Archive for June, 2012

This is Summer Business Program: Part 4

June 25th, 2012 by kkayer

Here’s another one from Frank DeLeo ’14!

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Week four began our quest to obtain a victory on Friday after all the trials and tribulations of the Summer Business Program. The stress and anxiety set in early when trying to perfect our presentation. Every bullet, every sentence, and every movement had to be rehearsed and scripted. The PowerPoint needed to be clear and concise to get our ideas across. Most importantly we needed to look and sound our best in order to be the epitome of a real business presentation: professional.

The week began with a session on career planning. Taught by Pam Ahearn and Amy Murphy, we learned the nuisances of navigating the Holy Cross website and LinkedIn to find alumni not only for internships and jobs, but also for informational interviews.

The Holy Cross network is a phenomenal resource that I will continue to tap into during my last two years at HC, and even after graduation. I still don’t know what I want to do with my life after college, but I have a strategy to piece together my varying interests. By taking advantage of everything Holy Cross has to offer: the academic internship program, study abroad, ELW, SBP, etc, I can gain a better understanding of my likes and dislikes.

During my journey, I know that the network is always there for me to ask questions. The most important take away from the session was that alumni want to help, so I should never hesitate to contact them. After Monday, my two primary summer priorities became networking and setting up my LinkedIn profile.

As the week went on we were taught how to use Microsoft Office tools such as PowerPoint and Excel. Wednesday’s session on PowerPoint and presentation skills with Jessica Blau’08 and Roger Lobo ‘04 provided pertinent information to incorporate into the pitch.

During the session, we learned about tips and tricks for PowerPoint, verbal delivery, and slide content. My team took this new knowledge and touched up our presentation before we asked Ms. Blau to film our first dry run. I always hate watching myself on film, but the team and I discovered a lot from watching ourselves. We were able to see areas in which we could improve and mistakes that needed to be corrected by Friday. Thursday was the day to make those corrections.

When Mr. Correia told us that Thursday meant perfection, he wasn’t kidding. The team had no idea what to expect at 10 a.m. for the start of our meeting in Smith 155. We began with sharing all of the new information we had learned in our sessions, in addition to our perfected PowerPoint. From there, we jumped right into the dry runs. Every movement and sentence was scrutinized. People forgot lines, swayed in place, stepped forward wrong etc. Each time we made a mistake Mr. Correia would say, “Do it again.”

After a few tries, we got the hang of it. All that remained was being able to control our nerves the next morning and remember the transitions. We were confident in the content of our presentation and our ability to pitch the information. We simply needed to execute.

At 2 p.m., Mr. Correia had to go talk to the parents at Gateways. His wife couldn’t make it, so he needed someone from the team to go with him. I volunteered to talk to the parents with the mentality that I’d be sitting on a panel answering questions. Oh how wrong I was. It turned out that I had to speak in front of an almost full ballroom of parents with no preparation. I was terrified, but it was a great public speaking experience. I told my story and explained how the parents should let their children grow up, but still be involved in their lives for support and advice.

After my near heart attack, the team reconvened and decided to go practice separately for tomorrow. We had rehearsed so much that we needed a break to get our heads on straight. Mr. Correia left us to work by our own accord, and trusted us to be ready for game time, 10 a.m. Friday morning.

We were as ready as we’d ever be.

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I can’t wait to find out how they did!  Thanks again, Frank!

As always, don’t forget to “Like” us on FACEBOOK and look for our WIBSBP and ELW groups on LinkedIN!

Kaithlyn

Kaithlyn Kayer
Associate Director, Entrepreneurial Studies

David Chu
Director, Entrepreneurial Studies & Pre-business Advisor

This is Summer Business Program: Part 3

June 21st, 2012 by kkayer

Frank DeLeo ’14 is on a role! Here is a recap of week 3.

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The end of week three meant that there is only one week of the program to go. With the team project looming, I was in desperate need of an energy boost to get motivated. My prayers were answered when Tom Patton ’86 and Carolyn Rizzoli ’86 led Thursday’s session. Personally, it was the most exciting day of the program, hands down. When 4 o’clock rolled around I didn’t want it to end.

