Donald Trump My Unlikely Mentor
How Donald Trump helped me go from homeless to thinking BIG and Kicking Ass in Education and Business.
Someone on Facebook just asked me why did I continually go to college for 12 years?
Why did I pay with my time and money to go to Harvard, Stanford, Cornell, and why did I get my MBA in Finance when I was already doing great and my Businesses were making money?
Simple (Sort of).
Mentored by Trump
It was 2005 and I was 21 years old, still trying to figure out what to do with my life, had just moved out east and was homeless sleeping on a baseball diamond in Philadelphia PA., I took the NJ Transit into New York City (1 HR), and went to a real estate convention where I heard Mr. Donald Trump speak.
After he was done with his presentation, we got to talking and laughing together and he had me tag along with him as he talked to others at the Jacob Javits convention center (Yes, the same place Hillary lost on election night in 2016).
I had a feeling at that moment that I was on the right path, and although Mr. Trump gave me a lot of good advice that night, and again when we met up months later at another event, the thing that really stuck with me was when he said this:
“Brandon, you need to really think BIG, develop your plan, and never ever give up.”
Think BIG and get that Education
Part of my big plan was to get as much education as possible from the best schools I could, no matter what.
I grew up very poor and I battled dyslexia growing up and was generally slower than other kids my age. I knew education was one of the keys to my personal plan if I was to do all the other BIG things I had planned.
As I went on and completed my bachelor’s degree at Thomas Edison State University, I was already doing well as a salesman selling electrical wire & cable (Using some techniques Mr. Trump taught me to get my first job).
As I continued to do well, I then moved on and started my own company doing consulting, as well as moving up in the Wire & Cable world to positions that gave me more freedom.
I could have stopped there, however, I still stuck to my plan, and like Mr. Trump said, never ever gave up. While I continued to excel in business I never lost touch with that drive to continually improve myself through education. I went on to complete Graduate Level Professional Certificate programs at Cornell University, Stanford University, and Harvard University, and then completed my Masters of Business Administration at Patten University.
Three keys to continuing my Education
I knew that there were three BIG things to be gained from formal education for me personally:
- Keys to open new doors
- Techniques and Skills I didn’t currently possess.
- Relationships with other high achieving people.
Just using three points listed above paid for my education over and over again just this year alone. Why? Because every single educational program I targeted helped me build upon my personal Brand.
Mastering my personal Brand to add more value
I may have gone to school longer than your typical doctor, but because I have so many areas I need to excel in for my stakeholders I want to essentially be a doctor of each area! I want to offer tremendous value to my customers and the people who choose to work with me. I want Brand Jonseck, Inc. to be as good as it can be. Continuing my education really helped me do that.
- Completing the Executive Leadership Graduate Level Professional Certificate program at Cornell University truly helped me to manage and lead people. I use techniques and strategies from this invaluable program every day in business.
- As I was living and working in California I completed a Graduate Level Professional Certificate program in Engineering at Stanford University that directly relates to my work in both the wire & cable industry, as well as the consulting field. Specifically, I have used the knowledge learned from battery technology and photovoltaic systems nearly every day since completing the program.
- Up next was learning all about sustainability at Harvard University. What I planned to just be a few courses improving my abilities in renewable energy, really turned into an enjoyable experience learning a lot and meeting many fantastic people. I then shifted my focus and began studying business strategy to further improve the value I can offer my stakeholders. Eventually, setting my sights on and achieving a Graduate Level Professional Certificate program in Strategic Management. Having a residency at Harvard was difficult while running multiple businesses, but studying side by side in class and continuing my education with other executives was invaluable. I got the chance to forge relationships with leaders of some of the largest corporations in the world as well as multiple FBI agents. It was such a fantastic experience that I will have fond memories of it for the rest of my life. Just the relationships alone that I developed while at Harvard were worth the money and the 3 years spent working towards a goal.
- Finally, because my wife was offered a scholarship by Patten University to pursue her MBA after being picked as “Outstanding Graduate” from more than 20 Million students by the Department of Education and the DEAC, I decided to transfer in some of my Harvard Business courses that I’d been working so hard on over the past 3 years to do the MBA program alongside her. I knew that after adding skills from Executive Leadership, Engineering, Sustainability, and Strategic Business Management to my acumen, compiling enough graduate credits along the way for two Masters Degrees, that an MBA in Finance would be the next best move to help me help my stakeholders. It’s important to note, I use the skills developed in my MBA in Finance program every day in consulting. How? Writing 50-page case study analysis reports in finance helped me improve the case study analysis reports I write for my clients at BJCG. This was a skill that is directly transferable from the world of education to the world of business. Those improvements alone are worth their weight in gold.
I can promise you the cost of the education and the many years spent toiling away on my lunch hour and in the evening, living on campus or having to make special arrangements with instructors to allow me to still manage my business while going to school, and generally putting myself through the hell was well worth it.
Overcoming Obstacles and how education prepared me for the job
I am now a master of overcoming obstacles. Nothing in consulting can shake me. I just had a Fortune 500 client come to me who needed a project submitted within 24 hours which would typically take a company a week to complete, I worked my ass off with my team and we got it done. You know who prepared me to be able to do that?
My professor at Harvard who refused to give me an A and would fail me if my project wasn’t in by a specific time. The client was easy. The professor who graded everything I submitted as an 89.6 and refused to round up my score made sure of that. You know who made sure I kept on pushing through those obstacles? Me.
You know whom I credit for a big part of my motivation? A younger (In his late 50’s) Donald J. Trump.
Love it or hate it, I literally went from homeless to Harvard, and from a 21-year-old with nearly nothing to owning multiple successful businesses using a lot of advice from the man who is now President of the United States. He probably doesn’t even remember me, but I’ll never forget what he did for me. I was just a punk kid sleeping in the grass and trying to find my way in this world and he didn’t have to take time with me and help me. For that, I will be forever grateful.
Stick with your education
College is truly invaluable, even for people who are street smart entrepreneurs. Even the mega-billionaires like Zuckerberg and Gates talk about how influential college was in their personal development (they just developed faster).
If you are currently going to school, know someone who is, or are thinking about going back this fall shoot me a message or comment here and maybe we can talk about some tricks and tips to save you a few $ and help you navigate the system.
If you think formal education is bullshit tell me about it. I also think anyone with the motivation and desire can use open courseware and a little thing called “Google” to get educated.
I took 10 minutes to type this up and share a little about my life because I thought it was important to answer those questions from my friend on Facebook. Maybe people will attack me for saying anything positive about Mr. Trump. Maybe they will say my credentials are not good enough, and that I am not worthy for many reasons… It doesn’t matter.
- I’m not homeless
- I help a lot of people
- I add tremendous value to the world
- I will tell anyone who asks my story. It’s a good one, don’t you think?
Please take 10 seconds to like this and send me a comment. Thanks.