Monthly Archives: April 2013

CSUF Student Consulting – Leadership

Leadership is one of the most underrated factors in a business’ success. In our experience, entrepreneurs are willing to buy dozens of books about leadership but they are unwilling to go the extra step needed to thoughtfully craft a leadership strategy for their business.

What our program offers is a semester-long project completed by a team of Student Entrepreneurs, their professor and a mentor from the professional world that will create a thorough leadership strategy for any small to medium-sized business. Our program has a long history of success, which is punctuated by our program’s recent two third-place awards in a national competition. Beyond that, our program has won over twenty such awards during its more than two decades of existence.

Please view the following video that features one of our many happy Leadership Student Consulting clients.

Our recruiting seasons center around our Spring and Fall Semesters. If you have any questions, comments or inquiries about our program please contact our Case Coordinator, Ms. Charlesetta Medina, either at cymedina@fullerton.edu or (657) 278-8243. She is very passionate about this program and will happily answer all of your questions. If she is not immediately available please leave her a message with your contact information and she will get back to you as soon as possible.

CSUF Business Plan Competition 2013 Finals

After months of hard work by our student entrepreneurs we have a winner! But before we get ahead of ourselves here let us first talk about the Finals.

It was a morning event and, unlike the first CSUF Business Plan Competition Finals, we had good weather, which was nice. The three finalists – Synova Life Sciences, NixFix Chasers and The Edge – were all in top form during their presentations and each team impressed our judges and the crowd. It was a close competition (very close actually) and in the end Synova Life Sciences won the day with NixFix Chasers taking second place and The Edge third.

(Watch this video summary of the event for some more depth about the Finals)

Synova Receiving 1st Place Award
From L to R: Thomas Flores, Bryan Trivedi, Cesar Enchante, John Chi & John Bradley Jackson

This competition is a rigorous event that forces all entrants to address the important aspects that face every new business such as:

  • How will you market this business?
  • Who are your customers?
  • Who is on your team and what holes do you need to fill in your founding team?
  • What is the competitive landscape?
  • How much funding do you need to successfully launch this business?
  • How will your company fair financially over the coming three years?

NixFix Receiving 2nd Place Award
From L to R: Nick Ajluni & John Bradley Jackson

And so on with these probing questions which elicit much more circumspect plans from our students. These are the kinds of questions that every entrepreneur must face while launching a business and being able to put forth these questions to students before they take their first steps on this journey is invaluable to their growth as a student entrepreneur.

What is really impressive about many of the plans that we saw during this competition is that they are in the process of launching these businesses or will soon launch them (included in this group are all three finalists). Of course, some of the student entrepreneurs won’t end up launching their ideas but some will, which is what is important.

The Edge Receiving 3rd Place Award
From L to R: Mayra Figueroa & John Bradley Jackson

In the future we plan on doing some posts on the individual teams that participated in this competition so make sure to check back from time to time.

CSUF Business Plan Competition 2013 Finals

You are all invited to the CSUF Business Plan Competition 2013 Finals

Who: All Students are welcome – an Opportunity Drawing will be held for all students in attendance, prizes include: iPad Mini, Angels Tickets, concert tickets, lodging at a resort and more (student ID must be shown in order to enter Opportunity Drawing)

Faculty, alumni, staff and everyone else who is a friend of entrepreneurship is welcomed to this event as well (sorry, you will not be eligible for those wonderful prizes however)

What: CSUF Business Plan Competition Finals. The Top 3 CSUF teams will present their business concepts to a panel of distinguished judges and one team will be crowned the winner.

When: this Wednesday, April 17 from 9:30am to noon

Where: TSU, Pavilion A

CSU Fullerton Business Cases Place Nationally

Back in February, we ran a story on this blog titled “CSUF Student Entrepreneurs Place in National Business Consulting Competition.” It’s a good post, you should read it.

On March 27, California State University, Fullerton ran a story on these same students titled: “National Honors Add to Business College Record.” Here’s a bit of it:

This year’s third-place finishes in both the undergraduate and graduate categories makes this the 22nd year that teams have won or placed in the top 10 of the Small Business Institute Student Consulting Project of the Year Competition.