During the session, we learned about marketing and business ethics. In the morning, we played the marketing game. We weren’t given any rules other than what type of product we were selling. Our objective was to make the most profit during the allotted time by selling exclusively to or in combination with the three types of stores: a high end boutique, a department store, or a big retail chain.

Chaos and role-playing ensued with time being of the essence. My team, Karma, ended up winning with over 12,000 dollars in profit in 3 hours. The game taught me how to manage time, think about possible curveballs, and communicate with the different parts of a supply chain: the banks, the customers, and the manufacturers.

After lunch, we resumed on the topic of business ethics. Mr. Patton role-played as we worked through different, difficult ethical dilemmas. The answers were not black and white due to the varying circumstances and legal consequences. Through acting out the scenarios, he turned a provocative subject into a good time. The best part was that all of the situations were real life examples, and we learned how he personally dealt with them.

What I took away from our discussion was that we need to make many moral decisions during our lifetime; we have to take a step back, think rationally and logically, and rely on our values to make the right decision.

The project being a week away meant buckling down on the presentation over the weekend. On Friday and Saturday, my team structured and created the first draft of our PowerPoint. Since we had a meeting with Mr. Correia at his house on Sunday, we needed to bring something to get feedback on.

When we arrived at the Correia household, we had a phenomenal Father’s Day bbq. Mr. Correia having us over on a day set aside for relaxation and spending time with family was an incredibly nice gesture. I took advantage of the opportunity because I was in dire need of solid food. Rice and take out just wasn’t cutting it. After dinner, we got down to business. The PowerPoint definitely needed touching up; in particular, the content and word choice. I had already cut down majority of our wordy slides; however, it was simply not enough. In the end, we had a productive evening, which resulted in plenty of work that needs to be completed as we move forward.

As the weekend comes to a close, the start of week four is upon us. Week four is crunch time. The Excel and PowerPoint sessions this week will provide pertinent information to add to our presentation. A lot of long days are ahead. Between practicing, preparing, and touching up our presentation in order to get it just right, my team has the mentality of knowing our facts cold. Every word, sentence, and gesture will be scrutinized to uncover its relevance to the overall message we want to convey. We don’t care how much work it takes. We want to be number one.

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Thanks, Frank!  Two more posts to go for SBP… will Frank’s team take home the win?  Keep reading to find out!

As always, don’t forget to “Like” us on FACEBOOK and look for our WIBSBP and ELW groups on LinkedIN!

Kaithlyn

Kaithlyn Kayer
Associate Director, Entrepreneurial Studies

David Chu
Director, Entrepreneurial Studies & Pre-business Advisor

This is Summer Business Program : Part 2

June 19th, 2012 by kkayer

Here’s the latest post from guest blogger Frank DeLeo!  Enjoy!

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With the conclusion to week two of the SBP, new challenges awaited me at the beginning of week three. The amount of valuable information kept flowing, causing me to fill page after page of legal pad with important notes. After another phenomenal week in the program, I could only hope that week three would top the prior two weeks to kick my adrenaline up another notch.

Before I got there, a lot of work needed to be accomplished on the team project over the weekend. Our team meeting was on Sunday, so Saturday I spent most of the day continuing research and gaining as much knowledge about Home Depot and their customers as possible. On Sunday, I spent the morning and afternoon in Hopkinton, MA by the pool with my best friends from Holy Cross. We had a tiny celebration because, conveniently, it was my two year anniversary with my girlfriend. It was nice to get off campus and have solid food due to my meal scavenging tactics and lack luster cooking ability. The event was a just the change of pace I needed to recharge my batteries to press on with the program after still being burnt out from the academic rigor of the past semester.

From my relaxing afternoon by the pool, I was dropped off in Milford, MA at my executives home (Al Correia ’78). There we had a nice meal and accomplished a ton of work: the planning of our project, the structure of our project, and the determination of the remaining steps needed to create our presentation. At the meeting, we disclosed all of the information we had obtained from our excursion to Home Depot the past week. We discussed our interactions with customers and our questioning with sales associates as well as what we saw in the ceiling and walling isles. Ultimately, we came to a consensus on customer types, and the particular needs/wants of each group. From there, steps were laid out and responsibilities divvied up in order to proceed through our plan of attack.

