Atlanta: An Authentic Blog

Michael Gargiulo '23
Major: Supply Chain Management

Well, I am finally home from the Quinlan Ramble and today we were able to sleep in a little bit and check out at noon. We had a weird gap between check out time and from when we left the hotel at 3pm so I spent the time alone finishing up my small business taxes for the year in the Moxy hotel restaurant. As I was doing my work, my friend Daniel texted me saying, “How was your trip, what are you doing right now, when do you come back?” I told him that I was filing my taxes, had an amazing time, learned a lot, and was coming back later today. He responded and told me that, “Look at you, while everyone is partying for Saint Patrick's Day you are working on your small business and going on business & networking trips.” This message meant a great deal to me as it put me into a new perspective on the entire trip.

Going back through my thought process going into the trip I thought of having an extremely open mind and I did just that. I knew that going in I had an entrepreneurial mindset at heart and did not want to work the corporate route but I knew that in anything in life if you have an open mind, you can learn so much and what you essentially put in you get out. At one point in a trip someone asked me, “What are you doing here then if you do not want to get a job?” I said that I am still learning, gaining knowledge, and networking on this trip and so on. I truly am a person that is always willing to learn, gain knowledge, open to new opportunities, and creating my own luck. This trip gave me an opportunity I am so thankful for as it was an experience that I could not get anywhere else in life. Loyola opened the doors to visit a handful of companies and although some did not draw my interest, some most definitely brought a great deal of inspiration towards me. Specifically: 

  • Alma Coffee, which was founded by a Loyola student. He pivoted his entire business model to survive throughout the pandemic. This gave me a great deal of inspiration as the founder was young and gave me the confidence that you can be thrown at anything in life but it's about how you respond and you can always find a way, he said he felt sorry and down for 2 days when March 2020 happened but they quickly pivoted. Pivoting and speed is key for success in startups and I learned a lot there.
  • Coca-Cola; we toured the headquarters and got to see behind the scenes “innovation land.” This innovation land made me feel at home. It was a huge room filled with whiteboards, motivational messages, long computing coding languages, and some UX designs. I felt all this energy towards a common goal of innovating Coca-Cola machines and I know that this is a route I want to take in life, just building something. It reminded me of starting my first business in my parents basement with poster boards all over the walls. I found myself wandering off from the group just reading all the codes and quotes which lead to one of our group teachers saying “Michael, come on stay with the group, follow along”. That is just what happens when I find an interest, I become laser focused.

Anyways, I am sitting here in my bed writing this now and in the moment right now I am happy to be home. I value my schedule & routine that is working towards my goals and aspirations when I am at home so I could not work at a maximum efficiency level on the trip, but this trip gave me a great recharged battery as well as a lot of learning experiences. I am ecstatic to keep building my business, apply what I learned from the networking events from people and apply that to my everyday life. I also am feeling extremely grounded as I feel like this trip gave me just that reminder as to what I want to do in life after school which is build something cool and making the world a better place. Right now I am connecting people through technology through QR Code Video Greeting cards. Looking back already, I am happy with how I got out of my comfort zone talking about my business and networking with people. I have weak communications skills and know that is an area to improve and I did just that during this trip. My older self will probably be upset I did not take enough pictures and journal more so that is why I am writing this style blog.

My advice for anyone thinking about going on the trip would be to %100000000 percent do it! I look at it as, you will always have an opportunity to go to Miami with your friends, to Mexico with your friends, to St Patrick's Day Parades, etc. You will not always have an opportunity to visit companies and network with people! What an amazing opportunity it was and I would do it again if I could. It does not matter if you are wanting to get a job, start a business, unsure of what to do, take a gap year, etc. The worst thing you can do is have a closed mind, so stay open and take every opportunity you can and you will find your passion (which was a common theme we were taught by many people within the companies). We were told to find our passion.

All in all, I hope one day that the Loyola Quinlan Ramble will visit a company that I am either a part of or built one day. Truly in hopes to keep inspiring kids that it is okay to not be seeking a corporate job and still go on the Ramble and find inspiration and value through a different lens, it is okay to wander off from the group and be different, it is okay to take those risks when nobody else does or does not think like you! You can do anything you set your mind to in life. Thank you, Loyola, for the opportunity. I hope to return the favor in the long run!