Matthew La Sala
Financial Representative, Northwestern Mutual
Class of 2021
BBA Public Accounting / MS in Financial Management
Member Of: Delta Sigma Pi, Center For Student Enterprise
Meet Mathew La Sala '21, a sophomore majoring in Public Accounting who was ready to start innovating as soon as he set foot on campus. Before he started his first semester, he knew about the Center for Student Enterprise and that he wanted to be a part of it. As he got into his new routine as a student at Pace, he started noticing some business opportunities on campus and came up with a great idea: Pace Fit. Wrapping up its first year of operations with Matthew as its General Manager, Pace Fit has a bright future ahead.
Why did you choose Pace University and the Lubin School of Business?
When I was looking at universities, I felt that Pace offered the most hands-on experience opportunities and I could ensure I would take advantage of them through the Pace Path program. The student-run businesses really appealed to me because I thought that the experience I could get through them would give me a helpful set of skills to achieve my career goals.
You are one of the founders of Pace Fit. How did you come up with the idea?
I came up with the idea during my first semester at Pace when on a Saturday I was looking for some place on campus to get a snack and a cup of coffee. I realized that nothing was open until 10:00 am on weekends. I knew then that the campus needed a morning option for places to grab a bite. Additionally, when I went to the gym, I noticed that there were plenty of active people on campus that were out and about early in the morning. I combined these two insights and saw that there was an opportunity to carve out a space where people could get snacks right at the gym. In order to serve the market of people that go the gym, we needed to offer a healthy option. It also had to be something of high quality, since clients would be using their flex-dollars, for which they expect high value for their money. We thought smoothies were the perfect option since they are easy to make, taste delicious, and are very healthy.
What challenges did you face when you were trying to start Pace Fit?
The first challenge we faced was gathering a team that would be dedicated to taking a leap and starting this new project from scratch (and being willing to fail). Pace Fit took a lot of time and planning, and there are very few people willing to put in time for something that may fail. Personally, I made an effort to never let that thought stop me, because I knew I would be disappointed if we failed, so I gave it everything I had. Once the idea came together and the Lubin School of Business was on board, the biggest challenge was getting the space that we needed in the gym. We went through presentations and negations with the Athletic Department. We had to overcome multiple “no” responses before finally agreeing on a deal that would allow us to start operating.
My goal is to be a successful entrepreneur, and all the experience I have gained from Pace Fit will give me the skill set to be successful. I love running a business. I feel that by running a business there are no caps to how successful you can be.
What motivates you to work hard?
I am motivated by my future. My goal is to be a successful entrepreneur, and all the experience I have gained from Pace Fit will give me the skill set to be successful. I love running a business. I feel that by running a business there are no caps to how successful you can be. Everything you do has an impact and means something. At the same time, you’re in a position where you can easily fail. I am motivated by the thought of failing, learning, and starting over. I can never be content with something I do unless I succeed at it or make sure I learned something that will help me move on to the next thing.
What does #LubinLife mean to you?
#LubinLife represents all the resources and activities that Lubin has to offer. I feel that everyone should get involved as much as they can, because in my opinion, experience is the best way to learn.