Name: Nick Dodson
Currently living: New York City
Program and graduating class: MBA Class of 2012
Tell us about your experience since graduating from Georgetown:
Since graduating, my wife, Jordan, and I welcomed our firstborn son, Dylan, moved to NYC, I joined Credit Suisse as an Associate in Investment Banking and Jordan and I launched a new socially responsible fashion brand, ZoLa, named after our two rescued dogs that donates 10% of sales to local animal rescue shelters. Needless to say, I’ve been quite busy since graduating from Georgetown and the experience has been great.
What are you currently working on/where are you working?
At CS, I am in the Global Energy Group in the Investment Banking division focused on power, utilities, renewables/alternative energy and project finance. It has been interesting to work on industry-changing deals at the forefront of the U.S. natural gas revolution and be exposed to various segments across the Global Energy industry.
I’m also currently working on building ZoLa - which includes everything from building the brand, marketing/promotions, strategic partnerships to operations, sourcing and product development. Recently, I’ve been very focused on building partnerships with various animal rescue organizations and other key influencers in the fashion and animal rescue community to build brand awareness and enhance our social impact
We recently officially launched ZoLa in August after completing a successful crowdfunding campaign through Indiegogo - nearly 200 backers pledged over $14,000 to help us launch and Georgetown affiliated backers comprised roughly 25%! Through our Be Awear social mission, we have partnered with Washington Humane Society and Lucky Dog Animal Rescue in Washington, D.C. and Long Island Bulldog Rescue and Brooklyn Animal Resource Coalition in New York. We’ve been in discussions with several other organizations and look forward to adding more partners as we build our Guiding Coalition of animal rescue partners to expand awareness for animal welfare/rescue causes. In addition, we have already donated over $1,000 to our animal rescue partner organizations. Launching ZoLa and managing different aspects of the business has been both a challenge and an exhilarating experience - I continue to learn new things every day.
What is your advice for current Georgetown students as they graduate and move into the business world?
Don’t be afraid to fail. Challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone and do things you have not done before – you will be amazed by the results either good or bad. Mistakes/failures early in your career are valuable learning experiences and less costly than mistakes later in your career. I am a firm believer in John Wooden’s saying that “If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything.”
What is your favorite memory from Georgetown?
My favorite memory from Georgetown was my Global Residency experience in Barcelona. First and foremost, Barcelona is an amazing city and Georgetown’s connections there are second to none. Being able to spend a full week abroad with close friends and classmates was an incredible experience.
Our client for our Global Residency consulting project was Grupo Codorniu, one of the oldest family-owned wine companies in the world and the market leader in Cava in Spain. Our project centered on developing an online sales/marketing strategy and plan for the Company and its portfolio of premium wines. This project introduced me to the intricacies of building brand awareness and generating sales in the online world for a luxury goods and consumer products company. With limited experience in Spanish wines and online sales/marketing in Spain, we came together as a team to do our due diligence and prepare a high quality plan and presentation that was well received by our client.
This experience and project laid the foundation and framework for the online sales/marketing strategy that we have been using at ZoLa. With limited background in the fashion industry and marketing, we have applied many of the same tactics and strategies that we developed for Grupo Codorniu to help build the ZoLa brand, generate awareness and sales online.
ZoLa was conceived and developed in several of my courses and represents the culmination of my transformative experience as an MBA student at Georgetown. Coming from a finance background, my Georgetown experience equipped me with the skills and abilities to comfortably and effectively manage all aspects of the business from new product development, supply chain management and operations to sales, marketing and strategic partnerships. As a proud Hoya alum, choosing an English Bulldog as the logo for ZoLa’s inaugural Underdog Polo Shirt collection was my way of honoring the institution that inspired ZoLa.
We’re offering special discounts for the Georgetown community, use promo code: HOYASAXA40 for 40% off all orders at www.wearzola.com.