On January 29, I was able to attend the Middle Market Student Summit – it was a great opportunity to learn more about a strong, but often over-looked, market. There is a Middle Market Summit, but this event is geared specifically towards students in a more casual setting.
As I learned, the U.S. Middle Market is a mighty force to be reckoned with. It is comprised of nearly 200,000 businesses that all have an annual revenue of $10MM — $1B. They are 1/3 of all US jobs and contributed more than 1.2 million new jobs last year. PLUS (and this is my favorite fact), they added jobs during the financial crisis, when big businesses lost jobs.
Some Middle Market companies you may not think about are Krispy Kreme, Smart Balance, American Apparel, Bravo Brio restaurants and Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams! These companies fall right into the sweet spot of being not-to-small, but also not-to-big.
With such large sums being thrown about – seriously, I think I heard the world million and billion more than thirty times – it was hard to stay on-top of all the information given. I was so surprised that the Middle Market makes such a huge impact on our local and national economy, but also how many Fisher grads and other professionals work for mid-size companies.
The speaker for the event was Giovanni Feroce, the CEO of Alex & Ani (really cool jewelry that focuses on symbology and spiritual energy). Extremely candid and a joy to listen to, Mr. Feroce talked about doing the right thing and really working for what you believe in.
I thought it was interesting that he asks his employees three questions (see below). Trust me, this guy doesn’t cut corners and starts true to himself in every situation.
1) What were you hired to do?
2) What are you doing?
3) What do you want to do?
Fisher is always giving me and my fellow students opportunities to learn more, interact with interesting C-level executives and become the best business professional possible. Once again, this event didn’t disappoint!