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Daniel Klein: LIU Professor, Alumni & Entrepreneur

By Giancarlo Salazar, Staff Writer

Ranked one of the best business schools by the Princeton Review, many Post students in the business program study an array of topics including accounting, finance, economics, management and entrepreneurship. Although it’s not currently offered as a major, entrepreneurship courses study the path of starting and operating a business. It helps individuals become independent and use their creativity to invent something new. Some of the most anticipated entrepreneurship courses are taught by professor Daniel Klein, an LIU alum and the CEO of Sage Marketing.

“The thing about my connection with LIU, I’m a second generation professor at this university,” Klein said. “So my dad taught here for 52 years, and so as a little kid, I grew up on this campus visiting him. I went to school here, undergraduate, and now I’m back on campus, and able to teach, which is just huge. So my dad, his name was Stanley Klein. He had a stroke three years ago, and so he had to retire.” 

Klein didn’t begin teaching until a sudden event happened, which led him to his first teaching experience.

“ [My father] had his stroke the day before I gave my first lecture,” Klein said. “Teaching, for me, just kind of happened by accident. I was asked to guest lecture, and I did that and I loved it. Then, I was asked to teach a class and that’s how I became a professor here. My first class was a summer program, that was one of the high school summer programs on campus because he had a stroke in the summer. After I did that, I taught my first class in the fall which was ENT-17.”

Students who took Klein’s classes speak about the experiences in his ENT-17 class.

“Dan was super energetic and overwhelmingly positive about everything. It motivates everyone around him to excel and he creates an environment that makes other people happy and optimistic,” sophomore finance major Ailer Thomas said. “I learned a lot about mindset and the importance of mindset. The class was from an academic workload standpoint, a very easy class; but from a different aspect, it was a very challenging class because it forced you to think about yourself and think about how you would respond to situations and it challenged you to react and work in a real environment to understand yourself. It’s one of the most valuable classes I’ve taken because we did simulations and DISC profiling to help you understand yourself and how you work with other people so that you can work with other people better moving forward.”

Apart from being a professor, Klein also owns a multitude of companies all based on the Post campus for over five years. 

“All of our companies start with the word Sage. It’s Sage Marketing, Sage Advisors, Sage Coaching and Sage Staffing,” Klein said. “Sage has two meanings, there’s sage advice, and sage wisdom. Sage is also a medicinal herb. They cook with it and they use it in some holistic medicines. So it’s got a very nice feeling to it. We’ve been on campus for five years and it’s been wonderful. I work with the students, which I love. Funny story, I moved my business here because my dad wouldn’t retire and I didn’t want him to drive. So I relocated my office here from Westchester. And then I would drive my dad to campus to teach his classes. Then after he had his stroke, I just stayed here because I liked it so much.”

Every company has a beginning, an inspiration, a goal or dream that one day will hope to become a reality. 

“I always wanted to own my own company. I worked on Wall Street for over 20 years at major companies, and I’ve always been entrepreneurial,” Klein said. “When I went to school here, we didn’t have the resources that you all have… I kind of learned from trying it on my own and making mistakes on my own.”

However, that’s not the only thing Klein does with his time. He also runs his own entrepreneurship podcast called Andiamo.

“I had some student interns for the summer, Isabella and Justin, [that] had the idea to do a podcast,” Klein said. “We decided it would be a good idea to focus on some of the topics we focus on in my entrepreneurship class, and broaden it out to make it available for anyone — Isabella and I co-host the podcast. I’m 51, she’s 21, we’re two very different generations. She asks great questions and it’s a great way to dive into if someone wants to start a business or learn how to grow a business or learn how to run a business, there’s not a whole lot of places that they can go to learn that information. We wanted to make that information accessible to anyone and offer our guidance on how to help people.”

After teaching ENT-17, he also began teaching another class, ENT-61 — Entrepreneurship in Management. 

“The goal of this class is to be able to give students real world exposure to business and give them an unfiltered view of what it’s like to run a business,” Klein said. “We do that through actually engaging with live companies — one CEO came in and the students presented their ideas for her business. We also had Deborah Solomon as a guest speaker who is a professional networker and entrepreneur. This gives students an unfiltered view of any of my businesses to see what parts they might like or might want to go into as a profession. The thing that makes experiential learning unique is that it doesn’t always happen in a classroom. I have to allow all of them to make mistakes, and I can’t teach that. It’s not bad to make a mistake, it’s how you recover when you make a mistake.”

Students in his ENT-61 class are grateful for the experience they are able to receive.

“This class has been an incredible experience,” Thomas said. “The entire class is just an internship with Dan at his company. The opportunities that he’s provided to the students, including myself, have been absolutely phenomenal. From incorporating us at all levels of his business, giving us access to his proprietary system, trusting the students enough to put his own personal money behind our work; and he’s okay if we fail. He’s letting us learn at his expense and that’s really, really incredible that he would make that sacrifice for us.”

Many learn from past mistakes and experiences, and it may become a vital lesson in life if applied correctly.

“One lesson I learned is that it is never too late to learn new skills,” Klein said. “I think I’m a lifelong learner and I apply that in my own company by being able to put my ego to the side and learn a skill that can help my business or help me professionally. About a year ago we pivoted our business because we saw that was the direction that our industry was going in. So I had to create a whole new system. If we didn’t do that, I don’t think we would be as successful as we are now. Do not shy away from learning something new.”

Professors want their students to excel in their studies and career. They will often try to give valuable lessons and advice in and out of the classroom.

“Dan has taught me a lot about the importance of time management,” Thomas said. “He’s also taught me about my DISC profile and how I interact with people and learning that has allowed me to accelerate my career opportunities and my personal opportunities. I, in no small part, credit Dan for helping me win my vice presidential election for the post student government.”

Entrepreneurship is all about experience and learning. Experiential learning is one great way to learn new skills. 

“He [Klein] believes that experience is the best when learning,” Thomas said. “Instead of sitting down and telling us what to do, he helps us to figure out how to do it for ourselves, which adds in our own personal sense of achievement and accomplishment, which makes us personally vested in the work that we’re doing and in our learning.”

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