Growth Beyond Capital: How Campus Enterprises Taught Me Real-World Business

During sophomore year, I grew a new venture by 900%. This is my story:

Campus Enterprises
Feb 25, 2016 · 3 min read

As a sophomore, co-directing Maid My Day marked the most challenging, enlightening, and rewarding experience of my Duke career. When my partner Madyn and I took over the young venture, we were highly enthusiastic about positively restructuring and growing the business. After hiring a new staff, meeting with lawyers for contract negotiations, launching a new business model, and dropping off individual flyers at every central campus dorm, we were excited by the momentum we had created. We were paving our own way within the company, and Campus Enterprises gave us total control.

I’ll never forget confidently high-fiving Madyn the night before our first official Monday schedule; we had fifteen appointments confirmed and paid for. Little did we know, the cleaning representatives would fail to arrive in time or respond to our urgent calls. As customer quality complaints began pouring in, we recognized that we had greatly overestimated our own capacity. This was an important moment of self-reflection.

Taking a step back after that first week, Madyn and I strategically rethought our model and methods. Slowly but surely, we began rebuilding a more stable business platform from the bottom up. As with any new start-up, we learned that nothing would ever be perfect the first time. Every hour we dedicated to working on Maid My Day was crucial to the venture’s success. Such motivation and passion was necessary for dealing with a real-world scenario, for our work had tangible effects on both our customers and employees.

Although the business was only three months old when Madyn and I became directors, we were given a remarkable amount of trust. As a result, we learned to be self-sufficient and autonomous in our workflow; balancing each other in what would become a successful and rewarding partnership.

After a year of expanding the fragile and young venture, profits increased by 900 percent. I couldn’t be prouder of the legacy we left behind. Campus Enterprises taught me how to overcome challenges, work in a dynamic partnership, and most importantly, be a real-life entrepreneur.

Meredith and Madyn, on the job.

Each spring, Campus Enterprises recruits exceptional Duke first years with the hope of providing similarly transformative opportunity. If you’re a freshman at Duke interested in anything from finance to design, this could be the experience that changes your life. Apply today.

Campus Enterprises is the student-run company that has powered Duke University’s on-demand economy for the past 21 years. Meredith Creighton is a former Co-Director of Maid My Day and currently serves on the Executive Board as the CFO of Campus Enterprises. In June, Meredith will join Morgan’s Stanley’s Investment Banking Division for the second summer in a row, and she plans to stay involved in CE until she graduates in May 2017

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