Keeping yourself knowledgeable in your field and up to date on the people who are also in your industry is an important part of learning while in the working world. James Fayal, founder of Zest Tea, feels the best advice for business management students is to surround yourself with individuals who are open to sharing their own experiences.

(Photo Courtesy of James Fayal)

(Photo Courtesy of James Fayal)

What is your background in management?

“I founded my own company, Zest Tea. We make a line of premium energy blends. I have had to manage a variety of freelancers and employees that work directly with me. Management is about delegation and managing the firm’s direction. You need to give employees the space to be autonomous and prove their worth. I often ‘manage from afar.’ Once I feel comfortable with their abilities, I let them run completely autonomously.”

After graduation, how hard was it to transition to the actual working world?

“The transition from school to the working world can be extremely challenging. Your life no longer follows a beaten path. You control the direction of your own life and career. This can also be an exciting transition.”

How has your education fueled your management success?

“At the University of Maryland, I learned many of the traditional management skills that have been helpful in the working world. In the business school, I worked on a lot of team-based projects. This helped me learn when I should slip into a management role and when I should be a role player on a team. This is important in the working world because sometimes you need to step up to the plate and manage the team and sometimes you need to listen to others.”

What advice would you give someone coming out of college right now and looking for a career in business management?

“Be reflective, not only of your own experiences, but those of the people around. It’s easy to finish a project or assignment and push it out of your head, but your learning will quickly plateau. Surrounding yourself with candid individuals who are willing to talk about their own experiences will accelerate your experiential learning.”

Christina Thompson is a freelance writer living in Philadelphia. Her work can be found at

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