By CARRIE KENNINGTON
Some BYU business students are opting to start their own businesses this summer to learn the management and customer relation skills they need after college.
Kara Bennion, a junior majoring in business, was accepted by the Student Works Painting Corporation to be a SWP manager in Provo for the summer.
Student Works Painting, a national corporation based in Southern California, provides internships for college students wanting to gain experience in running their own business.
As an SWP manager, Bennion will recruit and hire a team of painters to paint the outside of houses. Bennion will also deal with customer relations, inspection of her team’s work, all the marketing and advertising for her crew, and customer and employee contracts.
“It will be one of the hardest summers of my life thus far,” she said. Even though it will be a challenge, Bennion said she will gain a lot from the experience.
“With this internship you get experience in all aspects of a business, instead of just one,” Bennion said.
Bennion said in order to be accepted to the program, she went through many rigorous interviews and was required to discuss the program with past SWP managers.
Bennion said she had to prove to SWP interviewers that she was qualified for the job and that she would be successful. Bennion said even though the process was hard, the company has a good reason for requiring so much out of the students before they accept them.
“All this company’s revenue comes from the students–that’s why it’s so rigorous,” she said.
Bennion said since she had to go through such a hard selection process, she was made more aware of what she is getting into.
“I’m very excited and a little overwhelmed,” Bennion said. “But I’m ready for the challenge,” she added.
Because the program is challenging, student managers in the program receive help from SWP employees and a district manager.
Bennion’s district manager this year was an SWP student manager last year in the University of Colorado area.
Adam Winkler, 21, a business major now living in Salt Lake, agreed that the program was hard, but it taught him a lot about how to run a business.
“One of the things I learned is that the way I treat my employees in the morning had a big impact on the way they did their job,” Winkler said.
Winkler said the program is beneficial to participate in because student managers can decide if they really want to go into business without the all the risks.
“Not a lot of people get a chance to try that out before they get a career,” Winkler said.
Winkler said when he was finished with the program last summer, it wasn’t so much a matter of success, but how much he had grown.
“Now I know what I need to work on to run a business, and what’s going to make me better at it,” he said.
Don Livingstone, director of the Center of Entrepreneurship, agrees that the rewards can be high in such a program, but students need to know what they’re getting into before they agree to anything.
“This isn’t like going door-to-door to sell something for $30,” he said.
“Home-owners only have their house painted every three to five years–they’re going to make sure that whoever paints it has the skills and a good reputation,” Livingstone added.
Livingstone said the challenge comes at the beginning when the business has not established a reputation for home-owners to draw from.