Students interested in schmoozing with big business executives and industry experts are invited to join the UCSB Student Entrepreneurs Association.
The organization, which focuses on business and technology enterprises, offers workshops and networking opportunities with local and statewide business professionals for companies ranging from emerging startups to established corporations. The group will meet for the first time this quarter today at 6:30 p.m. in room 1001 of the Engineering Sciences Building.
In addition to holding lectures featuring accomplished businesspeople, the group also hosts a regular gathering called Entrepreneurs at the Table. According to President Michael Scatterday, a fourth-year business economics major, E.A.T. allows students to engage with prominent entrepreneurs in an intimate, informal setting.
“[E.A.T.s] help our members develop professionally so they’re ready to go into the world of entrepreneurship,” Scatterday said. “It helps them find possible careers [as well].”
Additionally, Scatterday said the UCSB Entrepreneurs Association plans on holding tri-weekly tables, allowing established network representatives to provide advice and share personal stories. Upcoming E.A.T. speakers include manager of Rightscale.com Keith Vidal, CEO of MetaTools.com John Wilczak and president of Repeated Signal Solutions, Inc. Scott Groff.
Bill Grant, club advisor and external program manager for the Technology and Management Program, said the organization empowers students who are normally reserved to actively participate in intimate discussions and learn the language of business.
“They meet with folks and what happens is that they overcome barriers,” Grant said. “They gain an appreciation for what awaits them in the business world.”
Although students can attend meetings and workshops for free, membership costs $15 per quarter or $35 for a full year. Paid members will receive priority admittance to E.A.T.s, workshops and job/ internship placements.
Additionally, Vice President Danny Turkeshian, a fourth-year business economics major, said the exchanges can lead to referrals, references and potential job opportunities.
“[Students] have a lot more chances to do one-on-one interaction,” Tarkeshian said. “A lot of other clubs don’t give you that opportunity. We create an open forum. Students are a lot more comfortable in this setting than asking questions in a lecture hall.”
The student organization, which was reestablished last Winter Quarter after a one-year hiatus, also offers workshops ranging from social networking to resume-building.
“[S.E.A.] has really been a vehicle for students to participate in experiential learning activities,” Grant said. “We try to give them a snapshot of what the future holds in terms of careers, see where their interests lie, what their peers are doing.”
According to Grant, the program usually boasts 700 students across 40 disciplines.
“When you have physics students interfacing with communication students, those conversations are much more lively and interesting,” Grant said. “It’s better than having five communications students or five physics students interacting.”
Grant refuted claims that the club breeds CEOs, noting that the club is open for all students interested in any aspect of entrepreneurship.
“There’s a misrepresentation that we’re stamping the word founder on people’s foreheads,” Grant said. “We’re providing empowerment, confidence.”