Blog / Refuse To Be Average

Refuse To Be Average

Article seen in Bloomberg, Businessweek, Fortune, and Money

Since 1868, extraordinary college students from around the world have developed people skills, come to understand their strengths and weaknesses, experienced what it means to work without guarantees, and become employable – forever.

Many college students look for standard summer jobs and internships to put on their resumes or make a little spending money. But that’s not what they’ll find at Southwestern Advantage®.

“We’re looking for young people from all majors who have incredibly high goals. We then give them a track to run on, which—if they apply themselves—will develop in them the skills and character needed to achieve those goals. We give them the opportunity to succeed, usually by first falling at on their faces repeatedly,” says President Dan Moore, who joined Southwestern Advantage as a Harvard freshman in 1974 and has never worked anywhere else. “It’s more than a j-o-b. It’s a y-o-b: Your Own Business.”

Students who are up for the challenge spend their summer break in an unfamiliar location. There, they build their own businesses by direct-selling print and online products—developed by professional educators — to families who want to give their children an academic edge.

“College students are experts in education because they have lived it for at least the past 12 years. Our best performers care as much about helping families as the families do about helping their kids,” says Moore. Returning participants learn to recruit and lead teams through the experience in future summers.


For nearly 150 years, Southwestern Advantage has equipped students with personal and workplace skills that translate into future success. “Employers today seek to hire graduates who can contribute to the organization immediately. In the best roles, there isn’t much room for those who feel ‘entitled,’ but there’s a lot of room for people who can hit the ground running. This program embeds that ability in young people,” says Moore.

This experiential education goes beyond what can be taught in a classroom and delivers top attributes employers look for, including leadership, teamwork, problem-solving skills, verbal communication, strong work ethic, initiative, flexibility and adaptability, and interpersonal skills.*


The Southwestern Advantage program is presented to tens of thousands of undergrads each year, but only a small percentage has the self-confidence to take on the challenge. A careful selection process ensures the program is “right for the student, and the student is right for the program,” says Moore.

As with every sole proprietor’s small business—with no floor or ceiling when it comes to potential pro t—discipline and attitude are proficiencies that must be quickly developed and applied. The most successful students stay the course, work hard, prepare thoroughly, bring an attitude of service to others, and remain highly coachable.


“A summer opportunity can lead to a full and diversely interesting career with Southwestern Advantage, as it did for me,” says Moore. Other career paths within the Southwestern Family of Companies include investment advising, residential real estate, sales improvement consulting, professional fundraising, and offering nutritious, all-natural herbs, spices, and infused oils to families. The common thread? A rewarding, one-to-one effort focused on helping people achieve their goals.

And the first step is in the summer.


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