Category: Undergraduate Students
After taking first in a competition at the BUzz Lab, Boston University’s new center for entrepreneurship operated by the School of Management, BU startup Downtyme went on to win the second annual Beantown Throwdown, hosted by the MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge.
From the Daily Free Press (originally published Nov. 19, 2014):
Downtyme, cofounded by Boston University College of Engineering juniors Barron Roth and Luke Sorenson, placed first out of nine schools participating in the second annual Massachusetts Institute of Technology Enterprise Forum of Cambridge’s Beantown Throwdown startup competition Wednesday.
“We put these programs on because we know that students and entrepreneurs need mentors,” Wald said. Katja Wald, executive director of MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge, said the organization invited more schools to participate this year after receiving positive feedback from their Crimson on Cardinal Startup Throwdown in 2013, which only included entries from Harvard University and MIT. This year, more than 400 students, sponsors and investors attended to see nine different colleges participate, including BU, Boston College and Northeastern University.
Downtyme were able to compete in the Beantown Throwdown after they won a competition for startups on campus hosted by the BUzz Lab, which opened on Oct. 30. The first application to save you from your smart phone, Downtyme lets users match up their free time with friends using manual scheduling or a calendar sync function. Users can send friends nearby a request to eat, study or simply hang out. Although the app has been in beta mode since March, Roth said a full version would launch January 2015 for the spring semester.
A panel of entrepreneurs and investors, moderated by The Boston Globe Innovation Economy columnist Scott Kirsner, started the night by talking about their experiences in the startup and entrepreneurship field. Last year’s competition winner, Dip Patel from MIT, said when it comes to being a successful entrepreneur, customers have to appreciate the vision as much as the visionary.
“Sales is all that matters,” he said.
Katie Rae, managing director at Startup Accelerator Techstars Boston, advised students to be aware of the question she has for every entrepreneur that works to the startup company: “Why is this product important and why do you have to be the one to do it?”
After all the pitches were completed, the audience was invited to “invest” in the companies of their choice with the $3 million in fake money each person was given upon arrival.Representatives from each startup team had three minutes to pitch their projects to the room, followed by a one-minute question-and-answer session from the panelists. Between pitches, sponsors of the competition, including data company DataXu, Inc. and software company HubSpot, Inc. were invited to try to recruit student audience members, who were admitted into the event free of charge.
Roth, who presented the pitch for Downtyme, thought his presentation went well, although he was a little nervous.
“Public speaking is never easy,” he said.
Downtyme ended up winning the competition, raising $68 million in fake money from audience investors. A cheer erupted in the back of the room after it was announced that Roth and his team won the competition.
“It’s humbling for sure,” he said.
Read the full story here.
This weekend, Boston University will host its 141st Commencement, honoring the achievements of the class of 2014, and celebrating their future endeavors. Some 20,000 guests are expected to converge on campus for the ceremonies, culminating in the All-University Commencement at Nickerson Field. The School of Management’s separate convocations for its bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral candidates will be held on Friday, May 16. Whether you’re joining the excitement in person or watching the ceremonies online, stay in the loop with the information below.
School of Management Convocations
The convocation for bachelor’s candidates will be held on Friday, May 16, from 1-3 p.m. at Agganis Arena, 925 Commonwealth Ave., immediately followed by a reception from 3-4 p.m. in the Fitness & Recreation Center, 100 Ashford St. Students must arrive at Agganis Arena by 12:15 p.m. Seating is first-come, first-served, and tickets are not required. The convocation will be live-streamed here.
The convocation for master’s and doctoral candidates will be held on Friday, May 16, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Agganis Arena, immediately followed by a reception from 7:30-8:30 p.m. in the Fitness & Recreation Center. Students must arrive at Agganis Arena by 4:45 p.m. Seating is first-come, first-served, and tickets are not required. The convocation will be live-streamed here.
The All-University Commencement ceremony will be held on Sunday, May 18, from 1-3 p.m. at Nickerson Field, 285 Babcock St., rain or shine. Students must arrive at Harry Agganis Way by 12:15 p.m. The ceremony will be live-streamed here.
Seating is first-come, first-served for SMG’s convocation ceremonies and the All-University Commencement ceremony, and guests do not need tickets to attend. The University’s commencement website provides plenty of information about the weekend’s events, including security, parking, and disability services.
Join the commencement conversation:
School of Management hosts 2014 Core New Product Challenge
For nine students at Boston University School of Management, the dog really did eat their homework. On April 7, members of team Lock-A-Bowls were crowned champions at the 16th Core New Product Challenge, the culmination of SM323 (known as “The Core”), for their presentation of a new dog-feeding accessory.
