Catching up with MBV alum Tarik Kidane

Tarik Kidane headshot

BestPrep’s Communications Intern and past Minnesota Business Venture (MBV) student, Peaches Avre, spoke with another MBV alum and Corporate Wellness Manager at Gympass, Tarik Kidane, who shared his experience at camp and how it has helped him in his career.

Tarik attended BestPrep’s business and career high school summer camp, MBV, as a student in 2012 at St. Cloud University and returned as a CEO the following year to lead his “company” or small group. In both roles, Tarik learned business and professional skills, leadership skills, the importance of networking, and even discovered new aspects about himself. He mentioned that he “always wanted to be an entrepreneur and that MBV made him realize that’s the path he wanted to take.” Attending camp helped him define his career goals and serve as a steppingstone to his success. His career goals are to run the marketing division of a top sports organization, start his own sports marketing agency in Minnesota, and start a social serving business.

His favorite part about his MBV experience were the keynote speakers because they showed him what’s possible and made him hopeful about his future in business. One of his highlights was meeting keynote speaker Jeff Munneke, Vice President of Fan Experience at Timberwolves/Lynx. Because of his interest in the sports industry, Tarik jumped at the chance to network with Jeff following his keynote to discuss his career in more detail. They have since stayed in touch, and Tarik uses the tips and valuable networking connections Jeff has provided to enhance his career growth.

After high school, Tarik attended the University of St. Thomas with a major in Entrepreneurship. One of his assignments was to create an actual product, draft a business plan, and even achieve a sales goal by the end of the semester – a more “real world” version of Minnesota Business Venture. He created a t-shirt retail business that donated proceeds to non-profits. After his project was completed, he took the idea a step further. During his senior year in 2018, he and his business partner Mohamed Malim founded Epimonia, a fashion apparel that aims to spread love and hope to refugees. Not only do they donate 10% of proceeds to refugee organizations, but they also use their platform and products to educate people on what the word “refugee” means in an attempt to remove the stigma behind it.

Since graduating college, Tarik has had numerous jobs in the sports marketing field, helping him work towards his dream career of owning his own sports marketing agency in Minnesota. He has worked as a Research Analyst at Bleacher Report, Social Media Producer at BallStar, and even interned as a Marketing and Events Coordinator with the NCAA Minneapolis Final Four. He was also a selected participant at a summer immersion program, Manhattan Sports Business Academy, that offered him an internship and workshops to help accelerate his career.

Although every job was different from the last, he learned that all experiences, no matter how small, prepare you for your future. “Even if it’s not a job you’re particularly interested in, it helps build on skills, build connections, and provides a list of applicable jobs on a resume.” He attributes the skills he has obtained over the years to his experience at MBV. He’s enhanced his business skills by working in sales and marketing, doing analytical problem solving, strategic planning, and negotiation. Through each job experience, he’s developed good communication with others, efficient time management, adaptability, strong work ethic, high engagement in networking, and leadership. “I’m glad that I had a foundation like MBV that guided me throughout my career and that I had a basic understanding of what to expect. It helped prepare me for every role I encountered.”  In fact, Tarik still has his binder and notes from MBV and references it regularly to refresh his memory.

When asked about advice for young people, he said, “It’s okay to make mistakes. Whatever you mess up on today, learn from it and do better tomorrow. Work hard but have fun!” He says it’s important to have strong work ethic but to also enjoy it in the process.

Minnesota Business Venture 2020 will be virtual and spots are still open for July 27-29! Register online today.