Keene State College Small Business Institute® Student Spotlight
Keene State College is a liberal arts undergraduate institution and the SBI program serves as a capstone class for the management major. The liberal arts orientation often provides the SBI with an eclectic group of students and in 2014 two students - Lee Germeroth and Christian Torti brought their creative abilities to the program. Both graduated in May 2014 and they describe how their creativity impacted on their educational experience.
Professor Neal Pruchansky, KSC SBI director, June 2014
When I first came to Keene State College in 2010 I was wasn’t sure what I wanted to major in. As a freshman I was put into an Intro to Management course, and within the first month I knew that I wanted to declare myself as a Management major, and one day own my own business. It turned out that goal was much closer in my future than I expected. In September of 2011, my sophomore year I started my own photography business, specializing in wedding, engagement and portrait photography. I used the knowledge and skills I was learning in the classroom as well as outside of class and applied them to my business. I quickly found out that being good at taking photos was only a small part of my business. I would spend the majority of my free time marketing my photography services using social media and the internet. I built my own website (http://leegphotography.com/) to showcase my work and also make it much easier for potential clients to find me via internet searches. All the hard work I put into the business and money I invested paid off and I started making a profit in just a little over a year after I started the business. I was able to use the profits I made to help pay my college tuition.
In my spring semester of my senior year I took the SBI class. But in preparation for that we needed to find suitable clients to work with. Dr. Pruchansky our SBI professor asked if I had worked with any businesses that would be a good fit. Through a relationship as a customer that I had with Monadnock Food Co-op I reached out to them to see if they would like to work with us and they accepted. I was working as a photographer with a start-up business named Nuttin Ordinary and I contacted on behalf of KSC SBI and they agreed to be a client for the semester.
I was on the Monadnock Food Co-op team and we were working on creating a comprehensive marketing plan for them. I took charge as the team leader because of my close relationship with MFC and knowledge about their business. Through my experience with my own business I focused mainly on the digital marketing section of the case creating a social media plan, content calendar, and a digital marketing campaign. I also conducted a website analysis and created recommendations to optimize MFC’s website.
The SBI program was an excellent experience for me. Working with a group of very intelligent, motivated and talented individuals in a consulting group gave us a real world experiential learning. I was able to strengthen my leadership, teamwork, research, and creative thinking skills by working directly with a business and we knew the work we put in would actually benefit the business.
I initially enrolled at Keene State College as a Film Production major. Eventually, I decided to change my major to Business Management, while keeping Film as my minor, which I believe will broaden my career opportunities. The SBI Program at Keene State has expanded my creativity while working with mediums related to both film and business. Additionally, the SBI Program has allowed me to gain valuable experience dealing directly with real-world clients, which in turn, has taught me things I never could have learned in a traditional lecture-style classroom setting.
I have already had many freelance opportunities with video shooting and editing, thanks to the SBI Program. My most recent videos, a retirement tribute for a professor in the management department at Keene State College, and another for the SBI Program itself, feature interviews with students and faculty. These videos have provided me with financial assistance essential to my education at Keene State College. I will be forever grateful to the SBI Program at Keene State College for the opportunities and experiences that it will afford me in all my future endeavors.