He turned campus tees into cash and a career

Did anyone else join a bunch of organizations or attend basketball games freshmen year in hopes of gaining some free t-shits? Well, I was a T-shirt acquiring fiend. But I never thought about the people responsible for those T-shirts. Mike Biro, a '09 grad from Ohio University, was involved in the campus T-shirt buying process as student and upon graduation, in their selling. Biro now works with University Tees. The company does screen printing, embroidery and promotional products and can be found on 150 campuses with a student campus manager on each. Money College caught up with Biro to hear how he went from buying tees for his fraternity to managing the students responsible for selling them.

Money College: Can you describe how you first got involved with University Tees?

Mike Biro: I was first involved with University Tees when I was in college and my social fraternity (Pi Kappa Alpha) was looking to place an order for recruitment shirts. I remembered I had a friend in my business fraternity (Delta Sigma Pi) who worked for a customized apparel company. I spoke to her about getting shirts and she was very helpful and had great passion for her job. Needless to say, we continued to work with her until she graduated.

MC: At what point did you know that you were going to be working with the company after graduation and what was your reaction?

MB: I was actually planning on working with Wells Fargo Investments upon graduation, but with the performance of the economy, my offer was retracted. I applied for the Business Development Leader position in March of my senior year and had a few interviews before being offered the position. My feelings were ecstatic to say the least! I found a job that I felt was an absolute perfect-fit.

MC: What were you studying in school and did this work relate to that?

MB: I was a finance and business pre-law double major. The combination of being a business major and obtaining different internships with venture capitalists and corporations in Northeast Ohio helped immensely with providing me the entrepreneurial attitude needed in order to succeed with any commission based job.

MC: What is the nature of the work that a campus manager does?

MB: The campus managers will network with student organizations, create and implement marketing campaigns and facilitate sales of custom apparel on campus. They'll hold meetings, distribute marketing materials, receive orders and help create t-shirts in conjunction with our team of designers.

MC: Tell us about the work that you're doing now and how that differs from the work of the Campus Manager?

MB:. Today, I'm a Business Development Leader, the direct manager to the Campus Manager. My duties include recruiting, hiring, and training of new campus managers. On a daily basis, my job is to motivate, encourage, and be a resource to our Campus Managers to help them reach their maximum potential.

MC: How does this work compare to what your other students may do in their on campus jobs?

MB: The Campus Manager position is for one school year, so you begin in the late summer, but once you're hired, you have the option to begin working immediately after completing training. Your typical campus job gets $6 per hour at ten hours per week for 30 weeks [which] equals $1,800 per year. If you sell $45,000 -- the top half of our campuses averaged this last year -- and work 15 hours per week for 30 weeks, you make approximately $15 per hour. Your pay is 100% commission based, so what you put in is what you get out. Selling $45,000 worth of apparel means you make $6,750 for the school year. Not a bad part-time job right?

MC: What skills has working with this company helped you develop?

MB: My time management skills have become unbelievable. In addition, I've never been a shy person, and this helps when trying to obtain new contacts. Prospecting can be a bit frightening, but if you understand and believe in the products and services you are offering, there's no fear or hesitation with putting your guard down because you believe in yourself and your company, and you know you're the best option out there.

MC: Why should students consider a job like this on campus?

MB: With this position, you'll receive benefits both now and in the future. Your time management skills will be outstanding and the hands-on experience you'll receive with marketing, sales and project management will make you an outstanding applicant for any position. This is a position that looks incredible on a resume, and throughout the process, you'll build relationships with customers who can help expand your network for future ventures.

So next time, you buy another university T-shirt to add to your already stuffed dorm room dresser, consider a job on the selling side, as Mike Biro did. Your drawers and your wallet will thank you.

Clothes to Free, appearing Thursdays, is a weekly fashion-on-a-budget column by Money College blogger Alysse Dalessandro. Send Alysse column tips at MoneyCollege@walletpop.com.