I fired a woman yesterday. The decision to do so was one of the hardest of my career. She was smart, highly motivated and worked more hours than most of her peers. Why did I do it, you ask? I had to. Someone had to go - it is part of the rules.
A few months ago I was approached by Towson University to serve as the “Donald” for an annual competition called "The Associate" that simulates the hit TV show The Apprentice. In the Towson version, the presenting company offers the winning student a job.
At the time Towson asked me to participate, I had never seen the show, but like many, I was familiar with the tagline, “You’re fired.” In truth, I have little in common with Donald Trump. He owns airplanes; I hate to fly. He's been married 3 times; me just once. He loves New York; I love Maryland. I naively accepted the role thinking it would be fun to exclaim, “You’re fired” to some college student. Man, was I wrong.
There are two main reasons why I accepted the opportunity to portray the “Donald” and give 1st Mariner’s commitment to hire the winning student.
1) 1st Mariner has several Towson University alumni in key positions in our company, so we are familiar with the quality and integrity of the students they produce.
2) We are a local Maryland bank and we look to partner with other institutions that have a vested interest in our marketplace.
Eight students from the College of Business and Economics were selected to compete in "The Associate" competition. They receive no college credit for participating. The students are divided into two teams, and each week a local company presents the teams with a real-life case study. The teams have one week to prepare a detailed presentation outlining a solution to the local company’s case study. The following week the local company selects the team they believe offered the best solution to their question.
It is an extraordinary amount of work to complete in one week and all for no class credit. One person from the losing team is let go from the competition each week until there is one person standing.
If your company is in the market to hire a highly motivated, smart individual who outworks their peers, here's a great place to start.
If you are a company who wants to improve your product awareness, contact the university and ask them to be involved next year. It will benefit your organization tremendously.
Next week B’More Organic, a vibrant Baltimore-based company, will select the team that provides the best solution to their case study. I can’t wait to see the presentations by team Synergy and team Eminence. I know B’more Organic is excited as well. It's reality TV without commercials, and it’s a lot of fun up until that final decision on who has to go is rendered. Hats off to Towson University for creating an event that benefits everyone who participates.