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!
Name | Year of Graduation | Major
- Sean Ammirati(02) Computer Information Systems
- Taylor Pratt (06) Business Management
- Hunter Stewart (08) Entrepreneurship, Bus Econ.
- Chris Andrew (08) Business Economics, Finance
- Tom Griffin (08) Entrepreneurship
- Dustin Kunkle (09) Entrepreneurship
- Jon Bush (10) Entrepreneurship
- Ken Maillet (10) Entrepreneurship
- Blake Imeson (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
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
- Be proactive & ambitious. Seize opportunities.
- Be involved. Especially outside of academics.
- Be a lifelong learner.
- 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.
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
- Get to know your profs. Have lunch. Talk.
- Ask good questions and don’t be afraid to challenge.
- 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
- Attend as many business lectures as possible. Especially if they aren’t extra credit!
- Meet the speakers.
- Skip a great speaker because you need to “study”.
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 career 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
- Network with speakers, professors, and even peers.
- Give out business cards
- Use your connections not only for yourself but to connect others.
- Be passive.
- Just sit and listen to people … connect!
- Just use people. Be sincere and take genuine interest in them.
Get LinkedIn! > 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.
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
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
- Intern early and often.
- Be persistent and proactive.
- Work with brilliant people.
- 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 Andrew
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
- Know the company you are interviewing with.
- Be calm and confident.
- Be unusual and memorable.
- Be typical, ordinary, everyday.
- Be sloppy or unprofessionally dressed. Image counts.
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
- Understand the internet.
- Figure out what brand “you” involves.