The first half of week three has brought new and intriguing topics to the forefront. Personal finance and the management of the Holy Cross endowment definitely sparked my interest. Because I am a very future oriented thinker, personal finance really struck an emotional cord within me. I consider this trait to be a double-edged sword. It is a benefit because I always plan ahead, and am constantly thinking about how I am going to support my family in the years to come. On the other hand, I tend not to live in the present, which causes me to miss out on some of the worry free fun college has to offer. I by no means don’t enjoy the college experience, I just tend to worry about the future more than the average person, which is reasonable considering the current economic climate. Regardless, the session with Professor Anderton on Tuesday taught me about bond and stock mutual funds, compound interest, and general investing strategies just to name a few.

On Wednesday, Tim Jerry ’00 taught us about how Holy Cross invests its endowment. This is a behind the scenes topic that never came to mind. It was definitely much different than personal finance, especially when it came to investment strategy. When dealing with an institutional endowment the standard deviation and return rates played a huge factor. Generally, when creating such a portfolio, the investments need to be more conservative. On the other hand, in personal finance you can take more risks in hope for a higher return. We ultimately created our own endowment portfolio and learned about hedge funds, real assets, fixed income, and equities.

Week three is flying by. Every day is a new opportunity to learn, and the information that is being presented has great practical use now and in the future. I cannot believe there is only 10 days left before I pack up and head back to CT for the summer. I’m making the best of each session, and can only hope that I continue to soak up all of the business knowledge that I’m being exposed to.

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Thank you, Frank! It seems like the teams have some stiff competition this year.  Can’t wait to hear more!

As always, don’t forget to “Like” us on FACEBOOK and look for our WIBSBP and ELW groups on LinkedIN!

Kaithlyn

Kaithlyn Kayer
Associate Director, Entrepreneurial Studies

David Chu
Director, Entrepreneurial Studies & Pre-business Advisor

This is Summer Business Program: Part 1

June 11th, 2012 by kkayer

With the unveiling of our new SBP project, we’ve asked one of our SBP students to guest blog about their experience.  Frank wanted to introduce himself, so I’ve left him to it.  Enjoy!

Hi everyone. My name is Frank DeLeo. I am a psychology major and environmental studies concentrator in the class of 2014. The reason I am participating in the Summer Business Program (SBP) this year is because of my profound interest in the field that was sparked by the Executive Leadership Workshop (ELW).

ELW proved to me that my liberal arts education could be applied successfully in the business world. Like many students going into college, I had the mindset that I had to be an economics or accounting major to even consider an occupation or internship in business. However, that is simply not the case. This is a serious misconception that is deterring students from the field. Gaining a background in business, despite being a social science major, can only benefit me, and those of all majors in the long run.

After ELW ended, I felt myself yearning for a more in depth experience. As psychology major, I enjoy understanding how people think and the reasoning behind their actions; therefore, I fell in love with marketing and advertising. ELW touched on both of these topics, but not as in depth as I would have wanted due to time constraints. To gain a better understanding of the many facets of business, not just marketing and advertising, I was driven to sign up for SBP. Now two months after the application process, I am back on campus living in Carlin for the next two weeks.

Two weeks into the SBP, it is safe to say that the program is everything I thought it was going to be…and more.  I am learning about everything I signed up for: starting a business, finance, marketing, sales, etc. Thus far, both Friday sessions have left a lasting impression on me.

Last Friday (June 1) was the session on entrepreneurial strategies with Jerry Snee ’75, president and CEO of Neuronrobotics. The primary take home message from the session was that the consulting vertebrate adds up to create the culture of a company. The various vertebrate (vision, mission, roles, goals, decisions, and rewards) can be slightly off and still produce a successful company; however, if one or more of the vertebrate are misaligned the company cannot function effectively. Prior to the session, the class took the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. The self awareness that arose from deciphering the results was incredibly valuable. I discovered that I am an ENTJ, and that I have to deal with particular people in certain ways to tailor to their personality type. Who would have thought that talking with an introvert is drastically different than an extrovert.

