Follow the Leaders: Strategy First featuring Aaron Hall

Blog Author:  Aaron Hall

My first experience with the LaPDP came upon recommendation as  I took the first class, BUSI 1200 with Professor Ralph Flanary. Unlike other professors I had encountered, Professor Flanary had spent his entire career working in the business world and was spending part of his r'Strategy First!'etirement teaching. As mentioned in previous posts, I had zero business experience and really did not have much of a network of businesspeople to learn from, so Prof. Flanary was the first business “mentor” I ever had.

In the class we learned the basic fundamentals of what business is. We learned important definitions and listened to Prof. Flanary tell countless stories that he had experienced. One of the neatest things about the class was that the CoB provided us with new copies of BusinessWeek and a big part of the class was reading assigned articles and then discussing them in class.

Another big part of the class was preparing our first professional presentations. The assignment was to choose a company (I chose Coca-Cola) and we would present on the company using the basic definitions we learned and talked about in class (SWOT analysis, finances, marketing strategy, mission statements, etc.). The main purpose of the assignment was to make sure we knew how to do a professional presentation. I remember Prof. Flanary heavily critiquing our presentations from having “busy” slides, inappropriate dress, reading off the slides, fidgeting, and other things. I was nervous and made a lot of mistakes, but I learned a lot about what a professional presentation looks like.

So, now I have the basics down. I have an idea of how the business world works from a knowledgeable source, I know the lingo, and I know what my weaknesses and strengths are. BUSI 1200 helped me become more confident in myself as a sought to pursue my BSBA. Most importantly, I started my leadership development.

You can read my previous posts by clicking here.

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Timberlake Tips to the Top

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This is my current state posted up in the library. Probably looks familiar to most of you at least at some point of the semester.  First week back and it already seems I have a boat load of work, but don’t let this fool you.  Even though I always get my work done on time, but just like any other college student I can be the world’s biggest procrastinator from time to time.  What am I really doing right now? Even though my computer screen is on my email account in this snap, what my computer screen is REALLY on is the VMA’s.  That’s right; I am taking a quick study break to re-watch some of my favorite moments from the VMA’s that came on this past Sunday night.  There were many influential moments, and maybe some not so influential moments, but the one that stood out to me the most was this generation’s King of pop himself—Justin Timberlake.  Yes, he has impeccable fashion, charisma, charm and saucy looks but you might ask why, is J.T. important enough for me to write about?

Before I get to in depth, let’s just rewind back to the late 90’s when N*SYNC came onto the scene. Since then, Justin has branched out in his solo career and marketed himself in the appropriate manner making you want to keep up with what he is doing.  He has also successfully been able to call himself a triple threat of singing, dancing and acting.  The only thing I could think of while he performed his mash-up of hits from the past decade was how truly talented and dedicated he was not only to his work, but his professional image.  There are very few stars in today’s industry that are extremely successful whilst maintaining a clean, crisp and admirable image.  Justin has an exquisite level of modesty that never comes off boastful or annoying.  I think all these traits are very important to possess not only in the entertainment industry, but in the business world as well.  Too many people get caught up in the superficial image of what professionalism is in business.  You can buy the most expensive suit or briefcase, but genuine professionalism is the sincerity of how you treat and interact with others, and the standard you set for yourself to better yourself time after time.  Throughout the many years (since we were children) I don’t think Justin has had a single downfall or crazy outrage like the majority of other childhood stars, or just entertainers in the industry in general. I don’t mean there isn’t room for mistakes, because let’s face it; EVERYONE is going to make a mistake here and there, but it’s the way you handle it, hold yourself and move on.  For example; his break up with the Queen of pop herself, Britney Spears.  Taking a negative thing and turning it into growth and perspective in a respectable way in all aspects of life, and business is key.  How could you forget Cry Me A River? It was so successful it won a Grammy in 2004 and hit number 1 on the top Billboards just to name a few. This is a prime example of taking a public failure and gracefully turning it into success. Do you know a single person that does not respect J.T., or even groove and sing a long a little bit when his songs come on? Me neither.  To me, that is someone’s work ethic I aspire to acquire within time throughout my career.

