April 29, 2013
Knock, and the door will be opened.
That's what senior management and marketing student Anthony Zabiegalski has found to be true during his time at B&E.
"I have to be busy. If I'm not busy, I'll go crazy," he said.
Not a problem. The Honor's College student has no trouble staying busy with classes, Greek life and multiple internships. Zabiegalski, who hails from Litchfield Park, Ariz., will graduate in May with an incredible compilation of work and life experiences and classroom knowledge to prepare him for his area of interest — small business.
In Fall 2012, Zabiegalski was a student in Business Plan Development (SBEN 348) with instructor Steve Cutright, Director of B&E's BrickStreet Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. In this course, Zabiegalski worked on business plans and bid on real life projects with three of his classmates.
"The project involved creating a feasibility study, business plan and strategic operating plan for a start-up company located in north central West Virginia. The project consumed two semesters worth of work," he said, explaining that he continued the project for a second semester as part of a business development internship with the BrickStreet Center, where he has conducted market research, demographic analysis and penetration strategies, and has provided analysis summaries to executive committees and investors.
The business-to-be was the Compton Life Center, a $35 million wellness center that aims to improve the lives of all north central West Virginia residents. Zabiegalski and his classmates traveled to various wellness centers throughout the state, interviewed experts and gathered data in order to write over 100 pages of business strategy.
"The estimated value of our work (was) $50,000," Zabiegalski said. "The project appealed to my group because it was difficult, prestigious and rewarding. The company did not yet exist, so we literally started from the ground up, which involved in-depth research on every facet of the business. My group saw this as an opportunity to step outside of our comfort zones and break new ground."
After two courses with Cutright, Zabiegalski said he feels confident in small business and entrepreneurship knowledge.
"Much of the 'fog of business' was lifted because of Mr. Cutright," he said. "Up until then, I had learned a lot about how to operate a business but did not know how to start one. Mr. Cutright teaches straight from experience. He is able to emphasize very clearly what works and what does not."
In addition to the hands-on small business experience he received through this particular project and internship, Zabiegalski also collected experience by interning for companies including Booz Allen Hamilton, the B&E OIT office and B&E alumni-owned Evive Station.
As a seasonal intern with Booz Allen Hamilton, Zabiegalski worked with the Department of Defense for government contracting work. There, he was responsible for the acquisition and logistics of over 150 micro-purchase transactions totaling roughly $250,000. As a management intern within B&E's OIT department, Zabiegalski has prepared, presented and monitored an $800,000 budget for the department and provides assistance to Director Carol Henry.
In his third current internship with Evive Station, an innovative company that allows consumers to clean, sanitize and fill a reusable water bottle with cold, filtered water, Zabiegalski plays a variety of roles. His main focus is marketing and advertising, but he also repairs and maintains kiosks, conducts focus groups and educates new users on the importance of environmental responsibility.
Despite a full load of classes, a seasonal internship and three ongoing internships, Zabiegalski, who has self-financed his undergraduate studies, has still made time for extracurricular activities including the paintball team and serving as a founding member of Sigma Phi Epsilon, a fraternity that had not been at WVU for a while.
"(Sigma Phi Epsilon) left campus about five years ago and we brought it back with a whole new image, a new way of doing things. I was one of the first to bring it back (to WVU's campus) in February 2012," he said. "We started with 20 guys and I was elected to Vice President of Member Development, and now the fraternity has a total of 33 brothers." Zabiegalski is also responsible for the fraternity's four-year development program which serves to acclimate freshmen brothers to university life and helps them continue building upon their professional development to network with alumni as upperclassmen.
In the fraternity's short time on campus, much has been accomplished. "We have had the highest GPA out of any fraternity on campus for two semesters in a row, won Greek Week for two semesters in a row and raised the most money for the 2012 Relay For Life out of any other fraternity or sorority," Zabiegalski explained.
"We are a non-pledging fraternity. We hand pick every member in order to build upon our ultimate goal of developing balanced men. Sigma Phi Epsilon is different, and that is what appealed to me," he said.
Upon graduating, Zabiegalski hopes to explore employment opportunities with Evive Station, which he said properly fits his focus with small business. He will also work with partners Marcus Rush and Daniel Owen to operate their new venture, Step One Consulting LLC.
"We just received our federal identification number as a business in early April," Zabiegalski said. "(The company) specializes in assisting new or existing businesses with growth and development. Many individuals starting a business possess passion but lack the expertise to get their ideas off the ground," he explained. The company will develop feasibility studies, business plans and strategic operating plans and provide project management consulting.
"The idea for this business was a direct result of the Compton Life Center and Mr. Cutright's class. Marcus and I have assisted another start-up company to get their organization off the ground and we are currently working with a non-profit organization in Pitcairn, Pa.," he said.
"With everyone I've spoken with at B&E, all I've had to do is ask or reach out," he explained, advising underclassmen to take initiative. "Stick your neck out there. Talk to everyone, talk to your professors. Ask questions. Show your face. Then when things come up around the College, and they do all the time, you just might come to mind for a certain opportunity."
"Through these experiences, I've learned not only business but also about life," Zabiegalski said, adding that he was excited to be part of the BrickStreet Center's expansion this year. "It's awesome when you're part of anything new. Everybody's excited and energetic. It feels good to be a part of that. There is a lot happening at West Virginia University and I am proud to be a part of it."