E IS FOR ENTREPRENEUR
Alum Chad Saalfrank is a 2010 graduate from the Indianapolis Northwest cohort. He has worked for Anthem for nearly 10 years, serving as a data consultant within the actuarial department.
While working as a professional, Chad realized that he needed to pursue his MBA to further his career. “An MBA is becoming a standard, rather than a standout item on résumés,” said Chad.
He began his MBA at another school, but quickly fell out of the program because of scheduling. “AU was appealing because it was accredited and I liked the cohort approach,” explained Chad. “I picked the night of the week that best fit my schedule and knew that once I started I just had to put my head down and put in the work for the next two years and I’d have my MBA.”
During his time at the MBA Program, Chad—like his peers—worked on a business plan as a component of his studies. A year later, his business plan became Perfect World Denim.
“Perfect World Denim was founded based on the experience of a friend, Don Reynolds [who is the majority owner], who had been in the tailoring business,” said Chad. “Altering jeans for the actual fit is pretty much impossible due to the way the garment is constructed. The alternative was to find a profitable way to make jeans that are custom fit.”
Chad has found the most challenging part of running Perfect World Denim is maintaining cash flow. “After the initial startup, you’re consistently faced with decisions on how to allocate your resources in a way to foster growth without running your cash flow too lean,” said Chad.
Since starting Perfect World Denim, Chad has realized that his business plan—once a project for a class assignment—can change quickly when the business begins operating.
Today, Chad’s role in the day-to-day operations of Perfect World Denim is limited, but he hopes it will grow enough to merit more hands-on effort. In the meantime, he’s enjoying his work.
“Although it sounds cliché, the best part of starting a business for me is that it embodies the American dream,” said Chad. “We’re paying wages, making a great product (manufactured in Indiana) and taking a shot being the next big thing.”
F IS FOR FACULTY
Dr. Emmett Dulaney, the recipient of the 2011 Distinguished Academic Leader Award Winner, is an associate professor with the Falls School of Business. Emmett teaches at all three levels—undergraduate, MBA and DBA—in the areas of marketing and entrepreneurship. He is also the faculty adviser for AMG (Anderson Media Group), in addition to involvement with business plan competitions, camps and other opportunities. He earned his undergraduate degree from Ball State University, followed by his MBA and doctoral degree at AU.
His enrollment at AU stemmed from his experiences in the working world. “In the late 1990s, I owned a business that was fairly successful,” explained Emmett. “In the early 2000s, I owned a very similar business that was not nearly as successful. Wanting to better understand why, I enrolled in the Anderson MBA Program.”
Emmett’s undergraduate degree was in economics, but after graduation, he entered the field of technology instead. For many years, he moved from company to company, creating a standard employment period of three years.
“When I was pursuing the MBA, it struck me that not only did I like learning and Anderson University, but I also liked the faculty and came to respect them a great deal,” said Emmett. “In my mind, it occurred to me that becoming a professor would be a good midlife crisis.”
Emmett began working as an adjunct professor at four different schools. When he began his doctorate studies, he applied for a position with the Falls School of Business. “The transition took about four years, but it is one that I am thankful for every day,” said Emmett. “Also, the fact that I am currently doubling my record for longest place to work says a great deal about how happy I am to be here.”
Emmett’s proudest professional accomplishment is completing his doctorate. “When you start, you have no real idea of how long it will take you to finish, since the final step is the defense of the dissertation,” said Emmett. “While some have been able to complete the process in just over three years, others are never able to successfully finish. I found it a challenge from start to finish, but was determined to make it happen.”