In his new role as Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Florida International University’s (FIU) College of Business Administration, Boris Hirmas wanted to start a conversation with undergraduate students about how they envisioned their careers in international business after graduation and how entrepreneurship played into their plans.
The result is a dinner series, “Brainfood with Boris,” presented by the college’s International Business Honor Society (IBHS). The first dinner, held November 14, 2011, offered a candid and enlightening look into the opportunities and challenges graduates will be facing in today’s tumultuous global economic environment and the importance of risk tolerance and persistence.
Jerry Haar, director of the Pino Global Entrepreneurship Center, who moderated the inaugural dinner, told the group of 20 students, “We see this as a platform for creative ideas and entrepreneurial exchange.”
He hoped the insights provided will inspire them to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams.
Hirmas advocates for entrepreneurship.
Initiating the discussion, Hirmas asked for a show of hands on who wanted to pursue a corporate versus an entrepreneurial career. Overwhelmingly, the students envisioned themselves in the corporate world. Asked why, some said they were concerned that their innovative venture ideas could be stolen, while others wanted the security of a corporation behind them as they launched their careers.
Hirmas and several colleagues who accompanied him urged them to consider entrepreneurship as a first career track, or to look for opportunities in small entrepreneurial firms.
“The anxiety will always be there, because that’s life,” Hirmas said. “There are no guarantees. Once Rock-solid titans like GM and AIG have faced hard times recently.”
The key to success, he added, is to understand that anxiety is unavoidable.
“Learn to channel that anxiety—that’s the essence of it,” he told students. “Being nervous makes you do your best.”
Freshman Henrique Carvalho was enthusiastic about Hirmas’ message.
“There is no other life for me but entrepreneurship,” he said.
The Brainfood with Boris series will continue this semester, with Hirmas and additional guest speakers sharing their insights and experiences in the entrepreneurial world.