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Student's book on college success gains praise from CEOs

February 13, 2017

Written by Alyssa Langer   |  Photos by Craig Schreiner

Gee, FongBrandon Fong, center, is shown with Dave Gee, left, who co-directs Launch Pad, a student startup accelerator program, and teaches entrepreneurship at UW-Whitewater, on October 7, 2015 at a Whitewater University Innovation Center program.

UW-Whitewater student Brandon Fong is hoping to help students everywhere make the most of the college experience.

Juggling everything — succeeding academically, participating in student organizations, studying abroad, maintaining physical and mental health and experiencing new things — can be a challenge.

Fong, an entrepreneurship and marketing major, lays out the groundwork to success in his newly published book, "Leverage: Escape the College Rat Race, Design the Life You Want, and Take the Real World by Storm."

"It's a book that serves as a guidebook and reference point for students to help them stand out from the ‘sea of average,'" said Fong.

His book has already received glowing reviews from nationally known entrepreneurs and CEOs, including Kevin Harrington from ABC's "Shark Tank," and Aaron Kennedy, the Founder of Noodles & Company.

In his book, Fong lays out different tactics, strategies and resources that students can use to leverage their opportunities. Fong talks about his experiences with studying abroad and best networking practices as tools for success. Not only is this book helpful for creating the best college experience, Fong says, it equips students with the tools to take on the postgraduate world.

"It's not a college survival guide, but this is really applicable to real life too. I know the strategies are universal," said Fong.

Writing and publishing a book as a double major is not an easy task, so Fong reached out to a network around him for feedback and guidance, including Dave Gee, UW-Whitewater lecturer in management and adviser of the campus Collegiate Entrepreneurs' Organization.

Fong and peersBrandon Fong, right, with CEO and Launch Pad students at the Whitewater University Innovation Center on October 7, 2015.

"He is an incredibly effective networker, he's probably the best networker that I have had in my last 14 years of teaching," Gee said. "One of the things that he did is go out to the people. He worked with Jeff Hoffman, the founder of Priceline and Kevin Harrington from "Shark Tank." He went out and talked to best-in-breed people."

Fong attributes his leadership skills to being a part of CEO at UW-Whitewater and the mentorship from faculty like Gee.

"He gave me the opportunity in CEO my freshman year. He made sure he provided me with the resources and helped me out," said Fong.

Fong continues as a student, writer and blogger as he studies abroad at Jönköping University in Sweden.

"You can make anything into an opportunity if you can look at it the right way," said Fong.