"I was taught by CFOs in the local community."
While working on a degree in business administration at SNHU in the early 1970s, Ed Wolak '72 and '74 was busy baking doughnuts. Today, he oversees a small doughnut empire.
The owner of more than 70 Dunkin' Donuts franchises in Maine, New Hampshire and upstate New York, Ed started out sweeping floors at a Dunkin' Donuts store in Manchester, N.H., during high school. After transferring to SNHU during his freshman year, he paid his way through college by baking for Dunkin' franchises in the area.
Although he initially enrolled for a two-year associate degree, a professor persuaded him to earn a bachelor’s degree. To accommodate his baking job, Ed took advantage of SNHU's flexible class schedule.
"I went some semesters by day and others at night," he says. "In retrospect, I think that was a really good experience because I was taught by CFOs in the local community, and I got more real-world exposure to finance."
In the meantime, Ed applied his own real-world experience in the classroom.
"I did a lot of term papers on franchising and became quite knowledgeable in the field," he said.
After graduation, a Dunkin' Donuts franchise owner hired Ed to manage a store in Nashua, N.H. Within a year, Ed was managing three stores and had set his sights on becoming a franchise owner himself.
He bought his first store in Portland, Maine. He now oversees approximately 15 business entities related to his Dunkin' Donuts franchises – including companies that develop and own the real estate that his stores occupy – and 1,200 employees.