Getting to Know Jake Miles

Written by Jamie Miles

You bring a 7-pound, 13-ounce bundle home from the hospital and blink. Suddenly, 21 years have passed and that ball of blankets is a young man sipping coffee at your kitchen counter discussing global economic trends.

Clients and customers at Miles Mediation might recognize this fellow as Jake Miles, my eldest child. On breaks from college, Jake puts on a coat and tie and heads into Atlanta with Dad. At Dad’s suggestion, I sat down with Jake on a recent visit home and learned a lot about his future plans and how he is working with Miles Mediation.

Jake is a junior studying business management and accounting at Presbyterian College, a small liberal arts school in Clinton, South Carolina.

Accounting? Said his mother who long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away broke out in a sweat attempting to balance her checkbook.

Jake as a baby

Jake as a baby

Jake: “Accounting was not what I intended to study in college. I thought maybe history, English or maybe psychology? Business was a possibility. With a liberal arts education, you take general education courses. My sophomore year, one was Introductory Accounting. I found out I was really good at this accounting thing. And I enjoyed it more than any other course I’d taken at PC.”

Mom: As a layperson, I think accounting and think math wizard, pencil pocket protectors and slide rules.

Jake: “If you can add, subtract, multiply and divide you can succeed in accounting. It’s not like economics or statistic where you have to know high level algebra. It’s the theory. How do you record and summarize transactions and present that information to businesses’ investors, owners?

Mom: What other business courses have you taken?

Jake: “I really enjoy Intermediate Accounting. We talk about stockholders’ equity and how companies issue stocks. Macroeconomics which focuses on global trends in economics — governments and industries. Microeconomics – the principles of supply and demand, individual companies. Marketing, Computer Applications, which is working with Excel.

Mom: You and your father talk a lot about the business side of Miles Mediation. For which I am thankful because it kind of makes my mind want to take a nap we he tries to discuss it with me. What do you all talk about? And how do you stay awake?

Jake: “After my sophomore year, I had taken Cost Accounting, which focuses on analyzing different costs of running a business. Using what I had just learned, I was able to help dad further understand the different costs he was taking on and how they affected his company. We looked at customer behavior, annual trends, more specifically how the number of mediations in a month relate the cost of running the business for a month.

Mom: What do you help with now?

Jake: “I keep track of revenue on a day-to-day basis. I look at what mediation and legal community is doing.”

Mom: What do you see as the future of mediation?

Jake: “I think mediation has so much room for growth nationwide. In Business Law, we talked about how more and more people don’t want to go to trial and how companies want to settle cases.”

Jake at College with friends

Mom: Seems like things change so fast these days. What general business principles apply to mediation, a law firm or any small business?

Jake: “The customer runs the business. As a business owner, if you don’t listen to customer wants, in our capitalistic society someone will fill that need for them. And you will become obsolete.”

Mom: Business owners are confronted with change all the time. What separates the winners from those just keeping the doors open?

Jake: “I think there are three main reasons businesses don’t adjust to changing market conditions.

* Some owners don’t listen to what clients are saying. Not that they wouldn’t consider change, there’s no real way for customer to express their wants.

· Some owners realize the market is changing and customers wants and demands are changing but they don’t care or think that it’s just a trend that won’t last, a fad. An example being newspapers who dragged their feet moving to online or weekly magazines like TIME not adjusting to an online format that works.

· For whatever reason, some companies can’t change or they can’t change fast enough. They will survive but they’ll never be able to regain that brand and market share they had. An example being Blackberry. Everyone had a Blackberry. Then in 2007 Steve Jobs and Apple came out with the touch screen phone. No one thought it would catch on. Blackberry didn’t adjust and will be a business school case study for eternity.”

Jake and Jamie at the Peachtree Road Race last summer

Mom: What are your summer plans?

Jake: “In May, I’ll be studying for two weeks in northwest England at Edge Hill University with a group from the Presbyterian Business School. The two classes we will take will be International Marketing and Social Injustice, unethical work practices in history and today, covering issues such as child labor laws.

Mom: Plans after graduation. Other than being self-supporting.

Jake: “I’m going to get my Masters in Accounting to be a CPA and plan on a law degree after.”

Mom: As a parent, I’m wondering what you could do for income during all this extra school?

The Goliath Grouper Jake caught on shore last summer.

The Goliath Grouper Jake caught on shore last summer.

Jake: “Once I get my CPA, that means I’ll be more than qualified to do tax returns, and help businesses’ with quarterly taxes, etc.

Mom: The future often takes turns from what we’ve planned — but what would you like to do business-wise with an accounting and legal background?

Jake: “Many different things. All my plans include having my company. I enjoy the thought of starting a business and growing a business. The pinnacle of it all would be taking a business public.”

Jake said for now he monitors the business world by listening to CNBC’s Squawk Box each morning. With a Yahoo Finance App, he scans articles before markets open. “I have a stock portfolio that I manage and trade to mainly to learn the process.” He added with a smile, “I want to make mistakes now before I invest large amounts of capital.”

This was fun for mom. And enlightening too. Can’t wait to see what happens. xoxo