June 1, 2012: Guest post about the real-world application of a business education, by GSSE MBA Candidate and NEVA Entrepreneur Chris Palmer. Chris is Co-Founder of the social enterprise Creative Spring Productions – offering photo editing services to wedding photographers through youth programs in the Philippines. For more information, visit www.creativespringproductions.com.
The spring semester ended in a flurry of presentations, papers, and exams. Although these last weeks of the semester were a bit hectic, my classroom learning came to good use right away during the summer practicum period of the GSSE MBA.
The day after the last exam I was on a plane headed to Kansas City and Michigan to pitch my new social venture to a variety of potential clients and partners. A product of my team’s brilliance and the GSSE MBA coursework, I went prepared with the pitch that I made for class presentations. After endless rehearsals and final presentation, I was able to articulate what exactly I have been up to and hope to accomplish with the Creative Spring venture. Instead of pitching the venture in a classroom with a detailed PowerPoint presentation to convey the idea, I was now only equipped with my words. The truth is, the classroom preparation allowed me to concisely explain the venture and to field the subsequent questions, whether I was at a breakfast meeting, a backyard BBQ, or even a wedding reception. All the time spent writing and rewriting drafts of what my team and I were doing wasn’t wasted. It was preparation for real world conversations.
A second experience where I found my formal education coming into play was when I was meeting with potential future investors in Michigan. Not only were they impressed by how much work and research my team and I had completed, but they also were impressed that I could speak their language about the financials and expectations for future valuation of the company. They even said that the business plan that we completed for the Sustainable Venturing class was one of the most thorough and complete plans that they have seen come through their office. Even though this was only one piece of the conversation, I was affirmed that the hard work that my team and I put in during this semester counted for something more than just grades. Ultimately, this was my hope coming to the GSSE MBA program: having a tangible business that will continue after all the school-related work is long gone.