This past Friday (June 8 ) was the session on advertising with Brian Sheehan ’83. This was the most fun I have had in a session thus far. Between watching ads, learning how to create a marketing campaign, and conducting SWOT and OGSM analyses, every aspect of the session was exactly the in depth advertising experience I was looking for. Not only did it satisfy my business craving, but the information directly pertained to our group project.

The group project couldn’t have been a better fit for my business interests: creating a marketing campaign for a company. This is exactly the opportunity I need to show how my education can aid me in the business world. My group consists of four rising juniors and one rising sophomore. The five of us come from varying academic backgrounds. Not one of us is an econ or accounting major. We are the only team to have no one from either of those majors in the group. This has not deterred our work ethic in the slightest.

On Thursday, we went over to Home Depot to really dive headfirst into the project. We talked with customers, associates, managers, etc to learn everything we can about the customers. The customers are our number one focus. Speaking with them has provided pertinent information on likes and dislikes to current types of renovation and installation options. For the sake of the team, I am not going to get into any details about our strategy for the project. I will say that we are learning a lot and are diligent in doing our research. In addition, we have the guidance and support of our competitive and intelligent executive, Al Correia ’78. He gets us inspired at every meeting. Our fourth meeting is on Sunday and we have plenty of new info to share.

Thanks, Frank!  Looking forward to the next installment.

As always, don’t forget to “Like” us on FACEBOOK and look for our WIBSBP and ELW groups on LinkedIN!

Kaithlyn

Kaithlyn Kayer
Associate Director, Entrepreneurial Studies

David Chu
Director, Entrepreneurial Studies & Pre-business Advisor

The “New” Summer Business Program: Students become Consultants

June 6th, 2012 by kkayer

This year, the  Summer Business Program has a new look!  Based on feedback from students and executives, we’ve decided to raise the stakes.  This summer, unlike programs in the past, our students are functioning as actual consulting teams.

Summer Business Program is a 4-week immersion into business practices.  The program consists of day-long workshops that fall under 4 modules: understanding business, business skills, leadership, and entrepreneurship. These workshops are taught by Holy Cross alumni who currently work in the business world and are teaching from real life experiences.

In addition to the workshops, SBP students are partaking in a competition.  In the past, 6 teams of 4 students were lead by an alum executive who provided them with a project.  This project was a hypothetical (but intensive) approach to creating a business plan or solving a particular business problem.

Due to the hardwork and success of the last few programs, we have had to devise a way to make the competition more challenging.  We gathered feedback from past executives and presenters and found a clear theme: the students are doing real world quality work.  So, we decided to give them a real world project.

Our office (the Ciocca Office of Entrepreneuiral Studies) presented an offer to the members of the Holy Cross Entrepreneurs Group in the Boston area: Give us a project and we’ll give you 6 competing consulting teams to provide a solution/service/plan – for free!

Needless to say, we had more than one interested company, but after serious deliberation, we have partnered with Mats, Inc. to help create a marketing plan and pitch for a new venture they are introducing.  In turn, Mats, Inc. will use the winning team’s plan to launch this project and our students will have gained real consulting experience.

The teams will still have an executive to act as mentor and advisor.  Also, a team from Mats, Inc will be holding status meetings to check on progress.  But, make no mistake, the students are running the show.  The teams are competing for a cash prize, bragging rights, and the chance to add successful marketing consultant to their resumes!

We hope this is the first of many real life ventures the Summer Business Program attempts.  Good luck to all and may the best team win!

As always, don’t forget to “Like” us on FACEBOOK and look for our WIBSBP and ELW groups on LinkedIN!

Kaithlyn

Kaithlyn Kayer
Associate Director, Entrepreneurial Studies

David Chu
Director, Entrepreneurial Studies & Pre-business Advisor