The SM323 set of courses is one of the key elements differentiating SMG’s undergraduate curriculum. The four functional courses—marketing, operations, information systems, and finance—are integrated into a one-semester sequence through a common semester-long project focused on new product development.
“The Core project is the cornerstone of the SM323 course and has been designed to allow student teams to develop an integrated plan for a new product launch,” said Jonathan Hibbard, assistant professor of marketing and faculty coordinator for the Cross-Functional Core. “In the process, the students appreciate the interrelationships among decisions they make across the four courses.”
The Core project simulates a real-world environment and allows students to work in teams, requiring each to design a product by assessing customer needs and markets, develop marketing plans to sell their product, develop operations processes and information systems to support their product, and understand the risks involved in implementing and financing.
“I found Core to be an incredibly valuable learning experience,” said Devon Carelli (SMG’14), a member of the Lock-A-Bowls team. “It was great to have the opportunity to present in front of such a large audience of students, faculty, and real corporate managers.”
Imagitas, a Pitney Bowes company dedicated to innovative lifestage marketing services, sponsored this year’s Core Challenge. Each year, the Core faculty nominates projects from about 80 plans for review by the sponsor, who then selects three finalists based on how well each team’s plan displayed the analysis of their research during the semester, not on the product idea itself.
The three finalist teams—Lock-A-Bowls, Magic Toothbrush, and the KibblerNibbler—then presented to the judges and answered follow-up questions. Noting their strong presentation and Q&A session, the judges awarded first place to Lock-A-Bowls, who received gift cards, framed certificates, and their team’s product name on the Challenge trophy.
“Our team is very proud and honored to be the winner of the Core New Product Challenge,” said Cristian Rocco Donohue (SMG’14). “We’re thankful to Imagitas for nominating our team and to our professors for helping us create a great product and business plan.”
Lock-A-Bowls is a dog-feeding accessory consisting of two stainless steel dog bowls that twist and lock into a slip-proof, rubber dog mat. The purpose of Lock-A-Bowls is to prevent the mess surrounding dog’s food bowls, reducing clean-up time by minimizing messy floors. The twist and lock mechanism is easy to use and all components of the product are dishwasher-safe and made of BPA free materials, making it 100 percent dog-safe as well as consumer-friendly.
“The Lock-A-Bowls team was able to demonstrate to the judges the comprehensive nature of their decisions across the functional areas during their presentation and Q&A session,” Hibbard said.
The Lock-A-Bowls team included Carelli, Melanie Champlin, Cristian Rocco Donohue, Meline Matevosian, Stephanie Scime, Brian Tate, Alicia Kosasih, Hang Cen, and Jenny Perales, who were advised by faculty members Ted Chadwick, Jonathan Hibbard, Yoo-Taek Lee, and Jeff Allen.
Two SMG seniors, Josh Friedman of the men’s tennis team and Jessica Morrow of the women’s soccer team, were among the 10 student-athletes honored at the annual BU student-athlete reception on Monday, April 22. Jessica received the E. Ray Speare and Gretchen Schyler award, given yearly to the top male and female scholar-athletes. Josh was a recipient of the John B. Simpson Award, given both to a male and female senior who has demonstrated enthusiasm and leadership.
From BU Athletics:
Jessica Morrow concluded her career as a NSCAA Third-Team All-America honoree after claiming America East Defender of the Year honors. She posted a standout season in which she anchored BU’s defense that allowed just four goals in eight conference games to lead the league with a 0.49 goals-against average and help the Terriers to a perfect 8-0 league record and their sixth straight America East regular-season title. In addition to being BU’s leader on defense, the co-captain tied for the team lead with five assists on the season, which ranked fourth in the conference. The two-time member of the America East All-Academic team owns a 3.80 GPA as a business administration major which earned her NSCAA First Team Scholar All-America accolades.
A selfless, tireless and vocal leader both on and off the court, Josh Friedman was named the men’s tennis team MVP the last three seasons. He is a two-time all-conference honoree and an America East Commissioner’s Honor Roll member. As a sophomore, he moved to the No. 1 singles position and helped the Terriers win 10 matches, a feat not accomplished since 2007. The highlight of his junior season occurred when he defeated No. 60 Harvard’s two-time All-Ivy League First Team member, Jon Pearlman. This year competing at the top singles and doubles slots, he led the Terriers to their first winning season in six years and 7-0 sweeps against five opponents.
