Preston Luman, Sports Clips owner
Being an entrepreneur wasn't originally on Preston Luman's career path. Equipped with an accounting degree from Baylor University, he had etched a successful career in finance and operations that led him to executive positions at a number of corporations. He was doing well, but the idea of attaining an MBA degree to expand his business acumen had always tempted him. He just didn't know when or how he'd do it.
"With a demanding corporate job, I wasn't sure that there was any way I could successfully complete an MBA," says Luman.
It took a moment of reflection - what he was doing then and where he'd go next- for Luman to decide to see if pursuing an MBA program would actually be feasible. "I checked into the possibilities at the University and discovered the Carlson Executive MBA (CEMBA) program. I was convinced it was a first-class organization, and the more I learned, the more my certainty and excitement grew."
He enrolled, and after graduating from the CEMBA program in 1999, Luman found himself equipped with a "comprehensive business toolbox" and a desire to pursue a new career path.
"CEMBA gave me the foundation from which to pursue a more entrepreneurial career," says Luman. "The education filled in the holes of my single dimension functional focus, and the rigorous academics in the structured but flexible program challenged my decision-making process."
Simply put, "CEMBA gave me confidence!" he says.
Soon after graduating, Luman felt empowered enough to venture outside of his familiar corporate world. He started with an Internet startup company. Thanks to a tip from a fellow CEMBA classmate, his next move was to a medical device company.
When the prospect of becoming the first franchisee-owner of a uniquely themed hair salon in Minnesota came to his attention, Luman knew it was his chance to realize his entrepreneurial ambitions. He jumped at the opportunity.
Today, Luman is the owner (or team leader) of not one but two Sport Clips salons in the Twin Cities - one in Bloomington, one in Eagan, with a third location in Eden Prairie forthcoming. The salons cater to the male population and offer not only haircuts, but also an energized atmosphere replete with TVs locked on sports programs and authentic sports memorabilia hanging from the walls and ceiling. In Luman's Bloomington salon hangs his proudest piece: the U of M's Williams Arena scoreboard from the 1960's/70's era.
As team leader, Luman oversees his businesses on a daily basis. Among his many duties, he has especially enjoyed the marketing aspect of the business; a function he learned in CEMBA. "We had no brand recognition whatsoever," he says of the early days of starting his first location. By implementing a strong marketing plan and becoming involved in the local community, he has built brand awareness and found success in attracting and maintaining clients.
Those at Sport Clips headquarters took notice of his positive results, inviting him to sit on the marketing panel at the company's most recent annual convention. "It has been absolutely rewarding to have success in an area that I have never been able to participate to the extent I was capable, and be recognized by peers as a result," says Luman.
That wasn't all that was noticed by headquarters. Luman's overall stellar efforts at both his salons earned him 2009 runner-up Rookie Team Leader of the Year honors.
"I am in the midst of building something that continues to get me up every morning," Luman says of running his Sport Clips locations. He credits CEMBA for transforming his career, "I truly believe you never get too old to learn something new. In my opinion, CEMBA is a case-in-point for this belief."