“I think people sometimes don’t pay enough attention to what they do. I’ve done well, but the reason is pretty simple: I’ve worked my butt off. Anything I’ve done well has taken many, many hours of preparation. And then the trick, of course, is making that work look invisible. The toughest thing a performer can do is make it look as if it comes easy. You have to devote yourself 100 percent when you’re figuring stuff out, whether it’s with sports or music-or movies, which has been the main focus for me lately. (Source: imdb.com, 2011)”. 

Above is a quote Justin spoke on about his work ethic.  Who doesn’t love this guy?! And I’m not just saying that because I am a girl and have raging hormones whenever thinking about his smooth moves or dreamy voice. This quote in itself inspires me to kick my work ethic into high drive and put forth my best effort into anything I do.  To me, anyone that inspires you to use building blocks to get to the top in the right ways and has work that stays embedded in your head, even years later is a true gem of a business icon.  On that note, back to the books!

Blog by: Haley Nowlin

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First Week Back: Many Things to Look Forward To

Blog by: Haley Nowlin

Back to school.  These 3 words have different meanings to different people.  To some, it may mean an exciting time when all their friends come back into town from summer, to others it may mean this is the beginning of a temporary block in their social life and personal freedom.  To me, back to school is a nice mixture of the two.  For a college student, it’s a rude awakening when the only thing you have on your schedule for nearly 3 months is friends, fun and leisurely vacations to having to begin to wake up, look presentable and having to pay attention in a classroom all day.

Education Concept I don’t think anyone would jump the gun to say they’re excited about starting loads of work after a long (hopefully relaxing) summer, but there is always some undeniable excitement in the air in the first week of school when it comes to school supply shopping, being on a set schedule with new professors and meeting new people.  Even though thinking about all the work you will do in the upcoming months may give you a massive headache, there are thankfully many things to look forward to about school starting back.  Whether it’s your goal to make a certain set of grades for the semester,tailgating and some pirate football, or simply just being back with all your buddies, I think it’s safe to say it’s great to be back for the school year.   I’m sure the excitement I’m feeling about all this new freshness will wear off by this time next week when reality sets in, but until then I’m enjoying it while I can…Have a good first weekend back everyone :)

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Follow the Leaders: Why I Chose the ECU College of Business

Blog Author: Aaron Hall

When I first came to orientation, during the summer of 2009, I had finally decided what major I wanted to pursue. I confidently walked into the West End dining hall (where they hold the major specific information booths) and an ECU advisor asked me what I wanted to major in so she could lead me to one of the booths. I exclaimed, “Physical Therapy!” She replied, “That’s not an undergraduate major, why don’t we visit the undecided table?” And so began my semester-long trek of finding the perfect major.

Aaron HallAfter going through five different majors, I finally decided on pursuing a business degree over my first Christmas break. I had gone to work with a local small business owner and I got to see how he ran his successful business. All day I watched as he motivated and treated his employees with respect, how he conversed with customers, and how fun accounting actually is. I was blown away by how cool running a business was, but I had zero business experience. I didn’t know anything about finance, leadership, and customer service. What makes me think I could run or work for a business?

 

Luckily, I had a roommate that was in the College of Business and he explained how a business degree at East Carolina University works. The College had just created this new Leadership and Professional Development Program that focuses on building important skills that will make students more marketable and successful in the business world. They do this by starting you out at ground level with the basics of business. As a result, anyone could join in and not be hampered by the fact that they’ve never had any business experience.

Basically, the College of Business allows students to “come in as you are” and they will mold you into a leader and a professional.

Today I am a proud graduate of the ECU College of Business. Watch for my next posts as they share my experiences in the Leadership and Professional Development Program!

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