Category: Undergraduate Students
BU Urban Business Accelerator Wins for Students and Businesses
Some business students just don’t relax. Even over the summer.
As a junior, Nathan Bernard (BSBA’12) pitched an idea to Ken Freeman, the Allen Questrom Professor and Dean, about providing microfinancing to Boston-area small businesses. The dean was interested, but wanted more details.
During his senior year, Bernard’s goal was to apply his skills in an arena that would help others, particularly in underserved areas of the city, and in the process hopefully create his own job. He worked with numerous members of the School’s Institute for Technology and Entrepreneurship Commercialization (ITEC) community, including Kristen McCormack, Peter Russo, Beth Goldstein, and Ian Mashiter, and was eventually steered to SMG Strategy & Innovation Lecturer Erik Molander, who became the program’s mentor.
Part of Bernard’s preparation involved door-to-door research—he interviewed more than 180 small companies to ascertain their needs. Through his previous international experience he discussed the concept with the organization ACCION, a global nonprofit that has been microlending for years. People in the local office of ACCION told Bernard that businesses first need better organized financials and bookkeeping in order to apply for loans.
“Then it all clicked,” Bernard says. “Microlending is probably covered. We shifted to thinking this would be a superb opportunity for students to get hands-on experience and for businesses to get much-needed help in an area where they probably lacked expertise. Plus it was a much better way for students to see small businesses up close, and help those entrepreneurs advance, financially and educationally.” He went back to the dean with his revised plan and the dean was impressed—so much so that he suggested the names of a few alumni who might be willing to help Bernard finance the project. Joel Carlton-Gysan (MBA’12) and Jeffery Khan, both of the development and alumni office, provided guidance in successfully working with the alumni.
With the alumni funds secured, Bernard recruited students and businesses and launched the pilot of the BU Urban Business Accelerator this past summer with the help and daily guidance of Molander.
The 2012 BUBA summer clients were D’Benny’s, a pizza shop and A. Dalliance, a fashion boutique, both in the Field’s Corner section of Dorchester. “In each case,” Bernard says, “students did research for industry norms, looked at the client’s specific business for gaps and similarities, and then used QuickBooks to help the business owners organize their financial records and comb the data for ways to cut costs. They then taught the owners how to do it themselves.”
The two summer pilot teams totaled six undergrads and two MBAs, and were drawn from both the School of Management as well as economics and international relations majors from the College of Arts and Science.
Bernard says, “Most of the students were surprised how much work goes into a small owner-operated business. It’s extremely hard to stay organized while running the day-to-day operations, maintain customer service, keep the inventory well-stocked, and so on.
“Owning your own business, especially in a less affluent neighborhood, is not an easy way to make a living. There are few vacations and little help. It’s all on you and there’s real value for idealistic students to witness a small business owner’s life,” Bernard added.
“The dean and ITEC have been extremely supportive,” says Bernard, “Dean Freeman has the School sponsoring us for this fall semester, along with financial support from the BU Center for Finance Law and Policy. From what we learned this summer, we set up six new BUBA client businesses and student teams for this fall.”
The program is already a success by another measure as well. On September 20th, Nathan Bernard gave his entrepreneurial pitch on MSNBC’s Your Business.
As one might imagine, Bernard’s confidence is boundless. “There are tons of businesses across the country that could benefit from help provided by university students. And I just happen to know a few…so my hope—my plan—is to make this a national program powered by BU.”
See an article from The Huffington Post on BUBA.
September 14, 2012 – Boston University School of Management’s undergraduate business program placed 40th overall in U.S. News & World Report’s ranking of undergraduate business schools, an improvement of one spot over last year. The ranking is part of the 2013 U.S. News & World Report “Best Colleges” rankings.
The School of Management’s “Best Colleges” ranking is based solely on a peer assessment score from AACSB-accredited schools. Each school in the ranking is rated on a 1-to-5 scale by survey participants.
