speaker?

It counts! It’s available! It’s often ignored! And it could be the most valuable opportunity of your life! Get to know your professors and speakers that come to campus! -Jon Bush

Hear every speaker you can! They are the ones who will help you to connect your college learning to real world experiences. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of them either. They have donated their time to talk to you all and want to give you the most they can. The best memory I had was sitting with a VP from Chick-Fil-A in a van driving from Pittsburgh back to school, one of the best one and a half hours of my life! -Tom Griffin

Hearing one speaker who is actually in the business world is more valuable than a week of classroom education. They are in touch with current realities of the business world and can offer terrific insight -Blake Imeson

Do…

  • Attend as many business lectures as possible. Especially if they aren’t extra credit!
  • Meet the speakers.

Don’t…

  • Skip a great speaker because you need to “study”.

401576646 f6399157e4 An Open Letter to Incoming Entrepreneurship Majors

Networking  =  Not Optional

By networking I have been able to find Alumni who have given me valuable advice about web-design, and research that has allowed me to be on the cutting edge at my current job/internship. -Jon Bush

One of the best reasons to be networked in your industry is the free advice you can get. Many internet consultants charge between $150-500/hour. Projects can be in the upwards of $30K. If you are able to make friends with industry experts, you (most likely) won’t be charged a dime. Everyone is more than happy to lend a hand to a friend. Don’t underestimate the power of relationships in any industry that you work in. They will make your life much easier. -Taylor Pratt

Business is all about connections. You will get so much more out of your college experience by getting involved in more than just attending classes, especially as an entrepreneurship student. The class material is good, but you will certain not remember all of it, especially a few years down the road. -Dustin Kunkle

Meeting people doesn’t mean you have to be best friends for life. You can have professional and personal relationships, why not start building them now? Get some business cards with your name and e-mail address (you can always write your phone # on the back) and hand them out when you meet people. God blessed us all with different strengths, don’t be afraid to ask contacts for help or favors and don’t be afraid to give them in return. -Tom Griffin

If there is one thing that has stood out to me the most in my career as an SEO, it is the importance of networking. Throughout my college 2043508173 a56d24a13d m An Open Letter to Incoming Entrepreneurship Majorscareer that seed was planted in my head, but for some reason I still thought I would rather try and make it on my own. The business world is much tougher than they lead us to believe in school. It requires your constant attention, especially the online business world. The game changes every day, and if you aren’t prepared for it – you’ll find your competitors sailing past your sinking ship. -Taylor Pratt

College is about getting an education, but it’s also about building relationships. Take time to build authentic and genuine relationships with those around you. They are the ones who will share your triumphs and help you through your failures. The friends you make during college will be your friends for the rest of your life, much more so than friends from high school.-Tom Griffin

Do…

  • Network with speakers, professors, and even peers.
  • Give out business cards
  • Use your connections not only for yourself but to connect others.

Don’t…

  • Be passive.
  • Just sit and listen to people … connect!
  • Just use people. Be sincere and take genuine interest in them.

Get LinkedIn!22774997 d5026fc1c5 m An Open Letter to Incoming Entrepreneurship Majors > Business Card 2.0

If you aren’t already on the business networking site LinkedIn, you need to be! It has over 25 million business professionals. Most of the people you network with (professors, speakers, employers) will be LinkedIn.

LinkedIn allows you to  show your resume in an unobtrusive way. However, it is so much more; it will help you keep in contact with important people in your network, easily get business advice and leverage connections.

Business Card 2.0:   you may lose a business card or contact information image thumb An Open Letter to Incoming Entrepreneurship Majorsmay change, but with LinkedIn you are always going to be able to reconnect with someone you met years previously.

Most of the people in this article are on LinkedIn. (Click buttons next to names.) If you have a reason to connect with them, I’m sure they would be happy to help. Fellow students and alumni are usually glad to help you make a connection or offer advice. Don’t be afraid to ask!

I have been asked questions on LinkedIn and been able to help people and other people have answered my burning questions. I have found work through LinkedIn and been able to connect to some amazing people. It really is a great tool every entrepreneur needs in their arsenal. -Blake Imeson

Internships, earn some experience.

It might mean you’re sacrificing a summer beside the pool, but getting that work experience on your resume makes a huge difference come job hunt time. Start looking early, December/January for next summer’s position. It might not be a job you love, but it can really set you up for future positions. -Chris Andrew

242260084 40473f9e1d m An Open Letter to Incoming Entrepreneurship Majors
Getting a job or internship is a nonstop process of contacting the companies you are interested in and keeping your name on the top of their list. Send thank you notes, ask questions, leave phone messages, make sure they tell you yes or no. Don’t take silence for an answer. -Chris Andrew

Try to get an internship or two as early in your college career as possible.   One key for internships is not to focus on the company you’re working for, but who you actually will be working with. When I reflect on the best internships I had, it wasn’t my internships at the most ‘prestigious’ firms but the brightest people I worked with. -Sean Ammirati

Do…

  • Intern early and often.
  • Be persistent and proactive.
  • Work with brilliant people.

