Hear from last summer’s interns about
their experience with Collegiate!
I didn’t understand failure and perseverance until my summer with Collegiate Entrepreneurs. I used to wander aimlessly, thinking I wanted to pursue entrepreneurship without really knowing what that meant.
Like a lot of other people this summer, I struggled to find and retain employees to produce the work that I sold. Through support from the company and my executive and just a lot of perseverance, I was able to produce all of my work and really learn how significant it is to have good people under you. I know a lot more about leadership now and what it actually means to lead a team. After a lot of failure, a lot of hard work, and eventually a lot of success, I feel like I have a much better grasp on what it is to be an entrepreneur.
I am the type of person who has very high expectations for themselves. I came into Collegiate Entrepreneurs confident that I could take on the responsibilities and handle the position easily but that changed shortly after I started. I struggled in pretty much every area - sales, job completion, hiring, customer satisfaction.
With training from Collegiate, I greatly improved my sales skills and learned a lot about the process of generating leads and converting those leads into sales. I learned to have an internal locus of control, to take responsibility and do what I could to improve situations. I did everything in my power to ensure things went right and I found that if you go all in, everything will work out. It was a lot of hard work but it was all worth it in the end. Next summer, I plan to study abroad and I know that I’ll be able to take the lessons I learned here and apply them, both in my studies and in my future career in the sales world.
Before I came to CE, I was an aspiring entrepreneur with basically no idea about the ins and outs of running a business. I had a little management experience and two years of my degree, but that was nothing compared to the education I gained from Collegiate.
Initially, I struggled with discipline, which affected everything from marketing to job completion. The biggest lesson that I learned is the necessity of organization. It is so important in keeping yourself from getting overwhelmed and making sure that you remember why you started this experience. Once I was able to make a solid plan that took into account a number of different situations, I was able to finish strong. Despite all the struggles, my time as a branch manager was an experience that I don’t think I could get anywhere else and it’s something I’ll use for the rest of my life. I plan to apply the discipline I’ve gained to swim and school and finish those out strong too!
Before I started at Collegiate Entrepreneurs, I was a very typical college student. Just coming out of the pandemic, I didn’t really know my purpose. I was just kind of lazy. The summer before, I wasn’t really able to do anything so I felt like, coming into this year, I wanted to do something that gave me more of a purpose. That’s why I joined the team here at CE.
At first, I was intimidated by having to deal with customers; I just didn’t think it was something that I could do. As the summer went on, my ability to build rapport and answer customer questions and concerns became my biggest focal point and helped me make most of my sales. I came away with strong interpersonal skills that I plan to use in my interviews, no matter what business I go into after this.
I used to be a pretty timid, not very confident person. Working with Collegiate Entrepreneurs taught me a lot about myself and how to be a go-getter. I confronted my weaknesses head on all while getting hands-on experience in managing employees and effectively communicating with my team and my customers.
As if that wasn’t challenging enough, my car ended up breaking down mid-summer and I had learn not just how to manage a business, but how to manage a business without a car! I learned how to establish clear expectations with my employees and customers, which set me up for success. In the future, I want to run my own business again. Learning management has taught me how to present myself as a leader and puts me a step ahead of my peers. This program is the hardest thing you’ll ever do, but it’s the most you’ll ever learn in such a short period of time and you'll make a nice chunk of change doing it.
As a computer science major, I would consider myself an introvert. I definitely don’t embody the typical salesman persona - eccentric and outgoing. When I heard that there was an opportunity to develop that entrepreneurial skillset, I jumped on it.
I struggled a lot with sales. In the beginning, I went by the script and focused on details. I was lucky enough to have customers within my network early on that were patient with me and gave me a chance to nail down my presentation. After a while, I developed my own way of tackling sales and became more confident in my ability to relay information about the service we could offer. I found that I was more outgoing and could articulate my thoughts and ideas more clearly. Initially, I didn’t see myself as someone who would excel in sales or business so I was pleasantly surprised to realize that I had it in me.
Stepping into the position of Branch Manager, the greatest struggle I faced was self-doubt. With only one business class under my belt, I was afraid I wouldn’t be capable of anything this job required. But then? I went and did it! Collegiate Entrepreneurs completely transformed my perspective and gave me a more structural business sense of the world.
Collegiate taught me how to isolate my problems and then solve them in a business sense - which can be applied to really anything that you do. Going into my junior year, I plan to get and internship and maybe even start my own business after I graduate. Wherever I go with my life, Collegiate has given me enough self confidence to know that I can do it!
I used to struggle with asserting myself - I couldn’t tell people "no" or express what I was really thinking. I didn’t have confidence in myself or what I wanted to do. After a summer with CE, I feel a lot more comfortable with myself and confident in my abilities.
Now this is not to say that this was an easy summer for me. At the start of the season, I totaled my car and shortly after that my entire crew left. I rallied together and, after several hard months, I was able to get a new, more efficient crew and a new car. I worked hard to assert myself and ensure that my customers were receiving service that was up to their standards. I learned to have faith in myself and my abilities. I emerged from a challenging situation with valuable set of skills and a story that has changed my life forever.
Throughout my experience at Collegiate Entrepreneurs I found that my biggest area of growth was my confidence, which proved to be a struggle when managing my crew. I came into Collegiate unmotivated, I was that kind of person that sat at the back of class and didn't pay attention. Now I feel motivated and capable everyday. This upcoming year, I will be an operations manager. I am excited to help other Branch Managers learn from my mistakes and help guide them through their own Branch Manager experiences.
During my own experience, I learned that things don't just happen or come your way. One lucky sale does not mean every estimate will be a winner. I needed to listen, understand their issues, and be assertive. It takes willpower and dedication to get through the many problems that are sure to come your way.