Monthly Archives: June 2013

Cal State Fullerton Management 461 | Fall 2013

FastStart.studio is one a business incubator; check out their website to see what they do

For the fall 2013 semester, the Entrepreneurial Management course (MGMT 461) will be featuring a new experimental version built around the theory and practices associated with “lean startup” – the hottest new domain in entrepreneurship. Lean Startup emphasizes experimentation, customer feedback and iterative design over formal planning.

In MGMT 461, you will learn “lean startup” techniques to assess and improve the viability of a new product or service. These techniques will be applied to help early-stage entrepreneurs working within FastStart.studio – one of Southern California’s most creative and influential new business incubators. In other words, you will be helping these entrepreneurs build products and services that customers actually want to purchase.

This course will be taught by Dr. David Obstfeld and the founder of FastStart.Studio, Michael Sawitz.

NOTE: This section of 461 will meet on Wednesday evenings from 7 to 9:45 pm either at the CSUF’s Irvine Campus OR at FastStart.studio itself. If you want to take this class you better hurry up because space is limited. Also, the prerequisites for this class are: ACCTG 201B and MGMT 339.

Dr. David Obstfeld: He will be teaching this innovative class starting in the Fall 2013 semester

Personality Traits That Will Get You Hired

Forbes Online recently published an article by Meghan Casserly that discussed the top five personality traits employers look for when hiring.  The top five traits to display during a job interview are:

  1. Professionalism –  A projection of preparedness and competence.
  2. High-energy – As it sounds. Game on.
  3. Confidence – Positive but not arrogant.
  4. Self-monitoring – Awareness of how you are perceived.
  5. Intellectual curiosity – Eagerness to explore new things.

With these traits or characteristics identified, let’s now discuss some tips to emphasize these traits during an interview.

Professionalism

DOs

  • Arrive early or at least on time
  • Know how to get to the interview site (get good directions)
  • Research the company, interviewer, and industry beforehand
  • Bring extra copies of your resume
  • Dress professionally and be neatly groomed
  • Have good posture
  • Keep your answers structured and to the point

DON’Ts

  • Make negative comments about your past employers
  • Smoke a cigarette beforehand (you’ll smell)
  • Chew gum
  • Wear strong perfume or cologne
  • Wear jewelry or clothing with religious or political connotations
  • Find silence uncomfortable and ramble
  • Bring friends or relatives with you to the interview site
  • Comb your hair, fix makeup, or adjust clothing during the interview

High-energy

DOs

  • Eat a good breakfast
  • Smile
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Have a positive, energetic tone of voice
  • Talk about your professional goals
  • Give examples of going “above and beyond”

DON’Ts

  • Go out partying or stay up late the night before
  • Go overboard with coffee or energy drinks (you’ll just appear nervous)
  • Be overly chatty or fidgety
  • Slouch, yawn, or demonstrate lethargic behavior

Confidence

DOs

  • Watch your body language
  • Have a firm handshake (but not too firm)
  • Have good eye contact
  • Adjust your chair so you are comfortable
  • Wear comfortable, nice-looking clothes so you are relaxed and confident
  • Remember that you are qualified and well-suited for this position
  • Take time to appropriately respond to questions
  • Practice your interview skills with a  mirror or video camera
  • Talk about your accomplishments and skills

DON’Ts

  • Blurt out whatever comes to mind in an attempt to fill the silence
  • Appear arrogant or apathetic (like you are just shopping around)
  • Brag or embellish your accomplishments

Self-monitoring

DOs

  • Demonstrate self-reflection and awareness when you talk about yourself
  • Be able to articulately identify your unique skills and values
  • Show that you are self-directed
  • Be aware of your body language and tone of voice
  • Be sensitive to social cues and nonverbal communication

DON’Ts

  • Say you need constant feedback or step-by-step instructions
  • Look at your cell phone or watch during the interview
  • Make condescending comments about anyone or anything

Intellectual curiosity

DOs

  • Demonstrate willingness to learn new skills and integrate new technology
  • Demonstrate your knowledge and enthusiasm about the organization
  • Ask great questions about the company, position, and industry
  • Reference books/articles you’ve read that are related to the company

DON’Ts

  • Say you don’t have any questions
  • Mention that you find new technology intimidating or frustrating

The trick here is balance.  Too confident, and you’ll appear arrogant.  Not confident enough, and you’ll seem insecure.  Keep these tips in mind and try them out in your everyday life to see what works for you.  Ask for feedback from friends and co-workers about how you are perceived in your daily interactions.  Be self-aware!

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

High School Students Not Ready for College

Most high school seniors aren’t ready for college, and this is bad news for the United States. 

The College Board, which administers the SAT, released findings that indicated that only 43% of high school students are prepared to go to college, based on their test scores.  President of the College Board, Gaston Caperton, said in an accompanying statement, “When less than half of kids who want to go to college are prepared to do so, that system is failing.” 

Some high schools are so bad that they are called “drop out factories” where less than 60% of students graduate.

In a US News article by Laura McMullen, the author writes that high school graduation rates vary drastically among the different states.  The nation’s graduation rate was 75.5 in 2009.

In a report called “Building a Grad Nation” published by the Alliance for Excellent Education, America’s Promise Alliance, Civic Enterprises, and the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University, discusses the crisis in American schools.  25% of all children are not graduating high school, and 40% of minority children are not graduating.

The report says, “The high school dropout crisis in the United States claims more than one million students each year, costing individuals the loss of potential earnings and the nation hundreds of billions of dollars in lost revenue, lower economic activity and increased social services.”  The report says that high educational attainment results in higher earnings for individuals, and lowers costs to taxpayers. 

