“Employers these days are looking for future employees to have as many skills and as much experience as possible,” says Kevin Miles, Director of the Sullivan Center for Business and Entrepreneurship, “[Wells] provides students with opportunities to manifest business skills applicable to potential work environments.”
Wells’ new, fully student-run business operation on campus, The Grind, is one of many of the College’s possibilities for students seeking experiential learning opportunities in management and business operation. A small café integrated into the recently-renovated Zabriskie Hall, home of the Sullivan Center for Business and Entrepreneurship, The Grind presents unique employment and leadership opportunities for students interested in Wells’ business program. Several distinct internships in management allow students to take responsibility over the success of their own business and to practice and develop skills that will put them at an advantage as they seek jobs in the world outside of Wells.
The management internships include that of a president and vice president, each position holding a different and unique responsibility to contribute to the overall success of the café. These positions will be supported by a human resource manager, a finance manager, and an operations manager. This group of student administrators is responsible for meeting regularly in order to collaborate and seek each other’s input and advice for the progression of the business. “As a team of mangers we all work really close together on just about everything. Each member has their own specialty that they bring into the company,” says student CEO of The Grind, Chris Flood ’16.
In addition to the student-lead managerial team, The Grind also employs eleven student workers to run the café itself as baristas and cashiers, providing students with hands-on experience in all facets of business. “Training for these students is an expanded version of typical employee discipline,” explains Miles, “and includes instruction, involving customer service skills and granting employees more personal responsibility to accommodate customers.”
Ordinarily, student interns working with typical businesses receive a relatively small skill set, taking responsibility for a specific area or set of tasks. However, as a student-run business, The Grind relies upon the responsibility of the students to create a successful, holistic business plan and foster a prosperous company, leading to the development of a wide-ranging skillset not typical of most college employment opportunities.
The Grind’s current management team is developing a number of ideas to increase visibility and stir interest on campus. For example, they hope to accommodate student, staff, and faculty interests in organic, vegan, and vegetarian options that they may not be able to find elsewhere on campus. The Grind also looks forward to engaging with local vendors and selling locally-made products, such as organic and robust Finger Lakes Coffee.
The café itself will provide a relaxing atmosphere for students to hang out and study; the area also holds potential to host student events and campus activities. The Grind hopes to liven its atmosphere by turning the café’s walls into a display of student art work, sponsoring students’ academic achievements, and will potentially be a place for students to exhibit their work in rotation throughout the school year.
Over a period of time, Wells hopes to introduce more business internships that will aid students in gaining knowledge through experiential learning and hands-on processes in order to prepare students for positions in management. Miles believes that Wells has potential to foster further opportunities that engage students in cultivating managerial skills as they search for future employment.