My name is Zac and I am a recent grad from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. Like many of you, I too was beginning to think about where the future would take me about this time last year. With interviews and job offers just around the corner, I had absolutely no idea where I would end up come graduation. But that’s not the whole story.
As a sophomore at IU, I decided one day that it might be cool to start my own company. I mean who doesn’t like the idea of being your own boss and setting your own hours? I would just start a company and the dollars would start rolling in. It sounded like a great plan at the time so I founded an LLC and began creating Punch Energy Drink. Well turns out that running a company wasn’t as easy as I thought once the new wore off and we had to get down to business. Within six months we had signed a contract with Anheuser-Busch and we were on store shelves and receiving plenty of media attention. Things were looking great and I was thinking to myself how easy it was. We had been featured as one of the coolest college start-ups for 2009 by Inc. Magazine, Fox Business Network ran a story, and BevNET had given our product fantastic reviews.
However, the 2009 blues hit us hard and with the economy Punch was beginning to be less viable as a competitor among the cash kings within the industry. We simply couldn’t compete at a level that would allow us to grow and stay within our very limited budget. A co-sponsored Indy 500 car and lawsuit later, Punch had seen better days. That was my senior year, but I wasn’t ready to give up on Punch or my entrepreneurial spirit just yet.
The Orr Fellowship was the answer I had been looking for and an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up. I knew that they could place me within an entrepreneurial company and that I would be at one of the best places to work in Indiana with a network of people just like me. The opportunity to be part of a program that allowed me to network with business leaders in Indiana as well as expand my social network while staying involved with Punch, was all I needed. It was the perfect opportunity for me and it has turned out to be a perfect fit.
Now, as an Orr Fellow, I work full time for Author Solutions Inc. as a Marketing Specialist. I primarily work with our core brands and partners within the online realm of brand awareness and development, but I also work closely with our product development team. This is very similar to what we did with Punch and fits me very well. When we launch new products we have to go through the same process that I did with launching Punch and it is a great opportunity to learn each part of the business. The Fellowship is a great way to take a step into the real world without having to take a dive into the typical corporate America setting as just another number at company XYZ.