Student Spotlight: Leif Clark

Most Mike Ilitch School of Business students take what they learn in the classroom and apply it to their careers after graduation, but MBA student Leif Clark got a much earlier start, launching his first business when he was just 17.

Now a junior in the Mike Ilitch School of Business accelerated MBA program (AGRADE) with a focus on entrepreneurship and innovation, Clark is also a B-Start student, DTE Energy employee, Wayne State Honors student, and member of Beta Gamma Sigma and Phi Theta Kappa. When not participating on campus, he also runs two successful business, in part due to Mike Ilitch School of Business entrepreneurship classes.

“The businesses are a great motivator for school,” he said. “It helps to be able to apply what is being taught in class to a personal example rather than just something out of a textbook.”

His first business, Ericson Mint LLC, has been a successful pursuit, with some of its branded products carried by the world’s largest online precious metals retailer, the American Precious Metals Exchange.

His latest business venture, On Guard! LLC, simplifies finding accredited lifeguards for private events.

“I have been a lifeguard for the past 5 years, and have occasionally been asked to guard a backyard pool or pond for a graduation party,” he said. “After further research, I discovered lifeguard service providers based in other states, but no major competition in Michigan aside from freelance guards on Craigslist. I was able to take ideas from these other companies and tailor it to Michigan.”

The company covers Macomb, Oakland, St. Clair, Lapeer, Wayne and Washtenaw counties, and it provided about 100 hours of service in 2017, though Clark anticipates that number will grow in the coming years.

“On Guard LLC has been a learning experience for me from day one. When establishing the company, I reasoned with myself that startup costs would be about the same price as a college class, and I knew that whether the company succeeded or failed, the experience gained would be well worth the investment,” he said. “I am excited to hit the ground running in 2018 with a larger promotional budget and see where the company takes me.”