Winemaking in the Dorms, and the Professional Development Symposium

Well, I’ve taken the plunge, and decided to buy the supplies to put together the kits. The order was quite large for some items, so I have to wait for this supplier to receive the extra product from their own suppliers, then I will have it shipped to me, and I will put together the kits. I hope these work. I know I would have loved a product like this when I first moved into the dorms.

Something not a lot of people know about wine…it will get a group inebriated much faster, and differently than regular beer or liquor. This is not proven to my knowledge, and this isn’t a statement of fact, but from personal experience and first person accounts, wine gets people more “messed up” than other alcohols. Being a potential 18% alcohol by volume doesn’t hurt either.

Topic over (Do not drink or manufacture or possess alcohol if you are below the legal age in your jurisdiction, or if doing so would violate any law, rule, statute, etc. that applies to you)

I just got back from a Professional Development Symposium put on by the Multi-Cultural Business Students at Michigan State University. It was a pretty helpful meeting; it consisted of 4 breakout sessions, and a very interesting keynote speaker during lunch. The meeting took place at a very nice Marriott, and we got plenty of free stuff 🙂 When I left my room at 8 am, my roommate and suitemates were still up. Crazy! Here’s a breakdown of the day.

8:30 – 9:00 am : Registration and Breakfast. We registered, got our $25 deposits back (we would not get them back if we did not attend, and this would pay for the food and services we were not using…financial incentive to show up) and then we received a free leather portfolio. I almost brought my own, but I read the e-mail at the last minute and found that we would receive our own new portfolios. I now have 3 portfolios, and I have a feeling that isn’t the end of it.

Breakfast was a continental breakfast with coffee (thank you!) and pastries; I had a very tasty and moist blueberry muffin.

9:00 – 9:30 am: Introduction/Welcome – Speech explaining the day basically. I’ve been to enough of these that I was able to figure it out.

We then had to choose one of 4 breakout sessions to attend: Our options were.
1. Resume/Cover Letter Workshop – EATON Corp.
2. Dining Etiquette – Enterprise Rent-A-Car
3. Understanding Offer Letter Packages – Kevin Leonard, Multi-cultural Business Program
4. Personal Financial Management – MSU Federal Credit Union

I chose the Resume/Cover Letter Workshop, and Understanding Offer Letter Packages for my 2 morning sessions.

9:30 – 10:30 Resume/Cover Letter Workshop – This was a bit of a waste. I expected it to be more in depth information about resumes, but she even said the info on the slides was taken from an MSU website. Helpful, huh? I did learn some from them when the Q/A began, however. They seemed knowledgeable, and provided some good answers. I asked if my objective should be tailored to the company, and they said basically, no. I did not learn a whole lot from this, and would rather have attended dining etqiuette, but oh well, live and learn.

10:45-11:45 am Understanding Offer Letter Packages – This was much more helpful. Kevin Leonard is a very funny man, and he also has a wealth of knowledge. He began by walking us through the negoitaion process of job offers. The best tip we got was that we should not negotiate without other offers on the table. Also, if you know you are being offered a good salary, TAKE IT. If you are $6,000 over the industry high, they want you, and are making a generous offer.

We then went on to discuss the various aspects of the offer letter, and what to look for. Benefits, Travel, Insurance, etc. were all covered, and he said sometimes…many times, one needs to pry into HR to find the policies on Benefits. We talked briefly about the 401(k) (contribute maximum dollars that you can to it, especially early on) and overall, this was a very beneficial session.

Then Lunch

11:45 am – 12:45 pmLunchKeynote Speaker: Dr. Ernest Betts, Assistant Dean for Multi-cultural Business Program (MBP) Dr. Betts was a highly skilled speaker; he spoke about the coming together of different cultures in business like has never before been seen. He discussed some common stereotypes about Americans, as well as some of the cultural aspects we should be aware of for other cultures. In Korea, if asked to hum a few lines of your favorite song, stand up, and belt it; singing is a passion in Korea. He said a client will overlook mutilation of the language, but not mutilation of the culture. If someone came to our country, and spoke very minimal english, we would get a translator, if someone came to our country and hit our children, we would be offended. Get it?

The food at Lunch was sub-par. When you are in a hotel dining room with people in tuxes serving you, you have certain expectations. The salad was good (simple salad, peppercorn ranch dressing) and tasty rolls. The entree, however, was sub-par. The chicken specifically was tough, with rubbery parts, the sauce tasted like it was from McDonalds, there were grains of rice that were crunchy, mixed in with cooked grains. The beans and carrots were good. Dessert was a very rich chocolate tart; incredibly rich. Imagine a pie slice of chocolate. Coffee was a little bitter too, unlike the coffee in the morning; the coffee in the morning was strong and delicious.

The afternoon sessions were all new, and we had 2 to select from those as well.

