|The Bomb Squad: (left to right) Matt DiStefano '12, Carly Ferris '12, Joanna Lippert '12, moi, Vivi Zhuang '12. Not pictured: Anna Wascher '12.|
On Friday, December 16, five teams of MBA candidates matched off to compete for bragging rights and a cash prize in Fulton 511. This competition marked the culmination of MPIII: Business Planning and Entrepreneurship – a required course taught by Professor Gregory Stoller for all full-time second year graduate students. Teams may originate their own business concept or partner with outside entrepreneurs and companies to further develop their ideas. Ultimately, each team is responsible for completing a full-length plan incorporating management-practice knowledge and concepts explored in such classes as financial management, marketing, operations, and business strategy. In addition, each team must present a five-minute elevator pitch to a panel of judges comprised of local business professionals who will, in turn, select the aforementioned five teams to present their full plans within the frame of a 15 minute presentation followed by ten minutes of questions and answers.
|In the field doing market research.|
This blog entry would have been considerably shorter had my team not been lucky enough to be selected to go to the finals. Partnering with TBS Technologies, our team presented a plan for a unit that is designed to release chlorine dioxide gas to decontaminate spaces such as biosafety cabinets. With one press of a button, this device is proven to be 99.9999% (yes, that’s six nines!) effective in such situations. The biggest challenge for our team was finding the appropriate environment to launch this device. While chlorine dioxide is a perfect compound for decontamination, it can also be deadly. Good luck marketing this device to housewives looking for a quick clean. “Step 3: Run for Your Life” certainly seemed like a barrier to entry in the consumer product goods sector. That being said, bioscience professionals working in secured, laboratory settings seemed like the perfect users for such a cleaning process.
In the end, The Bomb Squad (our only partially satirical self-assigned team name) took top prize at the competition. The former theatre major in me would like to think it was the verfremdungseffekt that won over the judges. (Did I just use the German phrase for a theatrical distancing effect in a business school blog?) Or perhaps it was the Mighty Duck’s Flying V formation that swayed the votes? (Who doesn’t root for the underdog?) Brechtian staging and subliminal messaging aside, our team came together in the final hours to deliver an admirable 85 page business plan and a knowledgeable presentation.
This victory came as quite a surprise to us and was met with much humility. Personally, I was blown away by the innovation, intelligence, poise, and eloquence of my fellow classmates. Some of the other projects from the semester included a Lebron James line of school supplies, a tablet-based device for placing orders and making payments in restaurants, and a Catholic school management consulting company. My personal favorite was from the team who brought us high-tech microwavable dishware that is designed to keep your dinner warm for up to 30 minutes. Presented in the form of an infomercial parody, the pedagogical structure of the demonstration was honestly quite brilliant. Ryan Traeger ‘12 gave a breakout performance as an entrepreneur schlepping his dishware on a home shopping program. Though an indisputable spoof, Ryan played the comedy straight and refrained from commenting on the material (a trap even the most popular comic actors fall into!). With delivery this good, I was ready to buy my HotSpot Microwavable Dishware on the way out the door.
|The Flying V - the epitome of teamwork.|