Whitman Voices

Introduction

Whitman Students Learn About Entrepreneurship from Alumni in the Big Apple

Whitman Students Learn About Entrepreneurship from Alumni in the Big Apple

Thirteen students explored New York City during this year’s inaugural EEE career exploration trip. As part of the trip, students visited host companies NewLab, WeWork, Harry’s Razors and RTS Inc.

The Whitman Career Center team coordinates industry immersion trips to NYC several times a year. These trips help students understand different types of careers in a variety of industries in which they may be interested. These programs connect students to industry professionals for direct knowledge, networking and advice.

Students started their EEE exploration trip by catching a ride in self-driving cars at the Navy Shipyard and enjoying the views on the ferry.

(Right) Gizelle Vidal ’22 and Todd Moss speak with host Mario Mercado ’99 (A&S) at NewLab.
(Left) Host Laurie Beth Koller ’18 (VPA/FALK) describes the culture at WeWork.

At the first stop, students toured NewLab and learned about what makes this area the “Silicon Valley of the East.” NewLab is home to a diverse community of over 130 early-stage startup companies working in advanced technologies. 

One specific item that stood out to students was the Tarform, a new breed of electric motorcycles, a machine that honors the past yet embodies the future, built with eco materials and powered by clean technology.

NewLab entrepreneur Mario Mercado ’99 (A&S), CEO and co-founder of QUATCARE, and CEO and founder of BATS-TOI, shared some sound advice with students about embracing opportunities during their time at Syracuse. “Don’t stay in your own silo. The University offers so much,” he says.

The second stop of the day was WeWork, where students learned about the company’s three major parts: real estate, interior design and a global entity with a local playbook. They also heard a podcast from co-founder Miquel McKelvey about how he built the company and his vision of building more than just beautiful workspaces, but a community. The culture across the company’s workspaces includes entertainment, such as video games and pool, as well as lunch ordering and beverages on tap.

The students learned that WeWork has 446,000 members globally, with 485 physical locations in 105 cities across 28 countries. These individuals span from single entrepreneurs to major corporations like Amazon. WeWork is changing the way people and companies work — spanning one-third of the Fortune 500 to grassroot nonprofits.

WeWork host Laurie Beth Koller ’18 (VPA/FALK), community lead generalist, emphasized the breadth of support at Syracuse University for the students. “Syracuse will always be with you. The connections you’re making now will stay with you forever. Take advantage of advisors, mentors and organizational leaders,” she shares.

(Right) Mitchell Gordan ’22 converes with host Jeff Lipkin ’92 at Harry’s Razors.
(Left) Students visit RTS and learn more about the organization culture.

The third company visit of the day was to Harry’s Razors, where students heard from CFO Jeff Lipkin ’92 and Brad Horowitz ’91, CEO of Malin+Goetz. Both companies focus on men’s health. The alumni recommended students read “Start with Why,” a life-changing bestseller that explains how great leaders inspire everyone to take action. 

Lipkin’s advice to students was to “take advantage of what you have at the Whitman School. When you get into the real world, that diversity of experience is going to make a difference.” Horowitz adds, “Always think globally and act locally.”

For the final stop of the day, students visited RTS and spoke with alumnus Greg Lettieri ’04, CEO, about starting a business. He shares, “You need to be careful in starting a business because it’s real money and real time. You need substance, and, if you have an amazing idea, run with it as far as you can. You have to use your network.”

I couldn’t have asked for a better experience as my first trip to NYC. Being able to see those beautiful skyscrapers and learn from actual entrepreneurs was so enlightening.”

Mitchell Gordon ’22

For Mitchell Gordon ’22, the trip marked his first time in NYC and traveling on a train. He enjoyed his time in the city and shares, “I couldn’t have asked for a better experience as my first trip to NYC. Being able to see those beautiful skyscrapers and learn from actual entrepreneurs was so enlightening. I will never forget stepping onto a roof 60 stories up and having a complete view over the city that never sleeps.”

Overall, the trip taught me that anyone can be an entrepreneur and a change-agent in their community. All you need to start is an unwavering passion and an open mind for new ideas.”

Gizelle Vidal ’22

Another student shares their experience as being unbelievable. As Gizelle Vidal ’22 says, “The EEE in NYC trip opened my eyes to the unique culture of entrepreneurship. Overall, the trip taught me that anyone can be an entrepreneur and a change-agent in their community. All you need to start is an unwavering passion and an open mind for new ideas.”

During the career exploration trip, students were also able to attend the fifth annual Orange Tank business pitch competition and hear from students and alumni on their business ventures.

Learn more about the Whitman Career Center services specialty programming.

Kimmy Kimball
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