Baruch students beware! Scott Gerber thinks your MBA is useless, well not exactly but he does want you to stop waiting and take charge of your life. While we may not all be the next Mark Zuckerburg (creator of Facebook) we can effectively take control of our own professional lives and last weeks Be Your Own Boss??™ event was the ideal forum for successful entrepreneurs to tell their tales of success (and failure).
Be Your Own Boss??™ was hosted and organized by the honor society Golden Key Baruch along with co-sponsors: The Entrepreneur Club, Women In Business, Delta Sigma Pi, Beta Alpha Psi and AIESEC. Over 100 students crammed into the small lecture hall on the 5th floor amidst news outlet, CBS news to take part in the panel discussion centered on entrepreneurship.
The star-studded panel included a who??™s who of self-starters today. With companies ranging from Reddit??™ to In good company??™ their experiences certainly ran the gamut. The panel was led by the charismatic Scott Gerber (founder of Sizzle it??™ and Young Entrepreneur Council??™) and also included Alexis Ohanian (co-founder of Reddit), Gary Whitehill (founder of New York Entrepreneur Week??™) and Adelaide Lancaster (founder of In Good Company).
The enthusiastic Gerber took charge early and managed the panel presentation. Initially he relayed a serious message to the students about the tough economic times in which we are currently mired. Gerber said only 25% of recent college graduates even get a job, far less the job of their dreams, nothing is guaranteed.??™ While the realization of the reality of the situation reverberated around the room Gerber eased tensions with his next comment I say this not to scare you, but to empower you??™. Gerber also mentioned you need to create a job to keep a job, don??™t wait for someone to hand you anything.??™
Students remained glued to the edge of their seats as the panel went on retelling their unique success stories. The mood of the room swayed from left to right coinciding with the panel??™s tales, from joy to seriousness to hopefulness to inspiration, the students were certainly captivated.
The panel made sure to clear up some of the common misconceptions about self-made entrepreneurs. Successful films like The Social Network??™ glams up and glorifies the life of an entrepreneur, however as the panelists explained we should be weary of the Facebook fairytale??™. According to Gerber That myth where two college buddies in a bar one night write an idea on a napkin and it goes on to make them billionaires is the exception to the rule, entrepreneurship is the hardest thing you would ever have to do, but the rewards are worth it.??™ One of his fellow panelist, Gary Whitehill quickly chimed in with some advice of his own you don??™t need to be the next Facebook, don??™t think about where you are going to start in entrepreneurship but where you are going to finish,??™
The panelist also spoke in depth on one of the most important facets of becoming a successful entrepreneur, Failure. The message was the same across the panel, don??™t be afraid of failure, it is good, it??™s the only way to learn, by failing you are creating your future??™. The fervent crowd of students and professionals quickly perked up when Gerber candidly spoke of his initial failures. As Gerber described I was an arrogant 19 year old, I weaseled my way into a corporate meeting at nineteen with a ninety six page business plan and told the owner If you give me 19million I can make you 500million in 3 years, they laughed me right out of the building.??™ Gerber mentioned how this had a profound effect on him and without that scolding he would never be where he is today.
Gerber also went on a controversial and comedic rant about the importance of an MBA. According to Gerber what is the difference between an MBA and a piece of toilet paper one is actually useful!??™ to the delight of the audience. Furthermore he cleared up any notion that successful entrepreneurs are some unique all-encompassing brilliant CEOs Most CEO??™s aren??™t smart, but they know to have smart people around them??™
After the presentation the panelist held a short Q&A session where they covered a lot of the logistics in terms of setting up your brand and initial startup cost. They gave the students invaluable advice from picking the right domain name, to managing a small budget. All in all the attendees left very inspired, who knows we may see the next big thing courtesy of one of our fellow Baruch students.