Pictured honorees, from left: Josh Friedman (SMG’13), Jessica Morrow (SMG’13), Mo Moran (CAS’13), Chantell Alford (CGS’11, MET’13), Ryan Ruikka (CAS’12, GRS’12, MET’13), Tina Hoppe (SHA’13), and Nestor Taffur (MET’14). Photo by Steve McLaughlin via BU Today.
A scholar-athlete leaves a fresh trail of sprinting records
Excerpts from BU Today:
R. J. Page explodes out of the starting blocks, his muscular arms pumping the air, straining for every inch of gain. It takes him 10.52 seconds to cover the 100-meter dash, but for the sprinter who’s been twice named Most Outstanding Track Performer at the America East Outdoor Championships and once at the Indoor Championships, it seems like a very long 10.52 seconds.
“People always say the 100 or 200 is so short, but for those of us running, it’s really not,” says Page (CAS’13, SMG’13). “It’s even tougher for us sprinters because the technical aspect is a lot more important than the 800 or the mile. I’m thinking constantly about holding my form, no matter how tired I get, and racing as strong as I can.”
Page has set several BU track and field team records: he holds the best time in the 200-meter dash (21.21) and shares with teammates the record for the 4×400 meter relay (3:08.41) and the 4×200 meter relay (1:24.24), among others. The speed, he says, begins with a mental effort to get in the zone.
Page’s impressive performance is not limited to what his legs can do. He is graduating with a double major, in economics and business administration and management, and has a GPA of 3.49.
“I’ve been challenged here like I’ve never been challenged before,” he says. “Everyone here is smart, and they bring a lot to the table, working with them, studying with them, so I’ve learned a lot from everything the University has to offer.”
Grzelcyk is a defensive powerhouse
Matt Grzelcyk is just a freshman, but the 18-year-old defenseman is well on his way to becoming a hometown success story for hockey-crazed Boston.
Grzelcyk (SMG’16) grew up a rink rat in Charlestown, Mass., the son of a longtime Zamboni driver at Boston’s TD Garden. Two years ago, he committed to play Division I hockey at BU, and in summer 2012 he was chosen by the Boston Bruins in the third round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.
“Playing hockey and getting the chance to play Division I, obviously your goal is to play one day in the NHL,” says Grzelcyk, one of nine freshmen in the 2012–2013 Terriers lineup. “But you have to stay realistic at the same time and realize how hard it is to get there. I have to work if I want it to happen.” Proof of his work ethic: in December 2012 he was named Hockey East Rookie of the Month and put on the preliminary roster for the U.S. National Junior Team.
Grzelcyk’s father, John, taught him to skate at the age of two by getting him to lean on stacked milk crates at a local rink. The elder Grzelcyk has worked for 45 years as a member of the Garden’s “bull gang,” the team that switches the arena surfaces between hockey and basketball games. “I can remember waiting for my dad to call, telling me to come down and skate when the Bruins weren’t playing at home,” Matt recalls. “Anytime I got the opportunity I always took it.”
Accounting in the morning, Shakespeare in the afternoon: a normal day for sophomores at the School of Management. On October 31, SMG students watched Shakespeare’s Henry V, as enacted by the FeminaShakes, an all-female acting troupe.
Since the fall 2009 semester, the SMG organizational behavior department and the College of Fine Arts School of Theatre have collaborated on a cross-disciplinary project. Associate Professor Jack McCarthy, who conceived of the endeavor for the OB221 class, says “What I love about the project is that we teach the universality of behaviors, with people from different domains discussing trust, leadership, power, and working together in a team. What are the sources of power, of conflict? How do we resolve differences? We surface ideas around this joint interdisciplinary model and students from both schools come away with a new understanding.”
Pictured: Chloe Fuller (CFA’13) (on ladder), as King Henry V, and BU’s Femina Shakespeare troupe perform Shakespeare’s Henry V. Photo by Kalman Zabarsky via BUToday.
On Monday, October 15, 2012, School of Management freshman Parker Oks (BSBA’16) and his website AppointmentStatus.com were featured in a New York Times article about healthcare innovations helping patients, “The Doctor Can See You Now.”
Excerpts from the New York Times:
Often the worst part of a visit to the doctor isn’t the awkward hospital gown, needle sticks, or embarrassing physical exams — it’s the drawn-out wait, camped out in the reception room in the company of sick patients and old magazines.
During a particularly long wait to see his dermatologist, Parker Oks, 18, thought there had to be a better way.
“They know approximately how long an appointment will take,” said Mr. Oks, a freshman at Boston University. “But the problem is that they don’t know how long it will actually take.”
