MBS Students Showcase Their Business Development Skills and Lessons Learned Through Internships

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Students Pitch Business Plans to Investors at the Spring Capstone Venture Event

On Tuesday May 3, 2016 Rutgers Masters of Business and Science students came together to pitch their plans to a set of judges and other "investors", which include corporate representatives, real world angel investors, and MBS professors, alumni, and students. Professor Tom Bryant kicked off the evening by explaining what the audience could expect. Students, he explained, provide comprehensive presentations that include an overview of the product, its purpose, and the target market. Students also share the results of financial and market analyses. The presentations also include an overview of the development timeline for the products and the estimated financial returns. Finally, students ask investors for the amounts they need and describe the benefits and returns.


 

The products student teams presented this year spanned multiple categories, from wearables to new food products, brain-sensing technologies and others. For example, the Tacticool team explained how their shirt can keep emergency responders cool in extreme heat; the Theraponics team discussed their vision for a horticulture therapy program that brings plant growing indoors, where vulnerable populations can access the therapeutic benefits of growing plants while indoors; and the Revolutionary Optics group discussed their two-way RFID system to transit sensor information from contact lenses to help those who suffer from dry eye syndrome and other disorders. Student teams also showcased many other innovative ideas and business plans.
 

The judges’ final comments included many congratulatory comments such as, “It's clear you put a lot of work into this.”, “I loved the enthusiasm!”, “As an alum I come to see how the course is improving. You never disappoint!” and the tried-and-true, “You did a great job.”  But while students love praise (who doesn’t!), they were also eager to hear constructive advice from the investors. Remarks included, “Remember, investors love to invest in people more than ideas. You need to focus on the management team…focus on giving us more information about YOU!”, “Make sure the proof of concept is doable.” , and “Most sophisticated investors interested in the proprietary issues and how you can keep control of your product, so be sure to cover that information.”.  Finally, a representative from the Rutgers Office of Research Commercialization, Chris Pflaum, offered, “If you are interested in taking the idea to the next level, especially if it is Rutgers intellectual property, contact us and we will help you.”

A number of the student teams were judged as winners in several categories. The Sustein team, which pitched a company focused on a new plant-based protein, won the award for overall presentation quality. Holsym, another protein-based business, and Microfab, an affordable 3-d printer that uses multiple materials, were runners up. There were two co winners on overall technical presentation, including Genees, a company that would create ready-to-use therapeutic food to high standards, and Microfab. There were also two co-winners for the Rick Lurking award, which is given to those teams that pitched the most viable business ideas.  These included Theraponics, the horticulture therapy company, and Sustein. Holsym, Genees, and Multifab had honorable mentions in this category.  Overall, it was obvious the choice was difficult for the judges.

MBS Students Learn Valuable Lessons from Internships

MBS students who participated in internships also presented about their internships at the end of the semester.  The presentations were well-attended, attracting other MBS students and several internship supervisors from industry. Student internships spanned a wide range of concentrations, roles, and companies.  For example, MBS student James Kim is helping a team at Ortho Clinical Diagnostics to develop new analytics capacity that can help them predict – and hopefully prevent – consumer complaints about products.  Another student, Zico Jap, let the audience taste his new frozen dessert that he developed during his lab-based internship.  He and a partner have launched a business to sell the new creamy dessert, which uses “good” fats and fiber to provide a low sugar alternative to ice cream for kids and adults. Radhika Shah, who had experience as a Pharmacist in Mumbai, worked with Aurex labs on a quality control project. Other students worked at companies including L’Oreal, IFF, Chromocell, J&J and others.

Some key lessons students noted that they learned during their internships included:

  • Effective delegation is sometimes critical to building trust

  • Its ok to not know something; you can learn by observation; learn to unlearn; if you lack knowledge, ask questions!

  • Following up and saying thank you can go a long way toward building effective relationships

  • Sitting with others to see how they work can build trust

  • Your boss is your best friend

  • If you have an opinion share it

  • An internship can offer a great opportunity to look at data from business perspective

  • Many companies are going through a big paradigm shift

  • Shadowing people can help you learn

  • You can land an internship by networking at industry events (e.g. Suppliers’ Day for Cosmetic Chemists)

  • You can learn about new career paths that you did not know existed

Students also discussed the MBS courses and other supports that were most helpful to them in completing successful internships. These included:

  • Communication and Leadership

  • Ethics

  • Big data curation

  • Cloud computing

  • Finance and accounting

  • Python

  • Food Business Innovation