“Though I wasn't sure about my end goal at 18 years of age, I did know owning my own business had the most appeal. The entrepreneurship major was an easydecision,” says Jamison Agnello, CMU alumnus class of 2002.
“At 25, I decided I was finished working for the man and it was time to give up my regular paycheck,” Jamison said. He says the decision did not come easy. “It's a big scary world when there's no one there to cushion your fall.”
Now, Jamison is the founder and CEO of New Hope Financial, a private equity firm that specializes in the acquisition on deficient assets. “Thankfully, the entrepreneurship program at CMU provided a massive skill set to reference.
“I learned a lot from CMU, from basic accounting when you can't afford a bookkeeper, to risk management when you're worried about pouring your entire savings account into a start-up company. The best advice I can give to CMU students in the program is to truly take advantage of the program!”
One thing all entrepreneurship majors at CMU need to learn, according to Jamison, is that it’s okay to fail. “You need to develop a mind set that not every idea is a money maker,” Jamison said. “Sometimes you won't know until you try.”
Erik Spindler graduated from CMU in 2006 with a degree in entrepreneurship. Since then, he’s become the only full-time employee at the Morey Foundation, serving as assistant to the president of the foundation.
Erik says he learned the importance of communication and problem solving in the entrepreneurship program. When it comes to advice for CMU students, he says the biggest takeaway from the entrepreneurship program is developing the initiative to never give up.
“Don't be afraid to pursue a challenge,” Spindler said. “Recognize that it is okay to make mistakes. The key is to learn from them.”
Like most CMU entrepreneurship alumni, Erik says he’s developed a close mentorship with retired entrepreneurship faculty member Chuck Fitzpatrick. “I leaned on Chuck quite often with questions and ideas,” Spindler said. “He was a great mentor for me and I have stayed in contact with him since.”