October 30, 2007

Becoming an Entrepreneur

Emily Bregman ’11 talks about her experiences in her First-Year Seminar

Emily Bregman ’11 (Westfield, N.J.) is currently taking the First-Year Seminar “Entrepreneurial Environment: Exploring Innovation, Risk and Value.” The course is taught by Rose Marie Bukics, Jones Professor of Economics & Business. The following is a first-hand account of Bregman’s experiences with the course.

  • First-Year Students Explore the Business World

While deciding which First-Year Seminar to take, I came across “Entrepreneurial Environment.” The name caught my eye immediately. I had always associated entrepreneurs with wealth and living in a highly business-focused society. While more and more college students are choosing to become business majors in the hopes of becoming successful, I also seemed to think that by choosing this First-Year Seminar it would help me to become a successful businesswoman. However, I soon found out that the road to becoming a successful entrepreneur was not as easy as it looked.

In our recent class trip to the Lehigh Valley Grand Prix, I learned about the extremely long and on-going process that accompanies becoming an entrepreneur. The Lehigh Valley Grand Prix is an indoor carting facility in the Lehigh Valley, which was created by Mike McCreary, a 22-year graduate of Lehigh University. I was shocked when we entered the carting facility and were greeted by a 22-year old that did not look much older than my fellow peers. Listening to McCreary’s story, I quickly learned that the road to becoming an entrepreneur was not an easy road to take.

McCreary came up with the idea for the carting facility as part of an entrepreneur program at Lehigh. He thought that participating in this program would allow him to do things on his own and come up with his own ideas. McCreary, just like many aspiring entrepreneurs, quickly learned that although it is fun to come up with your own ideas, it requires much time and effort to make those ideas reality.

With many hours, business plans, research, and negotiations later, and a little encouragement from his parents to never to give up, McCreary was on his way to building the Lehigh Valley Grand Prix. While coming up with his business plan, McCreary knew he wanted to bring something new into the business and by knowing this he showed that he truly wanted to succeed. He decided to gear his business towards corporations for team building. Coming into a business that already existed made McCreary’s new idea crucial to what would set his facility aside from other indoor carting facilities.

Although the facility has only been open for a couple of months, McCreary’s hard work, passion, research, and perseverance, has already caused the Lehigh Valley Grand Prix to do phenomenally for such a young business, bringing in more money than McCreary had anticipated. Even though the facility is up and running, McCreary never sits back and relaxes, he knows that at any moment something could go wrong and because of this he is constantly thinking about how he can improve his business and make worthwhile additions to it.

After getting a chance to race on the track and let McCreary’s experience sink in. I realized how racing on the track did contribute to team building, as I saw my class become more open and closer to each other on the trip. I also realized that in many ways that the career of an entrepreneur is like that of a freshman starting college; they learn through experiences. Just as McCreary’s experience was a new and exciting one for him, being a freshman in college is a new and exciting experience for me. McCreary could also not enter into his business with expectations of how his business was going to do, just as I could not enter into my freshman year of college with many expectations without experience.

Also, just as McCreary ran into problems while setting up Lehigh Valley Grand Prix, he learned from them and was able to go back and fix them. This First-Year Seminar and freshman year in general is allowing me to do the same thing. By learning the right processes to go through and help improve my study habits and writing skills, it will help me later in my experience at Lafayette. And who knows, maybe one day I will use my skills learned at Lafayette to go on and create my own business, but I think I am going to concentrate on freshman year and the rest of college for now.

  • Cody Sumpter ’11 discusses his First-Year Seminar
  • First-Year Experiences
  • First-Year Seminar
  • Class of 2011
  • Economics and Business

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