Upon graduation, the world becomes an open space of endless opportunities. Illinois State University 2016 finance graduate Al Luszczak, from Palatine, and his partners, College of Business classmates Nicholas Theodore and Mike Medwed, both from Lemont, quickly realized this.
Although the three anticipated lifelong finance careers, they partnered in 2016 to start a junk removal service called Music City Removal (MCR) in Nashville. The company offers residential cleanups, tenant cleanups and junk removal assistance to property managers. In addition, the company removes debris while helping with construction site cleanups and helps businesses remove equipment.
The partners met through ISU's Pi Kappa Alpha chapter and owning a business has been a mutual lifelong dream between the brothers. Theodore explains the beginnings of MCR.
"The three of us would brainstorm at night after work on Google Hangouts and we would talk once a week about different ideas to start something ourselves. Soon, it became a few times a week, then it became every night for hours."
Medwed has lived in Nashville for a year. After seeing a mutual friend experience success in a similar venture in Chicago, Theodore and Luszczak joined Medwed due to growing demand and opportunities in Nashville.
Even when opportunities exist, one must take the initiative to capitalize on them for success. Using one of the COB's biggest lessons of prioritizing relationship building over profit chasing, MCR prospers.
"Being a new service competing against large franchise names, we have and will go above and beyond to build our customer base," Medwed said. "We’re doing so by going out and making new connections in Greater Nashville (contractors, property managers, real estate agents), showing them the value of our service and performing high quality jobs for clients."
To foster these connections, MCR offers a rebate program for managers to work within their budgets and build continuous relationships. That said, all partners are members of Nashville's largest Business Network International chapter to expand networking capabilities and the MCR brand name.
Ultimately, the three wish to use MCR as a vehicle for startup entrepreneurial ventures.
"We plan to use Music City Removal as a starter for future ventures that we have planned, where we will need more funding in order to bring those ideas to life because we want to be able to self-fund all of our ventures."
To achieve future ventures, the partners apply lessons learned at ISU every day.
"The most important lessons that I use in my day-to-day life are my organization and networking skills that were not exactly taught in class curriculum, but through my personal involvement in ISU," Luszczak said.
Though recent graduates, all three gained ample business experiences before starting MCR. Theodore worked at TD Ameritrade and Zacks Investments and Medwed interned at Medix and DeGarmo Group, a Bloomington-Normal business management consultant.
Aiming high after graduation, Luszczak worked 10 months at JP Morgan.
"I was intimidated at first, but realized shortly after starting, although it is a big company, the teams [we] work in are small," Luszczak said. “The teams provide a unity and provide many different resources to seek in order to ensure you are on the right path to success."
Now that the trio is on the path to success, they offer advice to current ISU students hoping to carve their own business path.
"Realize that your everyday actions will have a direct impact on future successes," Luszczak said. "Habits that you create in college will play into your professional life and overall well-being."
"Entrepreneurship is a commitment and you cannot start a company or business by putting one foot in the water, you have to dive into whatever you are doing and go all in," Theodore adds.
Medwed reminds everyone to remember the resources gathered at ISU.
"Don’t think for a second you don’t have a chance because you’re too young," Medwed said. "People are willing to help, especially your professors."