Story by Rebecca Richardson
The smells of freshly dry cleaned suits fill the halls, the sound of heels clanking up the stairs, and the sight of eager students scrambling to their breakout sessions mark an important event on campus.
This time of year the Maastricht Institute of Entrepreneurship hits Valley with a brick of opportunity. The question is who takes advantage of this prestigious affair, and who lets the opportunity slip through their fingers.
Institute Director Larry Stockman said, “The purpose of Maastricht is to remind the students that they can be their own boss, which they can start from scratch and become successful.”It’s an opportunity for students to interact with the speakers and have the chance to initiate conversations that will not only help develop connections, but future career opportunities as well.
Business student Ikumi Nagahiro said, “There’s no second chance to make a first impression.” For most graduating seniors, this is not just a resume, but a potential career altering decision process. She also said, “This is what separates the winners from the losers, the people who are prepared receive great feedback.”
Brett Caldwell, a graduating senior, candidly added, “This is crunch time, no ifs, ands, or buts about it!” She added, “It’s time for students to put their big kid pants on and be weaned off their parents.”
The Maastricht Institute of Entrepreneurship has been active for the past six years. The Institute started as a week-long event with four-to-five speakers a day.
“Talk about Hectic,” said Stockman.
Of course, with any major event, there are hurdles to jump and obstacles to overcome. But with a highly supportive staff and great support structure for a number of years, the college has been honored to have speakers from the around the world share their wealth of knowledge with our community Stockman said.
Many of the speakers come from the Netherlands, Massachusetts, Arizona, even right here in Missouri.
Mass Communication student Melinda Houttuin said, “Taking time out of their busy life to share their success with us is quite a privilege.” She said she couldn’t believe Valley offered such an elite event such as Maastricht.
Benoit Wesly, president and CEO of Xelat Group, and Wendy Torrance, Entrepreneurship director for Kauffman Foundation, look for the “WOW” factor. They want to see that spark and fire that drives the student to succeed.
“Dare to be extraordinary, instead of ordinary,” said Curtis Bourgeois, founder/CEO of Les Bourgeois Vineyard. Knowing what you want in life and aspiring toward future goals will get you far.
A question to ask. What prepares you as a student for that final leap into real life? Are you ready to take the plunge?
In the words of Donald Trump, “When somebody challenges you, fight back. Be brutal, be tough, Just go get them.”