This blog regularly profiles students at the Argyros School of Business and Economics. This week, we talk to Scott Shaffstall, who was awarded the “Tomorrow’s Leader” scholarship this year.
A: Scott Duane Shaffstall
Program here at the Argyros School of Business and Economics (ASBE):
A: Rancho Santa Margarita, California
Emphasis at ASBE:
A: BA in English Journalism, History Minor
A: Chapman University
Undergraduate Graduation Year:
Work Experience (Years and Description):
A: I’ve been involved in public relations for five years, representing Fortune 500’s, green-tech startups, hospitality and leisure firms. My clients varied from CKE Restaurant Group (Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s) and Ketel One Vodka to Pinkberry and Zero Motorcycles.
In 2010, I co-founded an aftermarket powersports company,
, with a newly-patented safety flag mount for dirt bikes and ATVs. The positive response has allowed us to expand so far into eight states, with more growth planned throughout 2013 and beyond.
At the same time that project was launching, I was gaining broad-based perspectives managing mainstream communications for the Motorcycle Industry Council in Irvine, the national non-profit trade association which represents the U.S. powersports industry. The ability to step back from specific products for a time and analyze the macro-trends continues to provide me with valuable insight.
In 2012, I joined the team at
Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A.
, where I oversee all mainstream media outreach for the four-wheel, two-wheel, watercraft and accessory divisions. There’s never a dull moment riding on and writing about world-class vehicles, whether on city streets, desert racetracks, forest trails or the open ocean.
Are you involved in any Chapman Activities/ Organizations (i.e., MBA Association)? If so, please describe your involvement?
A: The Chapman MBA project for our class is just beginning to get off the ground, and I am looking forward to seeing what direction we ultimately decide on pursuing. My marketing team has just applied for an application to the E-village on a new app we are developing so we are hopeful to become more involved with that resource. I’ve also been getting more involved with the Chapman Entrepreneur Club, which is a great place for students of any background to meet peers willing to share amazing experiences on the road to financial independence.
What do you do for fun? What are Your Hobbies (On Campus, Off Campus):
A: I enjoy riding my motorcycles, on- and off-road, as well as hiking, rock climbing, doing yoga and CrossFit, painting, sketching, reading and occasionally writing. I’m also a news junky, since I figure staying informed is the only way our generation is going to be able to facilitate viable change in our future.
Why did you choose the Argyros School of Business and Economics (ASBE)?
A: It’s no secret that Chapman University gives students access to some of the best professors and most engaging curriculum in the most ideal location in Southern California and the region. Although it’s been said before, the attention that Chapman pays to each of its students and the opportunities presented to us are things that are not easily matched at other institutions. There’s a reason my classmates choose to come to study at ASBE from all over the world. Having already had a top-notch undergraduate experience, it made sense to continue my MBA at the school which has already given me so much. In addition, almost all major international powersports companies are based in Orange County and surrounding areas, so it was logical to remain close to the hub of my industry.
Favorite business course so far and why?
A: Marketing, which I am currently enrolled in, followed by economics – the theory behind what drives people to desire something (and how to fulfill it) paired with the realistic dynamics of even the most advanced supply chains. That said: I never, ever like mathematics. It’s one of the reasons I majored in English. But the business statistics class I just completed was actually engaging and relevant. Never in 1,000 years did I think I’d say that.
What are your favorite parts of the MBA experience so far and why?
A: I think the best part is simply meeting people from so many different professions and backgrounds. Both the professors and students have unique stories to tell and can bring something to the table to enliven the classroom. There is an extremely rich cross-section of our world in the rooms of Beckman Hall.
In a broader sense, I appreciate that the Flex MBA does not overwhelm my work commitments. Its schedule allows me to immediately take what I learn in the classroom and apply it to both my young company and one of the largest motorcycle manufacturers in the world.
Please discuss an activity you’ve been involved in (does not have to be MBA related) during your time as an MBA. Why is it important to you?
A: For the past few months, in addition to my two full-time jobs, I have done some freelance work analyzing the competiveness of new products focusing on body armor, which could result in some breakthrough technologies coming to market in the next few years. The technologies being adopted, the materials being used and the ability to learn from what is already occurring in nature in the cells of the smallest, most unexpected creatures will, I think, make riders across the world much safer and push a non-traditional demographic which has historically been afraid of injury to participate in our sport. If it comes to fruition, this could change everything people think about when the word ‘motorcycle’ is brought up.
What are your career goals?
A: I hope to continue expanding my company’s presence across the country, reaching into new markets and growing our product lines with some new ideas we currently have in the works. When the timing is right, I hope to expand into overseas markets while keeping my manufacturing here in the U.S., doing my small part to ensure a few more of our skilled machinists remain meaningfully employed. Making things is one of the fundamentals that made this country great. There is nothing like holding something tangible in your hands that you created.
Perhaps it isn’t surprising with a major in journalism that I also want to continue writing on a freelance basis. Writing is a necessity for me; I don’t think that will ever stop being the case.
What are your plans after ASBE?
A: My plans are to continue growing and learning, applying the skills learned through ASBE with the contacts developed here to grow my company and help others grow theirs. I plan to take some time for international travel to gain an on-the-ground perspective of our global future and direction. You never know what opportunities are going to present themselves, or where they will come from.
Favorite OC Restaurants:
A: Mozambique’s, Chapter One, Bruxie, You and I Sushi, Chipotle, In-N-Out and quite a few others I’m sure I’ve enjoyed and forgotten.
Favorite OC Spots:
A: Holy Jim and Black Star Canyons for hiking, CorePower Yoga to get my Zen on and the ridiculously gorgeous hidden beach wedged between Thousand Steps and Table Rock in Laguna. It’s definitely worth the trek and the possibility of getting drenched. Of course, riding my bike through Trabuco Canyon or along PCH at sunset is how I get my daily two-wheel fix.