MBA Gives Harris Confidence to Launch Business
People say timing is everything, but Stanley Harris doesn’t buy it. He doesn’t wait for the stars to align, for a sign or the perfect moment to make the next move.
Despite lingering concerns about the economic recovery, Harris recently ambitiously launched Mint Ventures LLC, an import/export and real estate business. He earned a master’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in international business from the University of St. Thomas Cameron School of Business in May.
“There are a lot of ups and downs, but it took the confidence of earning a University of St. Thomas MBA to convince me that now is the time,” Harris said. “There is no perfect situation, no perfect moment to do anything. Although people think it is crazy to start a business during the worst economic time since the Great Depression, I felt there is no better time, no better moment than now.”
Harris said his goal to someday earn an MBA and own his own business was originally inspired by watching his mother, Jennifer Lenora Cauley, put herself through undergraduate and graduate school.
“My mother was the first person in her family to get a college degree,” Harris said. “She set the bar high; It’s all about changing your family tree. You can change your family dynamic with education. I’m the first male in family to graduate from college, and the first male to get an MBA. When I have kids, they will know they have to meet or exceed what has been done before them.”
Determined to fund his college education, Harris departed for Marine Corp Reserves boot camp before his high school graduation from Cypress Springs High School. Two weeks after he completed boot camp, the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001 set a new course for his future.
A six- year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corp Reserves, Harris served in Iraq (Operation Iraq Freedom) and participated in the historical Iraq Vote of 2005. His contributions to our country have been recognized by the government and Harris has received service medals for the Global War on Terrorism, Iraq Campaign, and National Defense. After returning from service, he earned a Bachelor of Business Administration-Finance from Prairie View A&M University.
A friend from the Marines, Gilbert Trevino, alerted Harris to a job opening in accounting at Arch-Con Corporation. Michael Scheurich, a 1999 UST alumnus and president of Arch-Con Corporation, took Harris under his wing. As Harris contemplated his options for local MBA programs, Scheurich suggested he explore UST.
“There is a strong network of alumni at the Cameron School of Business, and they project a lot of pride about the school in the community. One of the main reasons why I came here was because of Michael’s recommendation.
“Michael is a very dynamic, motivational, charismatic leader. He was a very great mentor, we still continue to have a good friendship even though I am pursuing my own dreams,” Stanley said. “When I first started working at Arch-Con, I was 22, and Michael taught me the business culture, business development and marketing. My success is attributed not only to UST, but to Michael’s leadership.”
While on a UST MBA study trip to Prague, Harris’ lifelong dream of owning his own business suddenly became vividly clear. The study abroad experience planted the seed for Mint Ventures.
“When I was in Prague, we met with several international companies and many interesting people, I concluded that I wanted to start my own international business,” Harris said. “Because of the way the economy is structured, I want to tailor my business to meet the needs of the global consumer.”
In addition to the influential study abroad program, Stanley commended Cameron’s School of Business emerging focus on entrepreneurship.
“Entrepreneurship is important, Universities often push students to get involved in the corporate culture, but for many others, owning one’s own business is a better fit,” Harris said. “UST recognized the wisdom in implementing programs that foster and develop future entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurial spirit of the people is what makes this nation great.”
Looking back at the obstacles he overcame to achieve his current success, Harris said he wouldn’t change a thing.
“They never said it was going to be easy – working two jobs, joining the military to pay my way through undergraduate school, working full time while pursuing my MBA and starting my own business – it’s all been about building character. All of my experiences have prepared me for what lies ahead, which is taking on the monumental, audacious task of making the business I have started – great!”