Overall, the ”Best Colleges” list ranked Boston University 51st in the nation, a three-way tie with George Washington University and Tulane University, out of nearly 1,400 colleges included in the report.
For more information, please visit the U.S. News & World Report “Best Colleges” rankings page.
Freshmen selected from record number of applicants
Excerpt from BU Today:
Staff at Boston University Admissions ask two questions as they go about the business of building a class.
“First, will this student be academically successful at BU? And then, will this student contribute to, and enrich, the BU community?” says Kelly Walter, an associate vice president and executive director of admissions. “Building a class isn’t just about SAT scores and GPAs.”
And so while the incoming Class of 2016 is the strongest academically ever to enter the University, it is also notable for other accomplishments: one is a Broadway performer, another a chronic myelogenous leukemia researcher, a third a certified tae kwon do black belt instructor.
“The incoming Class of 2016 as a whole is very talented,” Walter says. “Their experiences are unique, so exceptional, and these are the future leaders of BU and the world at large.”
This year’s freshman class of 3,900 students was whittled down from a record number of 44,003 applicants. Only 45 percent of applicants were offered admission, the lowest in BU’s history.
The incoming freshmen boast an average high school GPA of 3.57, with 56 percent of them graduating in the top 10 percent of their class. This represents a slight increase over last year’s entering class, which had an average high school GPA of 3.53, with 55 percent of students ranking in the top 10 percent of their class. Freshmen entering BU two decades ago posted an average high school GPA of 3.09, with 34 percent graduating in the top 10 percent of their high school class.
This year’s freshmen come from all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and Guam. More students hail from Massachusetts than any other state, followed by New York, California, New Jersey, and Connecticut.
The Class of 2016 is notable too for its record number of international students. The class has approximately 700 students from abroad, with China, Korea, India, Canada, and Singapore the top countries. These international students comprise 18 percent of this year’s class, up from 16.1 percent last year, a figure that reflects BU’s growing reputation abroad. In 2001, 2,017 international students applied to BU. This year, 7,117 international students applied, a 253 percent increase.
Story by Amy Laskowski. Photo by Cydney Scott via BU Today.
One of Just Nine Lauded Chapters Across the Nation
The national headquarters of Net Impact (whose mission is “to mobilize a new generation of students to use their careers to drive transformational change in their workplaces and the world”) announced that the undergraduate chapter at Boston University has achieved Gold Chapter standing, a designation awarded to only nine of 67 undergraduate chapters.
According to Liz Maw, CEO of Net Impact, “This is a tremendous achievement. Gold chapters are the most outstanding in the Net Impact network, which includes over 300 chapters around the world. They play an integral role in helping us to provide support, connections, and practical advice to help people in all sectors and job functions create a more just and sustainable future.”
To earn gold, a chapter has to have a higher than normal level of events, they have to send a representative to the national conference, and they need to provide at least one “impact program.” The achievement also reflects strong support from the University and the faculty advisors, she added. Assistant Professor Kira Fabrizio and Executive in Residence and Lecturer Paul McManus (both of strategy & innovation) advise the club.
The Boston University undergraduate chapter, led by president Joe Nangle (BSBA’12), held 22 events to benefit the student body and surrounding community throughout the year. Teaming with Sustainabilty@BU, SMG Student Government, business fraternity Delta Sigma Pi, and the Starbucks location at SMG, the club got students to pledge to reduce their usage of paper cups, and distributed almost 500 reusable mugs to replace them. They also ran panel discussions on “The Art of Social Entrepreneurship,” and another on “Finance for Good.” The club also ran Sustainability Sundays, informal gatherings where anyone on campus was invited to gather and discuss important events in the sustainability realm.
Undergrads Work in D.C. Over Spring Break
Boston University always has an enormous number of students participate in Alternative Spring Break, and School of Management students have been well represented among them. This spring, a group of undergrad School of Management Honors Program students decided to travel to the nation’s capital for an alternative alternative spring break, or as the honors program billed it, the Spring Service Trip.
