Open Student Forum: Ongoing Entrepreneurial Evolution Before Our Very Eyes

I am approaching this blog entry different than others this semester.

I always welcome student comment on both guest presentations and my blog entries, but I want this one to be dominated by comments/replies from Midwest Entrepeneurs students.

Toward this end, I will provide my very brief thoughts on yesterday’s guest presentation by last-semester Monmouth College senior Jack Donnelly (owner of both the After Dark nightclub and rental properties in downtown Monmouth). Take this and run with it… please! And remember, students, that you are assigned grades for “blog participation” (which many of you have yet to engage in).

What I saw yesterday was a story of ongoing entrepreneurial evolution. Jack Donnelly was inspired to start After Dark less than three years ago by (1) personal frustration in not having adequate local options for underage persons to party and hang-out, and (2) an entrepreneurship class he took here (taught by my Political Economy & Commerce colleague Lee Miller).

Much has happened since then. Having come here only last semester, I have seen but a small portion of Jack’s ongoing entrepreneurial journey. Most of you have seen far more of it than I.

Note that I say “ongoing entrepreneurial journey” despite the fact that Jack told us yesterday that After Dark will be shutting its doors in a little over a week. As you know, he will still be in the rental business. Also, I get the feeling that Jack has “the entrepreneurial bug” and is far from finished as an entrepreneur.

What do you think?

Prof. Gabel




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About Terrance Gabel

Terrance G. Gabel is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Economy and Commerce at Monmouth College. Originally from Keokuk, Iowa, Dr. Gabel earned his BBA (Marketing) from the University of Iowa, his Master of Science degree (Marketing) from Texas A&M University, and his Ph.D. (Marketing) from the University of Memphis. He possesses three years of business-to-business sales experience, one year of executive-level marketing management experience for a heavy industrial international trade services firm, and one year of product management experience for a large banking organization. He was also a freelance business writer and consultant for approximately three years.

3 thoughts on “Open Student Forum: Ongoing Entrepreneurial Evolution Before Our Very Eyes

  1. I thought it was good to have Jack in because it something that the students can relate to. I have had a couple of classes with Jack throughout the years, as I’m sure some other people have, it is sort of inspiring. It is relatable to us, since he is still a student here so I just think it goes to show anything is possible. A good motivation for people to take a chance and do what they want to do.

    • I agree with Mr. Gleaves. I think that it was great for us as students to have a speaker who is actually in the same shoes we are going through college. Although his experience has been very different. I knew about Jack owning After Dark, but I was not aware of him owning the building. Which I thought to be very impressive to own such a building as a college student. Then with leasing and renting to different businesses is something that was a very smart idea. I think that this experience will only improve Jack’s future business experiences. Having to buy a building, completely remodel it, and open it up for business while being a full time student speaks for itself. I also enjoyed Jack’s speech because he was very blunt during his talk. Explained his happenings in a language where the students had an easy way of understanding his adventure.

  2. I thought that Jack’s presentation was very impressive and motivating. The most impressive part to me was opening After Dark as a student and managing his academics as well as the demanding work outside of school. The thing that I liked the most was his inspiration, he wanted to party without being hassled by the college security, which gave him the idea of opening up the club. Not only has this business been useful for the college students to have a good time, but also the area high school students. Since there isn’t much to do in the city of Monmouth, besides drink at the bar or play golf, this club gives the students something to do on the weekends and place to go to. Jack really inspired me by how much work that he put into this business at a very young age. I know that I wouldn’t be able to handle this type of business, but it motivates me to know that it is possible. The one thing that I couldn’t handle, that Jack had been doing so well, is dealing with the amount of drunken students causing trouble there on the weekends.

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