Jet Journal

Scholarship Winner | Shaniya Epps

Estimated Read Time: 4 minutes


The Jet Future Business Leaders Scholarship launched for the first time this year, which is offered to students entering into the business world upon college graduation. Eight finalists were chosen by the Jet team, but the public got to vote on their favorite essay to select the winner.

The essay finalist chosen to win the $500 award was Shaniya Epps, a senior at Loyola Marymount University. The prompt Shaniya eloquently addressed was whether she would rather work for an established company or start her own. She explained why working for an established company would be more beneficial for her at first so she is able to practice her hobbies while earning income to provide for her family.

Upon graduation, Shaniya has a Marketing Coordinator job lined up with the company she currently interns for, The PENTA Building Group. She plans to also practice photography and videography to be able to do freelance work on the side. It is important for Epps to remain creative in her life after graduation.

Shaniya's advice for anyone pursuing a career in business is "My biggest piece of advice for prospective business students/workers is to reflect heavily on your motivations and desires, and be viciously honest with yourself about what you want and why you want it. It's totally okay if money or status is your motivator -- and it's okay if they're not! The best thing you can do is give yourself transparency. It will make your dreams much easier to identify, more exciting, and a lot less difficult to map out. The first step to becoming the best version of yourself is knowing who you actually are!"

If you know of a future businessperson entering or currently attending college/university, encourage them to apply to our current Jet Future Business Leaders Scholarship at

Read Shaniya's essay below:

As a Marketing major, great possibilities lie in either working for an established company or starting a brand of my own. However, I would prefer to begin my career working for an established company. I believe this path would prove more beneficial because I could study brands firsthand, practice my hobbies while earning income, and provide for my family through mitigating risk.

When taking my first few marketing classes, I learned quickly that brand identity and strategy are my passions. Through partnerships with LMU’s Marketing department, I have had the privilege of working directly with brands like TOMS, helping to provide insight to the unique challenges they face. I have also been tasked with creating a completely original brand and launching a semester-long marketing campaign of my own. While working on another brand and starting a new one were both incredible experiences, I excelled more in presenting solutions for brands that already exist. I may choose to start my own marketing consultancy in the future, but this would still require that I develop an exceptional portfolio by working for other brands.

I also would rather work for an established company because the lines between traditional employment and self-employment are blurring. Hundreds of relatively new platforms like Etsy, Depop, and social networking comprise the “gig economy,” which offers endless ways for people to supplement their main income. I use apps like Depop to sell fashion finds and art commissions for extra income myself. My traditional form of employment and the ever-changing web have allowed me to develop multiple income streams and practice managing my own financial endeavors, whereas launching my own business would demand all of my time and energy into a singular effort.

Ultimately, my preference for traditional employment is motivated by my family. My father has always dreamed of being an entrepreneur. A few years ago, he ignored the major risks of leaving his secure job at an established company to follow this dream. Unfortunately, he learned the difficult way that risks do not always become rewards. As a result of this mistake, he cannot return to his job and I have now become a breadwinner for my family, replacing just a fraction of my father’s past income. My dad’s optimism always taught me to dream big, but his regrets taught me to never underestimate the risks.

My ethics professor often says, “You’re Business majors. Your job is to make decisions.” Owning a company will always be a dream of mine, but I want my decisions to be the wisest choices for everyone around me – not necessarily whatever sounds more exciting. Maybe in the future, my expertise and streams of income may support the possibility of starting a business and leaving traditional employment, but that remains too much of a risk for now. Working for a stable income at this stage of my life helps me give my family peace of mind. That motivates me more than anything.

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