Shaniya Epps has applied for our Jet Business Scholarship and her essay was selected to be one of our finalists. Below is some information about Shaniya and her essay submission. You can vote for her submission by clicking here.

Senior at Loyola Marymount University
Major – Marketing

What do you enjoy about your studies?

I enjoy the practicality and real-world application about my studies the most.

We are much more impacted by advertising than we realize - it can influence anything from our mood, to our routine purchases, and potentially our major life decisions. As a result, everyone has valuable perspectives about some form of marketing with which they have come into contact. I love discussing marketing with others because great conversation can happen with anyone - not just the experts. I am fascinated with why certain people feel certain ways about companies and what led them to those opinions. Brands spend incredible amounts of money trying to discover what consumers truly think about them, so it is enjoyable to learn that information from a real person firsthand. 

Although marketing has a great effect on us, what some people do not always realize is that we have an even greater power over brands as a collective. Companies are listening more attentively to consumers than they ever have before, whether that be purely for image or for a true desire to satisfy the consumer. People are becoming more aware of how business is interconnected with nearly everything in our daily lives. Because of this, I often try to remind those around me that our buying power is absolutely worth something. We are responsible for the companies and brands we endorse with our dollar, so it is only right to make concerns known as consumers.

What hobbies/organizations/jobs are you included in?

I have been spending most of my time this summer as a Marketing Intern at The PENTA Building Group, a general contractor based in Las Vegas. They do fantastic work and I love the supportive environment they have given me.

At school, I also work for the university's housing department and will be serving as a student manager this year.

  • LMU M-School 2018 Cohort
  • First-to-Go program
  • Delta Sigma Pi member
  • LMU The Learning Community 2017 Cohort
  • Chauffeur for my siblings
  • Occasional pianist

Shaniya's Essay. Would you rather work for someone else in an established company or start your own business and work for yourself? What motivates your choice?

As a Marketing major, great possibilities lie in either working for an established company or starting a brand of my own. However, I would prefer to begin my career working for an established company. I believe this path would prove more beneficial because I could study brands firsthand, practice my hobbies while earning income, and provide for my family through mitigating risk.  

When taking my first few marketing classes, I learned quickly that brand identity and strategy are my passions. Through partnerships with LMU’s Marketing department, I have had the privilege of working directly with brands like TOMS, helping to provide insight to the unique challenges they face. I have also been tasked with creating a completely original brand and launching a semester-long marketing campaign of my own. While working on another brand and starting a new one were both incredible experiences, I excelled more in presenting solutions for brands that already exist. I may choose to start my own marketing consultancy in the future, but this would still require that I develop an exceptional portfolio by working for other brands. 

I also would rather work for an established company because the lines between traditional employment and self-employment are blurring. Hundreds of relatively new platforms like Etsy, Depop, and social networking comprise the “gig economy,” which offers endless ways for people to supplement their main income. I use apps like Depop to sell fashion finds and art commissions for extra income myself. My traditional form of employment and the ever-changing web have allowed me to develop multiple income streams and practice managing my own financial endeavors, whereas launching my own business would demand all of my time and energy into a singular effort.  

Ultimately, my preference for traditional employment is motivated by my family. My father has always dreamed of being an entrepreneur. A few years ago, he ignored the major risks of leaving his secure job at an established company to follow this dream. Unfortunately, he learned the difficult way that risks do not always become rewards. As a result of this mistake, he cannot return to his job and I have now become a breadwinner for my family, replacing just a fraction of my father’s past income. My dad’s optimism always taught me to dream big, but his regrets taught me to never underestimate the risks.  

My ethics professor often says, “You’re Business majors. Your job is to make decisions.” Owning a company will always be a dream of mine, but I want my decisions to be the wisest choices for everyone around me – not necessarily whatever sounds more exciting. Maybe in the future, my expertise and streams of income may support the possibility of starting a business and leaving traditional employment, but that remains too much of a risk for now. Working for a stable income at this stage of my life helps me give my family peace of mind. That motivates me more than anything.