INTERVIEW- The Secret of Success: Pearls of Wisdom From a College Senior
If you are like many college students, the idea of landing an internship or a summer job to get meaningful work experience may be overwhelming. Not surprisingly, students are starting to get nervous. Last summer, I met Anthony Prieto, a senior at Santa Clara University, at a networking event. I had a chance to sit down with him and ask him a few questions about his education how it has prepared him for life after graduation.
1. What mentors have you encountered in your role as a student? How have they coached you to get here you are today?
I wouldn’t say I had one specific mentor but a great group of people that I could bounce ideas off of and would help me along the way. This includes Dan Aguiar (Executive Director of Entrepreneurship Programs at the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Santa Clara University), my former manager at Apple, my professors at SCU (even ones I didn’t have classes with), my parents and friends.
2. How are you leveraging your experience at school to help you with what you want to do life after college? (i.e. networking with alumni, help from the SCU’s career center, key professors, etc.)
Running a business and being a full-time student is challenging, but one of the best parts is being able to apply the knowledge gained from my courses to a real and practical situation. As the president of the Santa Clara Entrepreneurs Organization (SCEO), I have gained tremendous experience in learning how to build a start-up. I have participated in competitions that the club hosts like elevator pitch and business plan competitions. This has helped me improve my public speaking and I plan to leverage this experience in the future. SCEO has helped with networking and meeting people. Knowing the right people can make things much easier. This has helped me with every job I got.
3. What was the inspiration/thought process behind the development of your startup, Bronco Student Services?
The idea for an on-campus delivery business was developed as a group project in a Business Leadership Skills course my freshman year in 2009. We all thought it was a great idea, but my friend and I were serious about starting it. At the same time we heard of existing business that provided laundry and storage services. In 2010, Arthur Gallanter and I bought the business and incorporated our delivery service. Over the next year, we worked non-stop with key members from SCU to develop the idea. We launched a pilot in May that year that delivered to a limited number of dorms and were excited when we reached 40 orders a night. Today we deliver 3,000 orders a month across the entire campus and will deliver off-campus in the fall. Our delivery service today is profitable, and we have grown the storage and laundry business as well. Both Arthur and I will be graduating in June and have selected three students to continue running the business. Arthur and I are extremely proud to have started a service that will continue for years to come.
4. How does Bronco Student Services work? What are the benefits for your customers/users?
The business has three core segments. They are the following:
Students that live on-campus can order food online or on their mobile phone from one of the late night cafeterias called The Bronco. The whole order and delivery fee can be paid with dining points and gets delivered to the student’s dorm room.
Students sign up at the beginning of the year for a laundry subscription. We provide them a laundry bag that they can fill up with their dirty laundry. We pick up from their dorm and deliver it the next day, professionally washed and folded right to their door.
Students that travel back home for the summer can store their items with us. They can drop off their items on campus and we only charge per box versus paying for a whole room.
5. What’s next after graduation?
At this point, I want to gain more corporate experience and will be joining Cisco Systems, as an IT Analyst after I graduate. Currently I don’t have an entrepreneurial idea now but when I do, I know I have the network and resources to develop it.
6. Do you have any words of wisdom for students who just started their job search? What can you share with them that may help them get ahead?
Networking, maintaining and actively seeking relationships, is one of the most important things when it comes to finding a job after graduation. I would also recommend that students should get involved as much as they can with clubs, school’s career center, and follow every lead. Dependability is an important trait. To succeed in life all you need to do is follow through with what you say. If you say you’re going to be somewhere, do something or call someone make sure you do it, and do it on time. Lastly, finding what you’re good at and what you’re passionate about is the perfect combination for success.
Good luck and happy job hunting!
Anthony Prieto is a senior at Santa Clara University and is expected to graduate this June with a BS in Commerce in Operations Management Information Systems with an emphasis in Marketing. I would like to personally thank Anthony for taking the time for sharing his experience with me and offering insights to others about gaining meaningful work experiences to help prepare for life after graduation.