Failing
To Success
Podcast

Semester At SeaSemester At Sea

Chad Kaleky conducts an interview with Scott Marshall on his podcast "Failing to Success" on Jun 11, 2024. The discussion revolves around Scott Marshall's success after overcoming challenges at Semester At SeaSemester At Sea. The information shared about Semester At SeaSemester At Sea is derived entirely from this podcast episode.

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Scott Marshall

Semester at Sea generates $31 million in revenue and operates with a high fixed cost model, primarily driven by ship operations.

How did Scott Marshall With Semester At SeaSemester At Sea Grow Their Business?

Company Stats

  • Founded: Program in 1963, nonprofit organization in 1975
  • Revenue: $31 million
  • Employees: 45
  • Voyagers: Operates two voyages per year, in fall and spring

Episode Highlights

  • ✅ Semester at Sea generates $31 million in revenue annually.
  • ✅ The organization operates with a high fixed cost model, primarily driven by ship operations.
  • ✅ Scott Marshall emphasizes the importance of aligning personal ambitions with authentic career goals.

Episode Summary

In this episode, Scott Marshall, CEO of Semester at Sea, discusses the unique challenges and opportunities of running a nonprofit organization that combines elements of higher education and the cruise industry. Founded in 1963 as a program and established as a nonprofit in 1975, Semester at Sea has grown to generate $31 million in annual revenue with a team of 45 dedicated staff members. Scott delves into the complexities of their high fixed cost model, the impact of the pandemic on their operations, and the importance of staying true to their mission. He also shares personal insights about career ambition and the significance of following one's gut instincts.

Chapters

00:00 Intro

00:08 Company Stats

00:34 Operational Challenges and Opportunities

04:36 Personal Insights

06:33 Connect with Semester At Sea

Notable Questions We Asked Scott Marshall

How does Semester at Sea manage its high fixed cost model?

Our ship operations account for 73% of our costs, and staff makes up 21%. This fixed cost structure works well in the nonprofit sector but would be tough in the private sector.

What are the main challenges of running a nonprofit organization like Semester at Sea?

The complexity of combining study abroad, higher education, and cruise operations is challenging, but it ensures a clear purpose and meaningful impact every day.

How does Semester at Sea select and recruit students for its voyages?

We partner with universities across the country and internationally, running two voyages per year. The program is self-selecting, appealing to students who want to study abroad and travel to multiple countries.

How did the pandemic affect Semester at Sea?

The pandemic was extremely challenging, with no revenue for almost two years. We are slowly recovering, with a projected revenue of $32 million for the next fiscal year.

What personal lesson did you learn from not securing a leadership position at a previous job?

I realized I didn't authentically want the position and failed to do a gut check. This experience taught me to align career ambitions with personal authenticity.

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