While many students were enjoying their summer vacation, Michael Ehmann, a second year undergraduate student in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering, was gaining experience as an entrepreneur. In May of 2011, after applying to become a branch manager and going through a selective interview process, Ehmann opened his own SAT/ACT tutoring business in his hometown of Woodstock, Georgia with a company called Ivy Insiders.
“I was interested in the opportunity because it would give me the real-world experience of running a small business, and it would also allow me to make a difference in the lives of families in my community,” said Ehmann.
Ivy Insiders’ instructors are college students who have “beaten” the tests themselves and are now attending the most selective schools in the country. As a high school student, Ehmann scored in the 99th percentile on the ACT.
Once he completed the Ivy Insiders training, Ehmann started his business from scratch spending the first few weeks organizing the logistics of his branch, and making a name for himself. By giving classroom presentations at the local high school, hosting free SAT/ACT workshops, cold-calling families from local directories, setting up partnerships with local businesses, and receiving press in several local papers, Ehmann was able to develop a presence for his business that rivaled other major test prep companies, such as Sylvan and Kaplan. Throughout the summer, Ehmann was responsible for marketing the branch, making sales, following up with potential customers, teaching courses, and managing the branch office.
“Starting my own tutoring business is probably the most challenging, and at the same time most rewarding thing I have ever done. It was a very successful summer, but it had its fair share of obstacles,” said Ehmann.
In two months, Ehmann’s branch brought in over $15,000. Because of his success, Ehmann was inducted into the Ivy Insiders Peak Performers program which only includes the top 10% of branch managers nationwide. However, for Ehmann, the real reward for the summer was the myriad of business skills he acquired.
“Starting a large-scale project from scratch, learning how to market a product to a specific demographic, making sales (often to customers with whom you have never spoken), and operating a basic P/L statement are all skills which will benefit me throughout my professional career,” explained Ehmann.
Ehmann is a brother of the Theta Xi fraternity, marketing chair for the Georgia Tech Undergraduate Consulting Club, and a member of the Investments Committee. According to Ehmann, his involvement with various clubs both in high school and college has developed him as a leader, project manager, and a team player.
In addition to his involvement with clubs and other organizations, Ehmann values the importance of community service, and is currently in the process of becoming a mentor at the BEST Academy through One Voice Atlanta.
Industrial and Systems Engineering