“Between the people that we met, the work we were able to do, and the cultural experience of being in D.C., it was amazing,” said Liz Katz, assistant director in the Undergraduate Program Office, and one of the two advisers on the trip.
The students aided in the District’s fight against hunger and homelessness, volunteering at several organizations over the course of the first week of March.
“The organizations where we worked were ready for us and loved that we came all this way to lend a hand. They usually rely on local volunteers,” Katz said.
“By being able to volunteer over spring break and to brighten the days of those people whom we served, I am proud to say that I am a part of an honors program that is full of humble and kind people,” said Rebecca Lang (BSBA’14).
The group helped out at two supportive housing sites for formerly homeless families and in the soup kitchens at So Others Might Eat (SOME), helped prepare meals from local ingredients for public school students at DC Central Kitchen’s program Fresh Start, and spent a day at the Capital Area Food Bank inspecting and sorting through donations.
“I feel one of the most valuable experiences for the students was their exposure to the SOME dining room,” Katz said. ”It wasn’t just the ‘obviously’ homeless. There were people there in work uniforms, some families as neat and clean as could be. You got the sense they could have been your neighbors and friends. It put a really different face on hunger and homelessness.”
The trip itself was the honors program student leaders’ response to the increased requirement in volunteer hours for freshmen honors students, and the brain child of Selena Su (BSBA’14).
Su pitched the idea for an honors alternative to the Undergraduate Program office. This, she reasoned, would also help current honors freshmen fulfill the community service hours.
Su said the idea got her the position as coordinator.
“I planned a trip to Washington, D.C.,” Su said, “but it’s the first time that it’s been done so I didn’t have a lot to go on.”
Not allowing precedent to restrain her, Su contacted a handful of organizations in the D.C. area, and helped the trip come to fruition.
“By being able to volunteer over spring break and to brighten the days of those people whom we served, I am proud to say that I am a part of an honors program that is full of humble and kind people,” said Rebecca Lang (BSBA’14).
“We worked hard, played hard, and relaxed in-between,” said Sahiba Chopra (BSBA’14). “And we left DC with the satisfaction of knowing that we actually made a difference, however small.”
By Lauren Dezenski
Story via BU ITEC:
Congratulations to Daniel Gnecco (BSBA’12) whose company, KontrolTV, won first place in this year’s 12th annual $50K New Venture Competition. KontrolTV’s mission is to design an application that would make it possible to use a mobile phone like a television remote control, allowing the user to find and launch TV listings. The application would also allow you to see what your friends are watching on TV in real time. Gnecco started his company with his father, Juan Pablo Gnecco, and Alan Queen, an engineer from Gnecco’s hometown of Atlanta.
In addition to winning BU’s Competition, Gnecco has landed $500,000 in seed money from Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. KontrolTV was also selected as the winner of the TeleEMG People’s Choice Award, representing the company the audience believed is most likely to succeed.
Landing the second place position was BU alum Michael Adelizzi (ENG’02). His company, Stabiliz Orthopaedics, based in Philadelphia, focuses on developing innovative orthopaedic medical devices for the treatment of traumatic bone fractures. The company’s lead product is a hybrid metallic-resorbable plate and screw system that allows surgeons to customize the healing process, eliminate the need for future surgeries, and reduce overall health care costs. Michael started the company in 2008 with colleagues Douglas Cerynik, MD and Bradley Grossman.
Third place was won by City Fuel Company, headed by Diego Torres-Palma (MBA’13) and MIT graduate Matthew Pearlson. City Fuel is a small-scale renewable fuel technology company that plans to put Massachusetts at the leading edge of renewable energy and transportation technology. Its technology can convert new and used vegetable oils into fuels and chemicals.
Judges for the competition include: Louis Volpe (MBA’78), Kodiak Venture Partners; Charles Lax (BSBA’82), Grandbanks Capital; Eugene Hill (MBA’80), SV Life Sciences; and David Verrill, Hub Angels Investment Group.
