The Razor’s Edge Shark Cage Scholars Program is a combined bachelor’s and master’s program for first-time college students interested in becoming entrepreneurs. According to NSU’s website, the program provides meaningful learning experiences inside the classroom as well as outside the classroom through curriculum created by real-world professionals. It even allows students to start and run their own businesses.
Paul Wiecki is a junior pursuing a degree in finance with minors in property management and entrepreneurship. He is also the president of the Shark Cage program.
What interested you in the Shark Cage program and why did you apply?
[NSU] was the only school south of Pennsylvania that I applied to. I got a free application for [NSU], came to interview for the Presidential Premiere scholarship and, in the process, met Dr. Williams who was advocating for the Shark Cage program. After speaking with him, he told me I might be a good match. I ended up having a skype interview with Mrs. Babcock, our advisor, and from there I fell in love with the program. I am from an entrepreneurial background. My father owned his own company, and I have been working there ever since I could walk and talk. When I found a program that was willing to let me open my own business on campus, I thought it was a great opportunity.
What are some of the advantages of being a Shark Cage student?
One of the advantages is all the networking possibilities the program provides for us. We are paired with mentors in the South Florida business community as guides for our four years here. I was actually invited to the entrepreneurial hall of fame dinner, and I wouldn’t be able to be a part of that without the Shark Cage program. It [also] prepares you [for] public speaking and teaches you how to sell yourself in the most efficient way possible. Being able to speak publicly in front of large group of people, especially important people, has been very nice.
What are your future aspirations?
After undergraduate I would love to pursue my masters degree. From there, my goal is to find a financial firm in the South Florida area. While there, I would love to work for wealth management and find a banking firm, create a little bit of capital and start my own investment portfolio to diversify my own assets. Once I get enough capital and equity, I want to move into real estate and property management to flip, sell and rent homes
What is the most important thing you have learned through the program?
I think the most important thing I have learned is endurance and how just because one door has closed or one chain has told me that this can’t happen for this reason, it doesn’t mean it won’t happen at all. In the last three years we have made headway every semester. So, it has definitely taught me persistence, and if one thing doesn’t work, just find another way to make it work.
What advice do you have for students applying or in their first year of the program?
I would make sure you are a very committed individual. This program is not a joke and demands a lot of work. But because it demands so much of you, you are rewarded for everything you put into it. You just have to be hungry. You have to want it. You have to be willing to put in the effort for it.
What inspired your business plan?
The business I am currently operating is my third business that I have attempted to start here. I [decided on] a tea business. I saw that Starbucks has complete market control of the coffee and tea industry on campus. I found a business that is low overhead to start, high profit margins and it was an easy thing to try to compete with starbucks because I could find good if not better product, and I was able to sell it at a much more reasonable price. I will not be running a businesses next year but I am still the president of the program, so I will likely be overseeing the operations and helping plan day to day operations with the sophomore students who will be running their businesses next year.