1. Dressing for Success – Whirlpool
2. Public Speaking – Robert Johnson
3. Graduate School: GMAT, GRE, LSAT – The Princeton Review
4. Networking/Career Fair Preparation – Target

1:00-2:00 pm Networking/Career Fair Preparation – I felt this was a very helpful session, given the fact that there is a career gallery only days away. We discussed how to open up the discussion, how to develop power stories to tell for different situations. They said that based on a trait that is brought up, we should have “power stories” that show us in a good light. It should be consise, 30-60 seconds, and we should finish with what we learned from the experience. That was basically all we learned, and it was a good skill to learn. I highly recommend everyone learn how to form and deliver a power story.

2:15 – 3:15 pmGraduate School: GMAT, GRE, LSAT – This was interesting. I didn’t really realize how expensive these tests are until today. $225 for the GMAT alone. Yikes. They are Computer Adaptive Tests, meaning based on whether you get the question right, the next one will be either harder or easier. Cool. We talked about some basic test taking strategies, and the guy was pretty funny. Process of Elimination was a good theme. Here is a sample question he gave us to demonstrate this concept. First, he asked us the capital of Malawi. Know it? No one else did either. Then, he gave us these answer choices:
A. London
B. Tokyo
C. Paris
D. Washington D.C.
E. Lilongwe

Know the answer? It’s a good demonstration of the idea. He also said statistically guys score better than girls. It’s because guys don’t over-analyze. For example, a guy might think “Hmm, don’t know the answer at all…I’ll go with B” Girls might think “Hmm, I don’t know this at all, but I think it might be that one, I don’t really know, maybe it’s this one, are they trying to trick me, maybe I’ve heard of that one, could it be C? I’m going to get this wrong, and I know I got the one 3 questions ago wrong, I’m going to fail completely”

4 seconds to like 4 minutes. Saves time for guys. This isn’t a rule of course, just an idea to keep in mind, if you don’t know the answer, you won’t be able to analyze it out. I asked him about the 2+2 program at Harvard, and he is a HUGE fan of them. You get accepted to Grad School and a job simultaneously. Work 2 years, then MBA for 2 years. Cool system. I then answered a question correctly (how many points is the GMAT essay out of A:6) and got a book “The 109 best internships” which I REALLY wanted. Sweet.

I skipped the goodbye speech by accident. I didn’t think it was going to happen. Anyway, I’m going to go play some sports. I was out for 8 hours, so I’m ready for some rec time.

Save some money, make your own

Note: The information provided in this blog purely educational, and in no way is its advice recommended or expected to be followed.

The cost of booze got you down? If you’re over 21 (and ONLY if you’re over 21) you could make your own. It is perfectly legal for Americans to make up to 100 gallons of FERMENTED beverages each year without being taxed. That being said, some states do still have laws that make it unlawful to manufacture ANY alcoholic beverage. It is YOUR responsibility to understand your own laws in your state, county, city, township, neighborhood, campus, and ANY other law, rule, regulation, etc. that applies to you.

Ok, so it is possible to make your own wine very easily in your dorm room (make sure it is legal, remember). I am planning on putting together a kit for making wine in a small space (assuming it is legal, do you get my recurring theme?) that I will sell on my store.

I have not priced everything, but I expect the kit to sell for $13-$15. It includes:

  • 5″ Funnel
  • 5′ 3/8″ Vinyl Tubing
  • 1 packet wine making yeast
  • 2 packets of sanitizing solution
  • Hose clamp
  • 2 Balloon airlocks (made in house, very clever design)

It will require the purchaser to buy their own ingredients. These ingredients are:

  • 1 gallon water
  • 3 cans grape juice concentrate
  • sugar

It comes out to like $7 the first batch you make, plus say $15, so $22 for the first batch. After that however, subsequent batches would be much cheaper. I could sell refill supplies on my site too (yeast, sanitizing solution, and balloon airlocks) which would need to be refilled.

What do you all think? Is it worth it to make your own wine (for those of legal age) which comes to about 18% abv. It is VERY strong, and can get a sufficient group inebriated (as long as they are all of legal age)

I’d love to hear comments.

Note: I do not condone, nor does this potential product condone any underage drinking, it is the readers responsibility to understand any laws, rules, regulations, etc. that apply to him or her.

Update on the Store

Well, as many of you know, I currently have a store over at which is hosted by e-crater. I’ve wanted to get an independent storefront (independent of ecrater) for a while now. I checked out some hosting services, and they seems pretty nice; I think hostmonster is the best of them all. It’s $5.95/mo for 12 months, so it comes out to about $84 which is reasonableish. I also found a website called which is like e-crater, but MUCH more customizable.

Does anyone have any opinions on these two stores?

I also have a new product that I am currently pricing that I think should do VERY well. I’m keeping it on the down low right now, but trust me, it’s GREAT. Anyway, that was just my quick update, don’t really have time to do a lot of updates right now with my class schedule (Accounting 300 is hurting me pretty bad) but I will soon once I get a better grasp on my classes.

That’s a good lesson for those who are just starting college, understand your limits, and don’t go nuts until you do understand them. If a class is beating you up, realize that you will need to spend MORE time on it, not less (as so commonly seems to be the case for some reason)