That realization led Mr. Oks to create Appointment Status, a Web site devoted to improving appointment efficiency and providing patients with information to avoid long waits. Working with three teenagers from Staten Island Technical High School, where he had gone, Mr. Oks aims to make it easier for patients to schedule appointments — and to find out how far behind the doctor may be before settling into a waiting room chair.
Appointment Status is designed to assist patients before they even take a seat in a waiting room — a sore point for many patients, as doctors well know. In a survey conducted by the doctor-review Web site Vitals, patients reported an average wait time of 21 minutes to see a doctor. Mississippi had the longest reported wait time, at just over 25 minutes.
Read the full article on Oks and other innovators helping patients today on the New York Times.
Entrepreneurial Success Starts With a Strong Pitch
Would you shop at a natural products convenience store? Can you think of a way to use a portable hologram projector? These were two of the 25 new business ideas proposed at the Pitch & Pizza event on October 26, the first stage in the three-part 2013 New Venture Competition. Open to the public, the New Venture Competition features BU students and alumni competing for the opportunity to win a spot in BU’s Startup Summer Camp and a package of startup legal consulting worth $10,000.
From October’s Pitch & Pizza, eight teams or individuals advanced to the semifinals in March (listed below, and pictured in the video above).
BU students and alumni with a business idea are invited to enter the next round of Pitch & Pizza on Friday, February 1, 2013. Applications will open in January.
The first stage of the New Venture Competition, Pitch & Pizza, is simply a 60-second verbal pitch for a new business. The judges allow visual aids, but no PowerPoint. In the semifinals (Friday, March 1, 2013), the deliverable is an executive summary and presentation to a panel of experts. At the finals (Wednesday, April 3), teams will deliver a five-minute presentation and executive summary to angel investors.
Executive-in-Residence, Lecturer, and event director Beth Goldstein said, “[The judges] were all impressed with the range of business concepts presented at Pitch & Pizza I, and we look forward to seeing more at Pitch & Pizza II in February and how all the winning entrepreneurs move forward with their projects. To support their efforts, we’ve developed a new program called our Terrier Track New Venture Workshops, which we’ll begin rolling out as soon as students return for their spring semester in January. These will be 90-minute intensive workshops every Friday afternoon, led by experts in launching businesses. Anybody can participate and we’re planning on offering this on the cloud so our alumni can also watch.”
The New Venture Competition is sponsored by the Institute for Technology Entrepreneurship and Commercialization (ITEC), housed in Boston University School of Management, and first stage judges include SMG entrepreneurship faculty, invited alumni, and sponsors from the venture capital, legal, and entrepreneurship worlds.
The eight October 26 Pitch & Pizza teams that will advance to the March semifinals are:
- Consumer Website Help, Peter Smith (BSBA’13)
- Customized Cupcake Bar, Jill Acquarulo, (BSBA’13), Soleil Schwabe (BSBA’13), and Emily Burdett (BSBA’13)
- DiagnosQuick (People’s Choice Winner), Timothy Chanoux (BSBA’13)
- euMetrica Project, Dmitri Boulanov (ENG’10)
- I.Deal.Lokal, Sinisa Baranac (BSBA’13)
- NineBrain, Inc., Arun Rai, (MED’14) and Ruby Kandah
- Read Ahead, Matt Uvena (MS·MBA’14)
- TownRally, Asad Butt (MBA/MS in Media Ventures ’12)
Zoe Tey’s Art Decorates SMG Water Fountains
Wildlife is always drawn to watering holes, so don’t be surprised when you see a giraffe staring down at you the next time you take a drink from the SMG building’s second-floor water fountain. At the third-floor fountain, you’ll be sharing with a Blue-tailed Bee-eater bird.
The animals are the subjects of artworks created by Zoe Tey (BSBA’15), who is doing a minor in the College of Fine Arts School in Visual Arts.
Tey did the assignment for an art class that required a site-specific piece on campus. “I saw the indented walls at the drinking fountains on every floor of SMG and thought that they were meant to hold a piece of art; the spaces are like frames formed by the walls, waiting to be filled.
“I’m interested in animal patterns and colors, and also nature with a hint of technology (the way I “pixelated” the images). The two pieces are called Urban Safari.”
After she finalized her proposal, she approached Allen Questrom Professor and Dean Ken Freeman to ask if he would be open to the idea, and he readily agreed to the installation. Zoe did most of the work toward the end of last spring and early part of the summer. The pieces were installed on September 4.
Be sure to visit an oasis near you.