Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving Break

I can't believe how quickly Thanksgiving break went by. I felt like just as I
was getting settled at home, I had to start packing my things again.
I really enjoyed my time being home, but I couldn't help but notice how
different my consumption was over the course of the break compared to when
I am at my home away from home, St. Mike's. On my first night home I
requested to my parents that we get sushi, one of my favorite foods. Although
sushi is one of my favorite foods, I rarely ever eat it here at school because it is
so expensive. When I was studying abroad in Hong Kong, sushi was extremely
cheap compared to here in the US, so I would eat it all the time, but now it's
hard to rationalize paying so much for it when I know how inexpensive sushi
can be in other parts of the world.
In addition to eating sushi over break, I had a busy Thanksgiving. I started
off the holiday by participating in a 5K road race called the Feaster Five. This
is the fifth year in a row I have run in this race and it has become a tradition for
my family to all run in this race every year. One of the benefits of waking up
early for this race is you get to witness ridiculous things like this:

Another benefit of running this road race is all participants get a free (well free after the race fee), apple pie! There are usually over 8,000 participants in this race, which equals a lot of apple pie. My dad is an excellent pie baker, so we never take advantage of the free pies, but I still think that it is a fun and interesting way to incise people to run a race on Thanksgiving day.
After lots of turkey and visiting relatives, I decided to go shopping on Black Friday for the first time. I woke up at 3:45am, or in other words the middle of the night and was at the mall before 5am. I got to the mall after it had been open for an hour, so there weren't any lines outside, but inside was not as crowded as I thought it would be. I was also surprised at the kinds of consumers I saw shopping, mostly girls between 15-25. I thought that most of the people I would see shopping would be mom's doing some early holiday shopping, but instead I saw girls shopping with friends, or the occasional daughter shopping with her mother. Most of the shopping they were doing looked like it was for themselves, not gifts for others. I didn't end up buying anything on Black Friday, mostly because I am not ready to shop for Christmas and I didn't need anything in particular. It was an interesting experience none the less.
Overall I think I had a pretty good break. Now just 3 more worked filled weeks before I head home again!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

An Entrepreneurs Insight: Gorilla Bars, Dog Biscuits, and the Buzz of Bees

Mike Rosenberg, founder and owner of Gorilla Bars spoke with my Business Strategy class this morning. Mike is St. Mike's graduate who was able to turn a passion into a successful business. His presentation was of particular interest because as I have mentioned in previous posts, Business Strategy is my senior capstone class where I am working with two awesome group members (Andrea and Lauren) to create a business plan. Our business plan idea involves opening a specialty dog biscuit business.
Now I know you might be thinking dog biscuits and energy bars, what could they possibly have in common? Well, maybe the products are dissimilar, but the process Mike has gone through to create a Vermont based business is exactly the kind of information my classmates and I have been searching for.
During his presentation, Mike spoke about the importance of distribution and how sometimes taking a more cautious approach can lead to success. One of the challenges my group members and I have been struggling with for our project is what retail channel would be most effective for our dog biscuit distribution. Mike gave us some interesting things to think about, especially because his bars are sold entirely through their online website.
Although I enjoyed all of Mike's presentation, the thing I found most interesting was that Gorilla Bars has not spent any money on marketing and yet they're turning a profit each month. This statement caused one of my favorite student moments to happen: when what you're learning in the classroom translates to something you can relate to in real life.
In my consumer behavior class I am reading a book called Buying In: What We Buy and Who We Are by Rob Walker. Just last night, within the pages of this text I was reading about a website called BzzAgent. BzzAgent is a social media machine that accelerates sales through product advocates, whose passion is creating a buzz about new products. Buzz seems to be exactly what Gorilla Bars is using, word of mouth coming from people who have enjoyed their products. As a consumer who truly enjoyed eating my first Gorilla Bar today, here is my shameless plug: Try Gorilla bars, the honey makes them extra sweet and so delicious!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Six Most Exciting Syllables of the Semester

This Friday at St. Michael's College is the annual Career Symposium. The career symposium is an event hosted by Career Development in collaboration with the Office of Alumni & Parent Relations. This is the third year students have been offered the opportunity to participate in the Career Symposium. The schedule for the evening is as follows:

The keynote address will be given by Diane Darling. Her presentation will feature information on effective networking, which I think will be especially beneficial. Last week I attended a "Take the WORK out of Networking" presentation through Career Development. After this short introduction, I am interested to learn more about effective networking and how to get started.
Later in the evening there will be industry panel presentations. I intend on attending the Sales and Marketing panel, as well as the Human Resources panel. The panel presentations will be presented by St. Mike's alumni. This annual event is intended to give juniors and seniors the opportunity to become familiar with tools that will help students in their careers. Now all I need to do is tidy up my resume and iron my business attire. Should be a great start to the weekend and my future!