Blending creativity and leadership skills: Zeph France looks to the next step
Zeph France enrolled at the Trulaske College of Business with the goal of further building the brand he created in high school as a rapper and music producer. He still has that goal, but thanks to his experience in Trulaske, there’s a twist. Through coursework and extracurricular activities, France realized that he wanted to be able to gain skills that apply directly to leadership.
“I realized I was built for a leadership position,” he said. “In school, I had a lot of different conversations about what my career would be. I looked at myself as an individual – this is a process for every college student – and realized that I needed management skills.” When it came time to select an area of emphasis for his bachelor of science in business administration, he chose management.
France says the Organizational Behavior course with Assistant Teaching Professor Christie McCullough was a transformational one. He took the class when he was president of two organizations – Zou Soul and Knowledge is Wealth – at the same time and was having trouble navigating processes, delegating tasks and projects, and dealing with different personalities. Immediately, he was able to take what he learned in class and apply it to these leadership positions.
France ties his passion for music and his aptitude for leadership together with one word: creativity.
“Being creative gives me the ability to spot problems and create solutions,” France said. “I can work within a system but also improve it. I can develop a vision by asking myself ‘Where is this going to go?’ I take my passion and drive and put the work behind it.”
Although France is graduating, he isn’t going far: In the fall, he will start the college’s Crosby MBA program while holding an assistantship with the university’s Division of Inclusion, Diversity & Equity. The division’s vice chancellor, Dr. Maurice Gipson, has served as a mentor to him.
“I wanted to stay at Mizzou because of the relationships I’ve built here,” he explained. “I know I will be supported in my academic career and I will be able to keep up with what I’ve built here.”
And then what? France keeps it simple: I am an entrepreneur.
“My goal is to work for myself. I’m a rapper. I have a brand I’ve started and want to keep growing that brand,” France said. “If it doesn’t work out, then I know I built a foundation of relationships and education to grow from there.”
France is leaving his undergraduate career behind with one piece of advice for students: Say thanks.
“I’m appreciative of everyone who has given time to me as a student and as a person because it allowed for the development of the man that I am,” he explained. “I don’t think I’d be here without the relationships I’ve built. I know so many people at Mizzou and they’ve all contributed and have been nothing but supportive. The amount of support I’ve received – you can’t put a price on something like that.”