Thursday, March 17, 2016

Slate Talked to Some People Who Attended Trump University, This is What Slate Learned

As I have previously reported, because I was staying on a business trip in a downtown Los Angeles hotel, the Westin Bonaventure, where a Trump University introductory course was being offered (probably 2009), and I noticed a sign for it in the lobby, I popped in just out of curiosity.

In 2013, I wrote this about my experience:
The program seemed pretty decent to me. My gut feeling was that the contracts alone were worth the price of the course. Obviously, you are not going to walk out of the course a millionaire without doing a lot of hard work on your own, but it appeared to me that the program would be a good starter point for someone wanting to learn about the business.  As for me, I was just curious and there was no reason to sign up, but, again, for someone breaking into real estate, I thought the program could be valuable. In fact, I recommended to a friend, who was considering entering the real estate sector, to take the course.
L.V. Anderson at Slate contacted some people who listed graduating from Trump Univeristy on their LinkedIn page. There were a couple of bellyachers but the ones who were satisfied with the course got out of it pretty much what I would have expected they would have gotten out of the course. From Slate:
Scores of Trump University “graduates” list the credential on their LinkedIn profiles...

Many felt that they’d gotten their money’s worth and were legitimately proud of the professional accomplishments they’d made after attending Trump University seminars. Michael LaMonica, who now owns an estate sale and art auction business in New Jersey, volunteered that he was named Donald Trump’s “Student of the Month” in October 2008 and was even profiled on Trump’s blog as a “real estate success.” Kevin Andrews decided to attend Trump University seminars after selling the business he owned with his wife to start flipping properties. “We spent a ton of cash and our first deal paid for it,” he told me in an email. “We followed the program as it was taught and we got the results that were promised.” Joel Halley, who spent about $1,000 on online Trump University courses about sales and marketing—much less than many of Trump’s students—said the program taught him concepts about marketing that he uses today as the owner of a computer repair shop in Melbourne, Australia...

Others who listed Trump University on their LinkedIn pages had had more mixed experiences. Samson Malani, who’s now 36 and co-owns a music school in Hawaii, went to a free introductory Trump University course on real estate brokerage after receiving an invitation in the mail in 2011. He was so impressed that he and his business partner (who is also his cousin) signed up for a three-day seminar, which he found enormously helpful, especially the scripts that guided him through real estate deals. (He had to translate the scripts into Hawaiian Pidgin for most of his clients.) “Me and my partner, we really wanted to win, so we applied everything that we learned, and we went ahead of the class and read ahead in the book and just started applying everything and asking questions,” he told me. “So after that first day we had our first couple real estate deals already in the works.”...

The trouble arose after Malani and his cousin gave in to the pressure to sign up for an additional program, to the tune of about $18,000, which he borrowed from family members. “That was a rip,” he said. “We got everything out of the first class, and the second one, they were supposed to send a guide to us and he was supposed to do deals for us and everything, but it didn’t happen. We were doing everything ourselves.” The instructor who was supposed to be mentoring him sporadically called Malani to ask if he could partner with him and his cousin on their real estate business, but he didn’t offer any guidance. Malani eventually made back his investment in Trump University as a broker, but he felt that the second program was a waste of money.

1 comment:

  1. Was Trump University a franchise of some kind? How involved was Trump with say - creating the syllabus? Or did he only lend his name to the whole thing?