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Alumni Answers: Aaron Fazulak

Wednesday, August 24 2016 12:00am

From student to successful entrepreneur

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Alumni: Aaron Fazulak

Current roles: Co-founder and chief executive officer at DESIGNATION Labs

Home base: Chicago, Ill.

The road to success wasn’t always easy for Aaron Fazulak, ‘11 alumnus and co-founder and chief executive officer at DESIGNATION Labs. But it sure was worth it.

Fazulak was first exposed to entrepreneurship during a six-week trip to Hungary as part of the Global Consulting Program (GCP). “I learned what entrepreneurship can provide for you as far as problem solving, challenge, and the reward,” he said. From then on, he was hooked.

Even while working in forensic accounting at EY, Fazulak pursued entrepreneurship in his spare time. “I would do online coding and tutorials after work to learn as much about technology as possible,” he explained.

Fazulak learned more about the foundational aspects of entrepreneurship by starting a lacrosse company. That experience primed him to succeed in his next venture: DESIGNATION Labs.

The business is an 18-week coding boot camp, with an emphasis on design—and it’s known as the best design school in alternative education.

“We found a niche that other companies have tried but failed at,” said Fazulak. “We’re dedicated to providing a great learning environment, and do so by focusing on a combination of online and in-person learning, applied learning—which I learned about from the Cluster—and diversity.”

According to Fazulak, diverse classes see the most success post-program. For example, one cohort had an individual with 40 years of experience in the creative design industry who wanted to learn more about digital skills. And, they also had a 24-year-old with a psychology degree who was searching for a job.

“That mix is magical because you have someone incredibly focused and professional, and then someone out of school who feels like they can tackle anything,” he explained.

Learn more about DESIGNATION Labs online

- Potpourri –

Pressing questions for Fazulak

What’s the most exciting part of your job?

“I really enjoy the excitement in being a driving force behind something that’s changing people’s lives. A lot of our students are unemployed, and we’re able to retool them with the skills and get them a job with an average starting salary of $65,000. To be able to affect more than 300 lives in under two years has been an amazing experience. It’s a thrill unlike any other.”

What advice do you have for students?

“Enjoy your time at college, but make sure you’re using it as a time to learn. Everyone can be a creator. Get started now, because as you get older, your ability to learn new concepts deteriorates. If you have a friend who knows how to code, ask if they can teach you. Try to learn with them and build something.”

Why do you continue to support and stay involved with OHIO’s College of Business? 

“Staying in touch with faculty members and Dean Sherman provided a system of accountability. My way of showing appreciation to them was sharing good news with them every six to 12 months. Staying in touch is really important because they get to see that when you engage and leverage the resources that are given to you, you can be successful.”