The $50K New Venture Competition is generously supported by ITEC’s valued business partners: Cummings Properties, GrandBanks Capital, Kodiak Venture Partners, Morse, Barnes-Brown & Pendleton, Paul Horn & Associates, SV Life Sciences, TeleEMG, and WilmerHale.
Finals Set for March 30 in Hartford, CT
The Feld Career Center was happy to host The Hartford on campus this past Monday evening for the second annual Campus Case Competition. Five teams from Boston University competed for the $1,000 top prize. Each team was asked to prepare and present for 15 minutes on the following criteria:
- Terriers Financial Services Company (Terriers), a fictitious company offering a full range of insurance and investment products, is interested in utilizing mobile technology applications to improve their business segments.
- Terriers hired your consulting team to analyze the mobile technology trends and opportunities for the company.
- The final deliverable is a recommendation on what the mobile application will do regarding the best option to achieve Terriers’ goals.
Executives from The Hartford were judges on the panel and their decision was difficult in selecting a winner as members from each team had great presentations skills and analytical thinking. The winning SMG team (below) consisted of Myron Chen (Tay Jen-Ti) (BSBA ’13), Yiwei (Vivian) Chen (BSBA ’14), Christopher Kovalik (BSBA ’13), Katrina Lyter (BSBA ’13), and Haobo Shen (BSBA ’13).
They received a $1K prize to share and will represent Boston University for the final round presentation at The Hartford headquarters on March 30th. There they will compete against teams from Bentley, Bryant, and the University of Connecticut for an additional $1K.
New Bus Service Caters to College Club-Goers
Excerpts from BU Today:
With the thermostat hovering in the 20s last Friday night, BU alums Ryan Kaplan, Eric Pasinski, and Jonathan Castillo gingerly applied a sticky sign the size of a giant toboggan to the side of a charter bus. They were shooting for zero bubbling and a level presentation, and they nailed it. Castillo squeezed out extra air with a yardstick.
“This is the most stressful part of our night,” Kaplan (SMG ’11) said with a laugh.
That’s quite a statement, considering that their new business, Boston Nightlife Express (BNE), involves shuttling buses of college students to and from Boston nightclubs and adhering to tight schedules despite unpredictable traffic—all while wearing the hats of promoter, market researcher, bouncer, and businessman.
BNE launched Veterans Day weekend, initially serving only Boston University students. Having turned a profit by its fourth run, the alumni now provide rides to Emerson College students going to parties in Allston. And this night they have begun service for Endicott College students, busing them from Beverly, Mass., and back, with plans to expand to more universities, like Boston College in late February and Tufts and Brandeis shortly afterwards.
Kaplan and a team of School of Management students hatched the idea for the shuttle service in an entrepreneurship class senior year. Each of the students had horror stories about taxi rides home after a night of clubbing. They were tired of paying exorbitant fares and waiting in the cold for long periods (Kaplan’s record is an hour and a half). Their idea was voted best in the class, but only Kaplan wanted to pursue it after graduation. He recruited Pasinski and Castillo (both entrepreneurs and college friends), and the trio began work on BNE last summer.
Read the full article here.
SMG Seniors Win Boston Investment Research Challenge
Next: On to the Americas Regional
The School of Management finance undergrads have done it again.
Congratulations to Boston University School of Management students Amit Singh, Elaine Lin, Eldar Karymsakov, and Luiza Santos (all BSBA’12) for winning the Boston Investment Research Challenge on Wednesday, February 15, 2012.
This is the fourth year in a row that BU has made the final round in the Boston Investment Research Challenge, and the second time that our students have won.
The competition is sponsored by the Boston Security Analyst Society and the CFA Institute. Area schools join the competition by invitation (based on past performance) and prepare a written investment research report in the fall. Most schools send teams of MBAs, but not BU. Four schools were selected from this group: BU was joined by Bentley undergrads, and Brandeis and MIT MBAs for the February 15 finals competition where student teams presented their analyses and recommendations.
