We are now on the third day of Minnesota Business Venture (MBV) at St. John’s University! Following breakfast and a short company meeting, students headed to the auditorium to listen to Kristi Piehl, founder of Media Minefield. After working as a TV reporter for twelve years, Piehl switched career paths to start her own public relations business. “My story is a lot of ‘Marvel moments’- things that happened that I didn’t see coming,” she explained. Piehl encouraged students to identify ‘Marvel moments’ in their own lives and have the courage to take risks in the pursuit of their dreams. “It’s all about recognizing these moments, using them for good, and moving forward,” Piehl reflected.
Students then split up to attend business plan breakout sessions. Some company members learned more about marketing and methods used to sell products from Neil Manthe of Securian Financial. Others went to Finance 101 with Matt Molinaro of Ecolab, where they discovered the importance of income statements, taxes, and cash flow. The rest of the students became familiar with operations and the process of production in the session with Allison Rubin of Target. These business plan breakout sessions allowed students the opportunity to learn about the different roles in a company. Students will incorporate this new knowledge to contribute to their company business plans.
After that, students had over an hour to eat lunch and prepare for the mock interviews. Many students dressed in professional attire and filled out a résumé prior to the interviews. Then, students met at the Great Hall, where volunteers from the local community conducted one-on-one mock interviews with each student. After the interviews, students received feedback and advice from the volunteers. From smiles to handshakes, and eye contact to body language, the students did a wonderful job with mock interviews, strengthening skills they will need for future careers.
Later, students regrouped in the auditorium where Rob Goggins, President of Great Clips, gave a presentation about leadership. Goggins told the story of his path to success, from being a child from a low-income family to becoming the president of the world’s largest hair salon company. According to Goggins, passion, inspiration, integrity/trust, delegation, and empathy are the qualities that make an excellent leader. At the end of the session, one student asked what makes a leader unique. Goggins defined a leader as someone who has the integrity to take action: “It’s very easy to identify problems. Very few people go the extra step to solve those problems.”
In the evening, students met with their companies to finalize the details of their business plan products. The marketing, operations, and finance teams in each company continued to work on their tasks. The marketing teams designed advertisements and a company logo, while the operations teams researched the raw materials necessary to manufacture their product. The finance teams calculated the costs of materials, benefits, and employment within their companies.
Another successful day of MBV is over! After company meetings, students will have recreational time to play basketball and volleyball. Today students gained new leadership skills and interviewing tips that will be useful in the entrepreneurial world. We are super excited for camp tomorrow!