“Monroe taught me a lot of the inner parts of owning a business, from how to manage and maintain employees to accounting.”
Mark Cruz has always had an entrepreneurial spirit; by the time he was ten years old, he already aspired to start his own business. At 28, the Bronx native owns and runs Fling Design, a company he started with his former bandmates, including Monroe graduate Michael Ung (‘06). According to Mark, running a band and running a design business involve similar skills; the group of self-taught musicians designed their own CDs and promotional materials until they realized they could apply these abilities to help other businesses.
What resulted was a jack-of-all trades design firm. While much of the focus is still helping small and growing businesses, Fling, which will be two years old this March, has already attracted some impressive corporate clients including Nielsen, Fedex and Kraft.
Mark has a long history with Monroe College. In 2003, while he was enrolled in Grace Dodge High School, he began taking classes at Monroe as part of a high school enrichment program. He then enrolled at Monroe to earn a degree in business management, while working a full-time job and playing in his band. “Monroe taught me what I needed to know about the internal affairs of running a business and catered to my busy schedule with night and online classes,” he said.
Mark has even continued a relationship with Monroe on a professional level. Fling Design was recently hired to do photography for the Monroe Ecosystem, the college’s LinkedIn group. Mark looks forward to utilizing the alumni network to connect with and offer internship opportunities to students and alumni.
As he contemplates the future, Mark has plans beyond his current activities. “I can’t sit still,” he says, “I need to keep doing new things.” In the next few years, Mark hopes to create more businesses. He wants to create a firm that focuses entirely on developing apps, a restaurant, and a bakery that he wants to start with his mom. There is little doubt, that if Mark brings the same determination, expertise, and commitment that he has shown in the past to his next venture, he will succeed no matter what he chooses to do.