As the winners of the Boston round, Singh, Lin, Karymsakov, and Santos will now advance to the Americas Regional in New York City on April 10th to compete against other winning teams from North and South America. The BU team finished third at the NYC round in 2009.
Teams who win in New York advance to the world finals.
The students have worked closely with Research Professor Scott Stewart of the Finance department in a directed study on investment. To compete on the Investment Research Challenge team, the students have to have been part of the BU Finance Club and also enroll in a rigorous directed study where they do a deep analysis of an industry, and then a deeper investment analysis of a chosen company within that industry.
“The reason our students are so strong,” says Stewart, “is that they get exposure to business analysis and valuation early on in the School’s Finance Club and fine tune these skills in the directed study program. It’s run much like an investment research department, with a hierarchy of analysts and traders who investigate—and invest in—real companies, with faculty guidance. As freshmen, students start to pick up the vocabulary and build early skills as members of one of 8-10 investment teams. They gain more responsibility each year, and by senior year, they’re way ahead of most students elsewhere. The directed study program takes this skill set to a professional level, where members become specialists on their own in a narrowly-defined industry. These students in turn are leaders in the club and teach others about investment research. ”
Alumnus Jason Krishnan (BSBA ’03), one of the earliest members of the Finance Club and the directed study program, is today a CFA charterholder and research analyst with RGM Capital in Naples, FL. “The combination of the club and the directed study was an excellent way to learn how to do research and exposed us to the real work we might one day be doing. You see the good and the bad, learn what data are most important to an investment decision and how to succinctly communicate an investment recommendation to your peers. When I went to my first finance internship interview, I already knew what the job entailed and that got my foot in the door. That in turn, led to my job today.”
Boston University School of Management students Kate Blaes (BSBA’13), Michael Ely (BSBA’14), and Christine Yi (BSBA’15) won second place in the fifth annual Principled Business Leadership Institute’s Case Competition in Philadelphia last weekend, taking home a scholarship prize of $750.
Representing BU’s Nu Chapter of co-educational business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi (AKP), chapter president Blaes and members Ely and Yi completed a market analysis and forecasted financials on a Harvard Business School case. Teams from the University of Pennsylvania’s Epsilon Rho Chapter placed first and third in the competition.
The AKP Foundation sponsored the members-only competition, where teams from thirteen chapters participated. The competition is designed to prepare students for future managerial positions by introducing them to the challenges of decision making and giving them first-hand experience in analyzing business situations. The competition is part of the Principled Business Leader’s Institute, a weekend-long educational business conference for AKP affiliates.
Blaes, Ely, and Yi were given one month to solve the fictional case study and presented their findings in a 20-minute presentation to a panel of four judges, followed by a 15-minute Q&A. They also submitted a four-page business plan detailing their assessment and recommendations of the case, in which they had to decide whether or not an independent hotel in Zurich should become a franchisee of a branded hotel.
“We essentially dissected the case, went on to forecast the financials,” said Blaes, an accounting and finance concentrator, “and then did a very thorough market research of the hospitality industry and hotel valuation index. We wanted to incorporate the area in which the case was going to fall because we knew there would be a Q&A session and didn’t want to base our findings only on financials.”
Associate Professor Jeffrey Furman of the School of Management strategy department, and a chapter faculty brother, advised the group. “Professor Furman had the idea of explaining pros and cons of the situation rather than just giving our recommendations. This gave us the advantage of being objective about everything,” said Yi, a law concentrator.
“We applied a lot of the things we learned in SMG when preparing the case. SMG teaches you how to efficiently communicate with words, especially with PowerPoint and visuals. You learn how to speak about what matters,” added Ely.
The $750 scholarship prize will go towards the Nu Chapter’s own case competition, created by SMG faculty. The competition is slated to take place this spring and is open to all BU students. The winning team of the Nu Chapter Case Competition will claim a prize ranging from $1,000 to $2,000.