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Rick Seidman

Rick Seidman, CEO QuoizelB.S., MBA ’16 - Part-Time MBA in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program

Currently the CEO of Quoizel, Inc., a decorative lighting manufacturer, Rick Seidman was looking for ways to improve his business and his knowledge base. Having worked his way up from sales representative to CEO over the course of a long and successful career, he decided that the Clemson MBA program was the ideal place to continue his education and professional development. "My MBA experience at Clemson has been a life-changing event," Rick said. "My high school and undergraduate college experiences were driven by my desire to achieve high grades to first get into college and then to get a good job with a top firm. In stark contrast, my reason for going for an MBA was to gain knowledge. I didn't join this program as a way to get a pay increase, promotion, new job, or start a new business. I am the CEO and my only desire was to gain knowledge to better run my company."

In the program, Rick learned several new concepts to put to work in his day-to-day business activities. The results have been phenomenal. "For starters, I learned this concept called forced innovation. The idea is based on neuroscience and ways to push your brain to think in new ways," Rick said. In order to push beyond the usual inspirations for designing Quoizel products - furniture, architecture of homes and materials such as glass, stone, metals, etc., Rick met with his Director of Design and told him to implement this new concept.

"We forced our designers for one week to draw new designs from female fashion products such as jewelry, pocketbooks, shoes and clothing. The outcome was amazing and our customers went wild over the prototypes," Rick said. As a result, Quoizel launched its first forced innovation collection this January. In addition, they now have a strategic initiative called forced innovation, which takes place four times annually to create new designs.

Concepts like MVP, minimum viable product, taught in the entrepreneurship class have also been a part of Quoizel's new business strategy. Most small businesses fail because they run out of money before massaging their new business concept into one that their intended consumer needs and wants. The MVP model teaches taking your new product/concept to the target consumer early in the process to get feedback and iterate or pivot your business model based on their response. The goal is to get the correct concept down before investing substantial resources to pursue a faulty concept. "As a result of this concept, we are producing fewer product samples (very expensive for us) by using 3-D images to survey our customers. Based on the results, we will only sample once we have a strong response," Rick said.

Skills and techniques learned in the MBA program are being implemented all throughout Rick's business. "The case studies have been a great tool to send to my executives, managers, and some of my top retail distributors. My marketing team is now working on updating our target consumer. My sales staff is looking at a new training program that we used in class. My operations staff helped me to understand our bottlenecks and ways to resolve," Rick said.

The MBA program has helped Rick and Quoizel reach new heights both personally and professionally.

"There is no question that the ROI has been wonderful for my time and money spent on the Clemson MBA program. Thank you, Clemson!"