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Alumni teach students to grow from intrapreneurs to entrepreneurs

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During a business panel held by CSUN graduates, students were introduced to a new concept called “intrapreneurs.”

“I definitely didn’t know the term intrapreneurship,” said Iris Chen, CTVA major. “There were so many things that caught my attention. I learned that we need to be humble and I learned about the traits to help you build your own business.”

The term was new to some students, but the alumni helped establish how it differs from entrepreneurs during the “Intrapreneur/Entrepreneur: Which Will You Be?” event Tuesday afternoon at the Grand Salon.

An intrapreneur, according to the event flier,  is someone who holds the spirit of an entrepreneur within an existing organization. The intrapreneur focuses on innovation and creativity and transforms a dream or an idea into a profitable venture by operating within the organizational environment.

The panel featured four CSUN alumni who now work in different businesses. The panelists spoke about their personal experiences and failures along the way to becoming intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs.

“(When) you build a business, and you get married, and you have kids…and you’ve got a great management team, that’s when balance comes,” said alumnus and entrepreneur Zach Schuler, CEO of Cal Net Technologies.

Students were given advice about the skills and maneuvers needed to succeed as business professionals.

Ben Gary, a 2006 CSUN graduate and a brokerage associate of the Coldwell Bank Richard Ellis Real Estate Agency, refers to himself as an intrapreneur because of the risks he took to help further develop his career.

Gary touched on the importance of undergoing failures as an intrapreneur.

“Does personal bankruptcy count?” Gary joked. “I think that part of succeeding is failing…I manage my finances much better today, I’m much more responsible. I knew what my bills were from my party days here at CSUN and I ran up a lot of debt. A lot of people would consider personal bankruptcy as a failure, but it’s made me stronger and better as a result.”

The panel lasted about an hour and a  half and was coordinated by Jonathan Adrias of the CSUN Alumni Association.

“The panel allows alumni to discuss what students need in order to progress up the social ladder,” Adrias said. “The program started last year where we held a panel with alums that discussed finance and things students would need to break into the entertainment world. These panels and workshops are about CSUN alumni coming back to help other CSUN alumni and students as well.

Students and other attendees were given the opportunity to ask panelists for personal tips and input on the success of running a business.

“Hire people or associate with people who are much smarter than you are,” Schuler said on founding a business. “It’s one of the most important things that you can do.”

Another piece of advice stressed upon was the importance of creating relationships.

“Always ask how can you help someone, and you will excel in that relationship,” Gary said. “Relationships have helped me get to where I am. If I could do anything differently I would have developed more relationships. I know its cliché and it sounds like a beat up phrase, but it’s about who you know.”

 

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