Club introduces students to area business leaders

Entrepreneurship Club offers chances to volunteer, network and mentor.

by Bryce Haugen

A steady stream of University students filed into a Carlson School of Management classroom Wednesday, eager for their twice-weekly dose of inspiration.

“It’s build-your-own-sandwich day,” said supply chain management and finance student Katie Thayer, greeting Entrepreneurship Club members before the meeting.

“Entre” Club, which Thayer leads, meets over lunch each Wednesday and Thursday to host local business leaders. On Wednesday, Minnesota Twins Vice President for Marketing Patrick Klinger spoke to approximately 60 audience members and answered their questions.

For $35 a year, the club not only offers food and speakers twice a week, but also provides volunteer, networking and mentorship opportunities, Thayer said. But most importantly, she said, the club inspires and motivates.

“We try to get a range of businesses and get people who have actually been through (entrepreneurial struggles),” said John Stavig, the club’s adviser and Carlson School director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies.

Dan Huynh, an agriculture and food business management junior who owns his own disc jockey business, said hearing how other businesses have faced – and overcome – tough times, helps him persevere through personal hardships.

“It helps in keeping the dream alive,” he said.

Entrepreneurship Club is not just for business school students, Thayer said. Many members, such as Huynh, who serves as the group’s chief database administrator, are from other University colleges.

“We try to get a mix of people,” she said. “People that want more of an introduction to business that they don’t get at the design school, or the journalism school.”

After a short introduction, Klinger fielded a number of questions from the audience.

Klinger, creator of the Twins’ popular bobblehead promotion, guides the team’s marketing strategy.

Several students asked about the Twins’ marketing techniques and the difficulties they face.

Klinger said the Twins give away more at their games than any other team in Major League Baseball. Some attempts fail to draw fans; others are tremendous successes, he said.

“It never ceases to amaze me that we have people lining up 36 hours in advance to get a bobblehead,” he said.

The Twins’ biggest marketing difficulty is competing with the endless variety of Twin Cities entertainment options, Klinger said.

“There are some smart people in here,” he told the crowd. “If you have any suggestions on how to get that accomplished, we’re all ears.”

After the meeting, first-year international business and marketing student Mehrdad Moghaddam said he liked the event’s question-and-answer format, because “it gives us an opportunity to interact with a speaker.”