Don’t…

  • Waste your summer at the pool or doing something that doesn’t help you develop professionally.

Interviewing. How to get that job.

Know the company inside and out. Set up a Google alert on the company you will be interviewing with and this way you will know all the current company information going into the interview. View the interview as a conversation, not as a test. Stay relaxed, ask questions to take the pressure off yourself, and stay loose. -Chris Andrew522695099 026b8d7ffe m An Open Letter to Incoming Entrepreneurship Majors

Don’t ask a question they’ve heard a thousand times. Some people will tell you there’s no such thing as a bad question. Don’t ask, “What companies are your competitors?” You should know this based on previous research. Ask questions they haven’t heard, be insightful, be accusatory, be controversial. Give the person a reason to remember you. -Chris Andrew

Do…

  • Know the company you are interviewing with.
  • Be calm and confident.
  • Be unusual and memorable.

Don’t…

  • Be typical, ordinary, everyday.
  • Be sloppy or unprofessionally dressed. Image counts.

Closing thoughts

Everyone should take E-Commerce to better understand the online world. Every business is able to use the internet as a source of revenue or customer service.Blog about something you care about and can write about on a daily basis. I was just messing around at first and all of a sudden, I was making $150 a day from my NFL blog. All-in-all, if you understand the internet and how to blog and drive traffic to your site, you will be better off, no matter what business or position you go into. -Hunter Stewart

Understand that youreducation should be for the glory of God, and should not take a higher priority than your relationship with Him. Instead, it should enhance that relationship. Constantly remind yourself what your priorities are.-Dustin Kunkle

Let’s face facts, it is a very competitive job market. Figure out what differentiates you from the crowd and work to become the best. You are a brand, what makes you stand out?  -Blake Imeson

Do…

  • Understand the internet.
  • Figure out what brand “you” involves.

Don’t…

  • Lose sight of the end goal and what you are striving towards. 2274814466 7603274847 An Open Letter to Incoming Entrepreneurship Majors

It’s your turn. What advice do you have for young businessmen and women starting their college careers? (Comment)

Starting in college? What are your burning questions?

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8 Responses to “An Open Letter to Incoming Entrepreneurship Majors”

  1. Chris Andrew August 21, 2008 at 4:39 pm #

    Great post Blake, you should try and get it published in the Collegian as well. Lots of people should read this one!

  2. Blake Imeson August 21, 2008 at 4:47 pm #

    @Chris thanks! I might try that.

    Hmmm… mixing old and new mediums. Might have to do some major reformatting. If the college has any online newsletters it would be easy enough for them to use it.

    Thanks for your help with this too!

  3. Hjortur Smarason August 21, 2008 at 7:20 pm #

    Excellent post, Blake.

    What makes a good business man isn’t what he or she learned in school. It’s an attitude, common sense and network that matters most. But you still need to pass those exams ;)

    You might like to check out those two posts as well from Seth Godin and Guy Kawasaki:
    http://blog.guykawasaki.com/2007/08/mba-in-a-page.html
    http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2007/04/nobs_the_end_of.html

  4. perfectlyGoodInk August 21, 2008 at 7:48 pm #

    One addition I’d suggest to add to the networking part is to be sincere. Don’t view conversations with people solely as a means to an ends to help yourself, because people hate being used in that manner. Likewise, don’t fake interest that isn’t there. Do express the genuine interest that you do have in other people.

    But great advice. I certainly wish I’d done more of these sorts of things.

  5. Blake Imeson August 21, 2008 at 7:49 pm #

    @Hjörtur thanks for the awesome links. I am big fans of both Guy and Seth but hadn’t seen those posts.

    MBAs may be right for some people, but I agree with them that sometimes it is just better to get out there and get some in-the-trenches experience.

    BTW @all Hjörtur has a great blog on Marketing. Plus he lives in Iceland. How cool is that!,

    @perfectlyGoodInk excellent point. I added it under networking.

    You can always tell when someone doesn’t care anything about you and just needs your connections.

  6. pratt August 22, 2008 at 3:51 pm #

    Great write-up Blake! This will be extremely valuable to all Entrepreneurship majors and business majors in general.

    Stumbled! :)

  7. Blake Imeson August 24, 2008 at 5:29 pm #

    @pratt Thanks! Glad you liked it. Appreciate the stumble.

    I hope it helps some people. I really think some great advice was contributed.

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