Chapman50 Alumni Spotlight: Mike Brown ’06
By Hallie Nicholson / BLOGS.CHAPMAN
Published: November 19, 2013
In this Chapman50 Alumni Spotlight, we meet Mike Brown, B.S. business administration ’06. A young entrepreneur, Mike founded modbargains, a trusted source for performance automotive parts and accessories, as a 19-year-old student at Chapman University. Now the CEO of a thriving business, Mike is giving back and taking an active role in life at Chapman through Chapman50. Read on to learn more about his story and the impact he hopes to make on his alma mater.
What inspired you to become a member of Chapman50?
I have remained active with Chapman University since graduating in 2006, particularly with the entrepreneurship program in the business school. Any time that I have given back by speaking to students in classes, mentoring start-up companies at the new eVillage, or spending time with the entrepreneurship club, I have always felt energized by the exercise of giving back to my alma mater. When I heard that Chapman50 was an opportunity to continue to do that but at an even higher level, I immediately wanted to join and contribute in any way I could to make a difference.
What impact do you hope to make as a member of Chapman50?
My purpose in life is to use my leadership strengths to create love, happiness and prosperity in the world around me. Chapman50 is a great platform that will provide countless opportunities for me to fulfill my purpose. I hope to be involved in the organization of high-level programs that will provide benefits and incentives for high-level students at Chapman who will become the next generation of influential alumni. In addition to helping set up programs, I look forward to the impact I will make through more direct interaction with current students who are seeking mentorship and advice.
Tell us about your career- what do you do on a day to day basis?
I am the co-founder & CEO of modbargains. I founded the company as a 19-year-old business student at Chapman. We are a trusted source for performance automotive parts and accessories. Our 13,000 square foot facility is a destination for automotive enthusiasts driving modern vehicles that are functioning perfectly fine as is, but they want to be more unique by upgrading their wheels, exhaust, lowering the car or adding performance products to increase its horsepower and torque. We have shipped products to over 150 countries and have processed more than 100,000 orders direct to automotive enthusiasts. I am proud of the fact that modbargains is one of few in our industry that maintains extensive inventory, has a physical retail location and performs installations all under one roof.
What insight would you give to current students and alumni who are searching for employment?
Have a clear understanding of yourself and practice communicating WHO you are, not just WHAT you can do. When I interview candidates for positions at modbargains, I am really trying to ask the right questions to learn who the person is at their core. If a candidate doesn’t understand themself, how can I understand them and determine if they will be successful in happy working at my business? Understand your strengths and focus on them. Learn to manage your weaknesses but do not try to turn a weakness into a strength; just manage it by using your natural strengths. Be passionate, enthusiastic, energetic and focused.
What advice do you have for current students who want to make the most out of their time at Chapman?
It’s cliché, but you truly are going to get out what you put into your Chapman experience. Don’t waste the opportunity. Reach out to administrators and leaders at Chapman who have put together amazing programs to help you, educate you and propel you to a higher level. I am amazed by the vast number of new programs on campus that current students can take advantage of that did not even exist when I was a student. The eVillage, where I currently am an Entrepreneur-in-Residence and student mentor, didn’t even exist. Now I am there giving direct advice to students who are starting companies! I wish that existed when I was a student… so don’t take it for granted!
What is your favorite Chapman memory?
Graduating. Seeing the proud expressions on my parents’ faces is something I will never forget.
What was your favorite spot on campus as a student?
The library. In 2 years at Chapman I did about $1.5 million in revenue via the internet on my laptop while sitting in the library between classes.
How has your Chapman degree helped you in your professional and personal life?
Since I have my own business and started that business when I was in school at Chapman, I can’t say that my degree has helped me to get a job. However, it certainly has helped me succeed in my entrepreneurial endeavor. While I was a student, I was taking notes in class about what I could immediately apply to my business, particularly in marketing and accounting. Every year that goes by, Chapman is becoming more and more prestigious. That makes my degree more valuable year over year. When I tell people that I graduated from Chapman, it earns me instant respect with them.
How were you involved on campus during your time as a Chapman student?
I wasn’t involved and I regret that. Get involved if you have the chance! I personally chose not to be involved since I was taking 18 units most semesters as well as operating and growing modbargains, which I started in my 3rd semester. That didn’t leave much time for extra activities. If you have the time, I suggest making it a priority to get involved. It won’t hurt you.
Aside from Chapman50, how else have you been involved with Chapman since graduating?
I am an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the eVillage. That means that I mentor students who are starting their own businesses. I get a lot out of that; it’s really energizing to help them. About four or five times per year I am invited by current professors in the business school to be a guest speaker in their classes, and I have also been invited to speak to the entrepreneurship club a few times.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with the Chapman Family?
If you are a student entrepreneur and ever have any questions, feel free to e-mail me! I’d love to help.
Mike Brown: Now
Mike Brown: Then
Want to get in touch with Mike?
Want to learn more about modbargains?
Founded in late 2012, Chapman50 is an exclusive group designed to connect influential alumni leaders in a university-wide network unlike any other. Comprising fifty founding members under the age of 50, Chapman50 enacts the mission of Chapman University by encouraging alumni leadership and professional development in all fifty states and across the globe. Learn more »
By Hallie Nicholson / BLOGS.CHAPMAN