The achievement gap between different groups of students is significant.  While some people may chalk it up to cultural differences, whether a child is rich or poor is a huge factor in determining academic success.  Poor children have disproportionately less access to resources like high-quality prekindergarten and are often under more stress in the family environment. 

States that have been leaders in improving high school graduation rates: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin.  States that are lagging include Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, New Jersey, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, Rhode Island, and Utah.

While there has been some progress, including a decline in the number of “drop out factories”, the fact remains that many children are not getting the education they deserve.  Yes, we are recovering from a rough recession, but now is the time to support education.  America needs an innovative, hardworking, educated workforce if we want to be competitive now and in the future.  In the words of former Harvard president Derek Bok, “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.”

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

Is Cursive a Dying Art?

 

An increasing number of elementary schools are dropping cursive from their curriculum, but some schools continue to teach the lost art.  As computers and iPads become more common in the classroom, students are often taught typing skills at the expense of cursive.  Printing letters is considered sufficient by most students and many educators, and cursive may be on its way out.  But there may be a case for continuing to teach cursive.

While you are here we would appreciate it if you learned a little about what we do for the community.

First of all, why is cursive given less of a priority in classrooms?  Teachers are crunched for time as they prepare for standardized tests and given the choice, many choose typing and printing over the time-consuming task of teaching cursive.  Time that used to be spent forming the loops and curves of cursive handwriting is now spent in computer labs, learning the layout of the keyboard and how to type quickly in this internet-driven information age.

If you asked the average child or young adult on the street today, the overwhelming majority would prefer to print or type something, instead of writing it in cursive.  Most students were taught cursive in elementary school, around third grade, but were not forced to use it much beyond middle school/junior high.  As a result, many students don’t learn it well and find the task time-consuming and laborious.  In this age of rapid-fire text messages and emails, why should they care?

There is certainly a case for abandoning cursive altogether.  Time marches on and technology evolves.  Chalk boards make way for white boards.  Fuzzy overhead projectors are replaced by electronic “smart boards” that are connected to the teacher’s computer screen.  And since even our signatures are often given electronically these days, does cursive really have a place in the twenty-first century?

Most states have agreed to national curriculum standards that do not include cursive, and instead focus on typing, says Christina Hoag of the Associated Press.  California is one of the few states to include a cursive requirement.

Why keep it?  It helps with motor skills and coordination, and crafting a unique signature is a part of an individual’s identity.  Despite the prevalence of typed materials, we are still judged by the neatness of our handwriting or printing.  Cursive, when learned correctly, is faster than printing and can give kids an edge during the essay portions of standardized tests like the SAT.  And in an age when there are countless cuts to arts and humanities programs, some kids may enjoy cursive as a creative outlet.  While some teenagers and young adults may  not have a need to write cursive, the ability to read cursive is still relevant, and can be a source of embarrassment for some people.

With less time in the classroom and more material to cover, it is no surprise that teachers find they must prioritize their activities.  A time-honored, but increasingly obsolete, practice like cursive is an easy target to eliminate from the curriculum.  It may be too soon to say that cursive is dead, but it may be soon enough.

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

Sources:

Associated Press/Yahoo News “Some States Preserve Penmanship Despite Tech Gains” by Christina Hoag: http://news.yahoo.com/states-preserve-penmanship-despite-tech-gains-190737500.html

Colorado Springs Gazette “Dying Art of Cursive Lingers in Some Classrooms” by Carol McGraw: http://www.gazette.com/articles/cursive-147482-dying-art.html#ixzz2DL2uadXD

Entrepreneurship Scholarship Winners 2013

Conrey Insurance Brokers and Risk Managers Entrepreneurial Scholarship

Robert Gates won this $3,000 award and is well on his way to becoming a serial entrepreneur.

Scholarship winner Robert Gates with scholarship sponsors Vicki and Jerry Conrey

State Farm Scholarship

Megan Baptista won this $1,000 scholarship from State Farm!

Michael Sawitz’ FastStart.studio Scholarships

FastStart.studio is once again offering startup support to three CSUF student founded teams.

John Chi, founder of stem cell therapy company Synova Life Sciences and winner of the CSUF Business Plan Competition 2013, accepting award from Michael Sawitz of FastStart.studio

Nick Ajluni, founder of hangover mitigating drink powder company NixFix Chasers, accepting award from Michael Sawitz, owner of FastStart.studio

Chris Aaron, member of open wheel race car manufacturer Kaizen Motors, accepting award from FastStart.studio owner Michael Sawitz

For more information on this please visit Pam McLaren’s excellent story on it called: Giving a Lift to Entrepreneurial Efforts.

Dads: An Untapped Market

Go Dads!

In the spirit of Father’s Day, I think it’s time that entrepreneurs looked more actively at the dad market. Mothers are increasingly more educated than fathers and are becoming the primary breadwinners in the household (Source). And that means more stay-at-home dads.

So why then are so few companies reaching out to these dads? The largest e-commerce retailer, Amazon, has a program for parents called Amazon Mom. Plum District, which does daily-deals for moms. And check out any parenting magazine, and you’ll see that it is written for mothers.

While the dad market is undoubtedly smaller than the mom market, it is still attractive for entrepreneurs because it is has not yet caught the attention of the big firms. In other words, it’s the perfect time for new firms to enter the market as the level of competition is lower.

A few entrepreneurs have already taken advantage of this opportunity. Dads now have websites and blogs just for them (8bitdad.com, greatdad.com, books about parenting from their perspective (a recent hit is a parody imagining Darth Vader as a dad, and their own swag at www.daddyscrubs.com).

So, entrepreneurs – let’s start brainstorming: what are some other dad-specific needs or problems that remain unaddressed?

The preceding was a post from Dr. Atul Teckchandani, one of the great professors teaching Entrepreneurship at CSUF.