Overall, Titans have taken the national title 10 times since 1991 — most recently in 2012 — and placed in the top 10 every year but one. (See Case Study in Victory)

“Once again, our students have proven themselves against other student teams from across the country,” said John Bradley Jackson, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship, which connects student teams with clients.

“While our winning record is well-known,” he added, “every semester students report that they learned more doing their consulting projects than in any college class or program.”

And here is what a couple of the MBA students had to say about their experience:

“I loved seeing the passion of a nonprofit,” said William Wojciak of Yorba Linda. “We were asked to help define the Eddie Nash organization as a statement and a solution to supporting foster youth in Orange County. This would include creating a recognizable and relatable brand, developing a comprehensive business model to increase awareness of the nonprofit and its cause, and furthering the outreach that had been single-handedly spearheaded by Bryan since the Eddie Nash Foundation’s inception.”

“The outstanding motivator for me was that I genuinely felt connected to the enterprise,” said Ozhen Aziziershadi of Aliso Viejo, “and I was really inspired by the life story of the founder of the organization.”

For a refresher on what the CSUF Student Consulting Program is all about please watch the following.

11 Job Interviews Tips

Here are a few tips for your next job interview:

1.  Be early. Never be late. It sounds simple, but I am always amazed about how many candidates show up late complaining about traffic and how their GPS lied to them. Get there early.

2. Dress the part.   I’m sure you’re very stylish, but the job interview is the wrong platform to show off your modern fashion sensibility.  Unless you’re interviewing for a position that requires you to dress according to the latest trends, hold off on the skinny jeans and pass on the club clothes. Leave the body jewelry at home. Cover up the tattoos. Most hiring managers will be older than you and dress like your parents. That is just the way it is; get used to it.

3.  Be mindful of your body language.  Maintain good posture, smile, and make good eye contact.  This goes a long way. Video practice may help; have a friend capture the “real you” in a practice session. Beware that this video may scare you a bit.

4.  Don’t wing it.   Did you ever have to give a presentation or take a public speaking course in school?  The ability to think on your toes is a good skill, but as these experiences will tell you, preparation is always better than improvisation.  Spend some time doing practice interviews with someone. Most interviewers ask the same old questions.  Why are interested in this job? What you are strengths? What are you weaknesses? Where do you want to be in 5 years? Thus, you can prepare your answers for these predictable questions.

5. Do your homework on the company.  Prior to meeting with the potential employer, read the mission statement of the company, poke around their website, and thoroughly read the description for the job position.  Having done this research will help you understand the company’s needs.  This bleeds into the next tip.

6.  It is not all about you.  You ought to focus on the company’s needs and how your abilities and experiences will help them.  Even though your focus is on the company, talk about why these things make you the ideal candidate for the position and share the accomplishments that will validate these claims.  Tell them what makes you different from other candidates.  Don’t be afraid to articulate why you’re the best fit for their company.  Give examples.

7.   Listen intently.  The employer may give you insights as to what they’re looking for which may prove very valuable in the next level interview. By the way, listening means not talking and staying in the moment; avoid trying to think ahead.

8.  Don’t put too much emphasis on your last job.  Answer the questions you’re asked, but be mindful of where you are.   Talking too much about why you were laid off or chose to leave your last job at an interview is like crying about an “ex” on a first date.  By doing this, you risk making yourself appear bitter or hung up on your old job.

9.  If you want to work at the company, tell them.  Not asking the potential employer for the position can be a mistake.  Tell them why you want to work for their company. It may sound silly, but employers want to hire people who want to work for them. Help them help you.

10.  Be genuine.  Avoid pretending to be someone you are not. Interviews can be nerve-racking, but don’t be afraid to laugh and let your personality shine through. Tell them how you are different than the rest of the thundering herd of applicants. Celebrate your uniqueness. The goal is to be remembered and your differentiation will help them remember you.

11. Always follow up.  Personal handwritten note cards are reputed to be the most powerful method. Also, be sure to call the potential employer to thank them for giving you the chance to talk with them; call their land line since and leave a voice mail.

Good luck.

John Bradley Jackson
Director, Center for Entrepreneurship
jjackson@fulleton.edu