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What would compel a 40-something owner of an already successful small business to return to school for an M.B.A. at Ithaca College?
Heather Lane, owner of Purity Ice Cream—a well-known and loved institution in Ithaca and the central New York area—had her reasons: “I had plateaued at Purity. I couldn’t beat my best day’s sales,” she says.
Heather always urged IC students on her staff to finish their degrees but was embarrassed she never finished her own. After taking the final classes needed to complete an undergraduate degree in psychology with the University at Buffalo, she was inspired to scoop up an M.B.A. at Ithaca to boost her business.
“I didn’t understand how transferable the theoretical knowledge was until I entered the program, and then it just became this great game: what can I change next at Purity?”
Heather made operational adjustments, which included changing the way customers move through her store and the location of the cash registers. She also modified the prices of certain products.
Then she tackled the human resources side of the business and created a series of videos so that staffers could understand the nuances of making a great sundae or a smooth milkshake, and even how to mop the floor correctly.
Changes like these and others are what helped Heather eventually beat her best day's sales by 40 percent. She credits that growth to her education at IC.
“The M.B.A. program really pushed me to analyze my operation, make sense of it, and do it better,” Heather says.
>> More on this story: "Ice Cream Social" - The Ithacan
Jared Dionne knows how to recognize a great rising band. Discovering new music is a passion for Jared—one that he wants to share with the world. His intense connection to the music scene led him to pursue a journalism major in Ithaca’s Roy H. Park School of Communications.
“I started writing for the Ithacan and learned very quickly what it means to be a journalist,” Jared says. “I wanted to do reviews. I wanted to introduce people to new music.”
Jared was surprised at the opportunities he got at IC right away. He was sent to report on concerts at Ithaca’s popular music venues. “Ra Ra Riot performed and I got to interview them. The Ithacan got me the interview, and it was only my second week in college. That’s when I realized I was going to be fine at Ithaca. I interviewed multiple bands including Ok Go, An Horse, and Phoenix.”
Meeting bands he loved and making connections made Jared realize he wanted a more active role in the music industry. “I needed more hands-on. I decided to pick up the marketing major—I wanted to get into booking these shows.”
Jared joined the Ithaca College Bureau of Concerts and worked his way up to the top, sharing his vision of bringing new music to the Ithaca College scene. “I don’t want anyone who’s in school at IC now to see a band they’ve already seen. I want people to see bands before they get big.”
Jared’s broad background caught the attention of LA concert promotion company Goldenvoice. “The company saw that I had the technical end with marketing and promoting, and then I had the artistic end with writing—being able to articulate something and communicate it to other people.”
At Goldenvoice, Jared helped promote and coordinate concerts in the LA area and worked on developing the company’s social media strategy. Following his internship, Jared was asked by Goldenvoice to help the company run its social media remotely. Goldenvoice even asked him to work the company’s biggest event in 2013—Coachella.
“I feel ready to go out and explore the music world. There’s a lot we still don’t know about, so hopefully I’ll see what’s going on and change it a bit.”
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