The five W’s to starting a business while you’re a student

As a business student you may have a natural desire to create and manage your own business. I once did too, and I ran my business successfully for four years before I decided it was a good time to get out. You may or may not have heard of it, UNIVERSITEE APPAREL. We specialized in college apparel and products for ECU. Over those four years I learned a lot of simple but effective ways to run my business that will potentially save you time and money when running yours. Working for yourself, and carving your own path in life is a great experience and I hope these simple tips will help you along the process.

The WHO. No, not the english rock band; these are your customers, your clientele. In the early stages it will start off as friends and family. Don’t overlook them. They are extremely valuable customers. You’re friends and family know you best; so they will most likely promote your business by word of mouth to their friends, and to their friend’s friends. It’s a pride thing, so let them talk and brag all about you, it’s okay! The most important thing here is networking. I don’t know who said it but “It’s not always what you know, but who you know”. Reach out, meet new people, share your business. You may find out that a close friend’s father can manufacture your products for you at a much cheaper price. In the end you are here to make a profit.

WHAT will your business be? Designer clothing? Handmade jewelry? Building websites or mobile apps? The key is to be realistic with yourself. More than likely you will not be creating the next Facebook. See what’s out there first, and see if you can do it better. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel to be successful here. Most people have problems running a business because they just decide to throw money at it and expect it to work out. Do what you’re good at, what you know, and what you’re passionate for. Be proud of what you do.

So WHERE will your business reside? The main ingredient for this is “Location, Location, Location … or online”. Understanding the difference between commerce and e-commerce can save you a vast amount of money. Having an online store will substantially be cheaper for you in the early stages so look into that first. If you get your business going then consider opening a flagship store or office. There are plenty of free and easy to use online store templates out there to set you up. I will get into those in a follow up blog but please take advantage of them.

Well WHEN you might ask? As stated in the title, starting a business while you’re a student is absolutely manageable. When you graduate however; and you begin to look for a serious job, and your loans begin to come in, you won’t find the free time you had during college. Plus, you’re young, so a few late night work sessions won’t kill you (well lets hope not at least), especially since I’m sure you stay up late anyways.

WHY would you start your own business at all? Well to put it bluntly, it’s extremely fun and the money is great when you become successful. Sitting behind a desk listening to lecture after lecture get’s old real fast but when you make that connection between what you’re learning in the classroom and what you envision your business to be, it makes what you’re learning all that more interesting.

Remember, when you love the work you do, you never work a day in your life.

 

Share

Walking the Plank to Success: Advertising Insight from Mad Man Steve Bayley

A certified pirate Steve Bayley is a graduate student here at ECU whom shared treasuable advice with the current advertising class on what it takes to follow your dreams. With a hearty passion in advertising, account planning in particular, @‏TheLincolnKing (twitter handle) attended Miami Ad School in New York City where he learned from leaders in the advertising agency and worked on campaigns for amazing clients like Red Bull, BlackBerry, Febreeze, Citi Bank and Weight Watchers. His most accredited plan was his team’s strategy for Red Envelope, which won over all other teams and is to be implemented by the company. In Bayley’s twelve-week program at Miami Ad School he gained unimaginable insight of the advertising agency and stressed that to be successful in the industry you must:

  • Be Interesting: remember that you are the voice of the consumer and since there are so many different types of brands, he advised to go out on a limb and live an uncommon, vivacious life where you are continuously learning new things. Not only will you be able to relate to all different kinds of people, but your chances of having a campaign that is similar to a cupcake with sprinkles is much higher than that of normal cupcake with just icing.
  • Be Interested: working in the advertising industry is a lifestyle. You must be willing to work 70-80 hours a week, but remember how lucky you are to have such a fun job!
  • Be Relevant: really listen to the needs and wants of your client to produce the best strategy possible.
  • Don’t be Afraid to Take a Deep Dive: whether it be counting the number of people have BlackBerry’s in Central Park during the BlackBerry campaign or conducting focus groups, the deeper you indulge yourself in a project, the more impact you will make.
  • Believe What You Say: between having a good feeling about what you’re presenting and knowing your facts, you must always instill confidence and clarity to your client. Showing your passion about the campaign from beginning to end will only impress your audience.

East Carolina’s College of Business is beyond proud to call Steve Bayley a pirate that bleeds purple and gold. Not only does he exemplify the passion of a pirate but he envisions the hidden treasure and isn’t afraid to find it, no matter what it takes! The College of Business is so thankful and proud of Mr. Bayley for speaking here at East Carolina University and wishes him all the best as he sails into the world of advertising!

 

Written by Jacki Evans (@EvansJRae)

Share

American way of studying from a german perspective…

 

The first time I looked over one of those class syllabuses I was very surprised and I realized that studying at ECU is quite different from what is the case in Germany. Let´s take a look at some amusing aspects..

