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Laurier Alumnus Shares The True Secret to Business Success

5,120 hours.  That’s a lot of time!  I have no idea of the actual number, but some quick math shows that I likely invested over five thousand hours into my university education. That’s a huge chunk of anyone’s life.   Thankfully I loved it and I learned a lot.

As a business student I learned the ins and outs of finance, organization behaviour, marketing and for some odd reason, calculus. In all honesty though, I rarely use the skills and knowledge from those five thousand hours on a day to day basis. I still wouldn’t trade them for the world but for me, it was the out of classroom experiences that were most valuable.  From my second to fourth years, I was highly involved with the Athletic Department.  No, not as an athlete; but as a computer geek.

Because of the leadership of the Athletic Department at the time (thanks Peter Baxter & Roly Webster), there were a series of part time positions available for students to assist with the administration of the department.  By the end of my fourth year I had extensive experience in launching the first website, publishing many print materials, working with media relations and even assisting in the execution of major sporting events. These were skills that people with 5+ years of post-school careers didn’t even have.

It was that part time job that really equipped me with real life skills, and ultimately provoked my desire to be an entrepreneur.  It was also here that I learned that true success in business is found in helping others reach THEIR goals. Throughout my time with the Laurier Athletic Department I was consistently reminded of the realities of business; budgets, revenues and basic P/L.  But success was not measured in revenue alone.  Our purpose as athletic staff was to help each athlete maximize their performance as an athlete and a student.  Success was measured in in the balanced achievement of both athletics and academics (Academic All Canadians) and in the positive experiences.

This on-campus, out of classroom experience taught me one invaluable skill; one that I still use on a day to day basis.  How to be a servant.

After graduation, I worked for a small flooring company as a marketing assistant.  This lasted for less 60 days.  I got bored and so began my career as an entrepreneur. I founded Robin Hood Technology (RHT) in 2003 as a web development company.

RHT has now evolved into a company that serves Marketing Professionals (agencies and marketing departments) by providing the tools, training and assistance for them to succeed in the digital age. Those lessons of servant hood learned at the Athletic Complex are now a part of the heart that drives a growing company.

If you’re a student. Look beyond the 5,000 hours.  If that’s all you invest, all you’ll get back is a degree. You’re not in school to get a degree; you’re there to create a future and to nurture opportunity.

If you’re an entrepreneur. Be a servant.  Serve your staff, your vendors and your clients. Focus on what it takes to make them successful and chase it passionately. Your success is guaranteed to follow.


Jeremy Laidlaw

Laurier Alumnus ’02

519.573.6172 x230