When Team Trump won this week’s “Lion’s Apprentice” challenge, it received a prize any aspiring professional would envy. The client, Dave Puskar of Bloomberg LP, invited Team Trump to visit his Princeton office, take a tour, network and present its project.
The challenge required each team to review and expand the main endeavors of Bloomberg, a company that provides financial services to businesses. Each team’s expansion proposal had to include positives and negatives about the company.
Judges ousted the Consultants, fresh from their win in the previous challenge.
Only two teams remain in “The Lion’s Apprentice” competition: Team Trump and Team P.B.L.
Though Team Trump members Loren Slack, junior accounting major, and David Boudwin, senior business major, received mixed responses from judges, they won over the client. Their proposal included a critique of Bloomberg’s services against those provided by its competitors, Reuters and Thompson, something none of the other teams did.
“This is very realistic. Nice. Concise,” Puskar said.
“‘The Lion’s Apprentice’ has been a wonderful opportunity to enhance my public speaking and networking skills,” Slack said. “I was shocked and pleased with the outcome. It was encouraging to be recognized for the effort and time that David and I have put into this competition.”
For the first time in the competition, judges began interrupting teams during their presentations. They planned to test the teams’ responses under pressure. Puskar appeared frustrated as he stopped the first team, The Consultants, only two minutes into their presentation.
“Excuse me – can you move on?” Puskar said. “I know all this.”
Even the victorious Team Trump faced a moment of potential disaster when judge James Conroy of Bristol-Myers Squibb interjected.
“Are you telling me as a business student at (the College) you have never used a Bloomberg terminal?” Conroy asked.
A Bloomberg terminal provides up-to-the-minute financial and stock data to anyone with a subscription, which can cost up to $1,800 a month. It also offers tools that can create financial models that find the most profitable investment for the user.
The room fell silent as Team Trump, the audience and staff absorbed the shock. Team Trump suggested that the high price of Bloomberg’s terminal limited access for small schools such as the College.
“No, as a senior general business major I know what it is, but have never been shown the program,” Boudwin said.
The next challenge is to create a council for the Mercer County Chamber of Commerce that links the arts and business communities of greater Trenton.
The new council would build on an existing resource called “Business Volunteers for the Arts,” which links non-profit and for-profit organizations.
Each team must treat the council as a start-up organization and effectively launch the council using a high-profile event.
Teams will create a mock budget that includes marketing costs such as newspaper, radio or television advertising. Each team will also submit a written marketing plan.
The winning team can choose to attend either the Mercer County Chamber of Commerce annual dinner or the Chamber’s annual luncheon.
Team members seemed reserved after hearing the new challenge. They face increasingly unpredictable judges as they struggle for opportunities to launch their own professional careers.
“This is going to be the hardest one to date,” Joe Shalhoub, junior business management major and Team P.B.L member, said.
The results of the challenge will be revealed Tuesday, March 21 in the Business Building Main Lounge at 6 p.m.