 

Instructor-student relationship

It starts with the instructors and their relationships with the students. It seems to be common that students can get in contact with the teachers by relatively personal communication tools such as the cell phone. There are even professors who are on Facebook/Twitter or can be contacted by Skype which is creepy, but principally funny and comfortable. At our university in Germany the power distance is higher and the relationships between students and teachers are not that close. Basically you can be glad when they offer their email address or make an appointment with someone like you..

Differences in class meeting times

The meeting times in the US also differ from Germany. I take all of my four required classes at the Bate Building which belongs to the College of Business and usually it is necessary to attend each individual class 2 or 3 times per week. At our university in Bad Homburg you probably have more courses, but you meet only 1 or 2 times per week, although the lectures are longer and you have to spend more time in these depressing rooms instead of doing some other pointless leisure activities..

Textbook prices?!

Furthermore, I highly recommend all of the students to buy and read the content of the textbooks, otherwise you will likely fail the exams. I was kind of shocked when I heard about their prices which are more than twice as high as german textbooks. However, you can get them quite easily at several campus stores, but you still have to pay a huge amount of money even if the books are in used condition.

Grading and testing differences

Other important aspects are grading and testing which differ significantly from the german implementation. You usually have 4-5 exams and several quizzes or assignments during this time. Attendance as well as participation are mostly required, which is definitely not the case in Germany, due to the fact that under most circumstances the courses are more lecture-oriented and authoritarian. The only good thing about our universities is that you can attend or leave the classes whenever you want depending on your frame of mind..

For me it is usual to just have one final course exam at the end of a semester and when you earn a minimum amount of points you will successfully pass the whole course. However, the lecture as well as the exam content is quite more difficult and extensive and you really have to understand what the instructors are talking about, because multiple-choice questions are relatively unknown in Germany. It depends on the individual student whether he is learning continuously towards the exam or if he is starting the preparation on the day before. Both of them can lead to success..

One more advice…

Compared to german universities the workload here is enormous and you definitely need a good time management and balance between studying on the one hand and especially the glittering nightlife on the other hand. I can only encourage international students to adapt to the mentioned differences, but also the Americans should take their college days seriously in order to survive the semesters. It is all about the final degree..

 

Share

Internship Dreams, DO come true – “How to land the internship you want”

By: Abegayle Neri


Top Photo: Intern lunch in Washington Square Park
Bottom Photo: My farewell lunch with Penguin Young Readers Publicity Staff

 

I never thought that I would be able to land a prestigious internship in New York City. Penguin Group (USA) is part of the globally distinguished Penguin Group, one of the largest English-language trade book publishing houses in the world. The only reasons I got the internship with Penguin were because I executed every step of the application and interview process flawlessly. If I can reach my dream internship, ANY PIRATE CAN by following a few simple tips.

Tip 1: Know what you want and why you want it

If you choose a company that embodies your values and passions, it is evident during the application and interview process. After reading through the tips, you will see why this factor was the key to my success.

Penguin Group Publishing Company’s internship program was named one of the top 17 internships in the country by Seventeen Magazine. As an avid reader and book worm, I began working on my application for an internship with my dream company.

Tip 2: Evaluate ALL of your connections… even the ones you don’t know you have.

You never know whom you are connected to unless you take the time to explore every facet of your network. Perhaps start by making a networking tree to help map out and organize your contacts.

Trying to exploit every connection I had, I turned to my sister, a NYC resident. Exhausting all of her resources, she found a friend of a friend’s contact at Penguin Group. That contact became my first “In” with the company.

Tip 3: Perfect your resume and cover letter.  

When writing your cover letter, let your personality, strengths, and enthusiasm for the company shine. Also, get a second opinion on your work and have someone review it.

It was easy for me to write about how my abilities would match well with Penguin’s standards and mission because of my love for books. After refining my resume and cover letter through the ECU-COB Career Center, I was ready to send my application to Human Resources and my contact at the company.

TIP 4: DON’T GIVE UP!

Be patient and positive! There is no harm in making a follow up e-mail or call to the company.

Anticipating the worst after months of hearing nothing from the company, I decided to start applying for other internships. After patiently waiting, I was rewarded with a phone call.

Tip 5: Prep and practice for the interview… a lot.

Wow the interviewer with your knowledge of the industry and the company. Review standard and expected industry or company interview questions with another person. Leave them with a lasting impression by showcasing your personality and excitement for your opportunity to learn.

Many of the 50 Penguin interns came from academic heavy weight schools including Yale, Columbia, and Princeton. I ultimately got offered a position because I nailed all four of my phone interviews. I also proved to them why working for their company was significant to me by gushing about how my favorite books changed my life, and how books can have the same affect on other peoples lives.

Share