Students in the Professional Science Master’s (PSM) program know that we push them to reach new heights and step outside their comfort zones. All Master of Business and Science students finish their degrees by completing a Capstone project, where they work in groups to choose an intellectual property and develop a business plan to take it to market. The course, led by Dr. Tom Bryant, urges students to exercise their scientific curiosity and entrepreneurial spirit.  

On February 16th and 17th, the PSM program held its second Capstone retreat. Over 70 students in the Capstone course joined Dr Bryant at the Inn and over Zoom for a weekend of workshops, team meetings, field trips, and fun.  

professor standing at podium

Informative Experiences 

Students broke into their teams and met with coaches and instructors. Students experienced different workshops throughout Friday and Saturday. Dr. Bryant led a workshop on Friday morning, pushing students to generate innovative ideas.  

He instructed students to gather “research materials” from a collection of food items. In groups, students chose a single material and generated fifty new product ideas in five minutes. Dr. Bryant attributed the exercise to Tony Robbins, an author, coach, and speaker.  

bowls of chocolate and candy

Next, students chose a new object and repeated the exercise a second, then a third time. With each iteration, students generated more ideas faster. Dr. Bryant also encouraged students to pick their best ideas and perform “market research,” where students voted on what they’d purchase.  

The Capstone retreat offered students a chance to exchange ideas and stay on top of emerging trends. PSM Executive Director Dr. Deborah Silver shared tech trends for 2024—highlighting artificial intelligence and its effect on the workplace. Students also shared trends within their individual industries. 

Throughout the retreat, students were treated to more workshops and heard from experienced entrepreneurs.  

In the Field 

At the PSM program, we encourage our students to learn through first-hand experience. On Friday, Dr. Bryant invited students to choose from a series of field trips. He chose locations that act as nodes in the science and business ecosystem. These organizations and locations encourage curiosity and scientific thinking. Here are the locations students visited:  

  • Thomas Edison Museum at Menlo Park. Students learned about legendary inventor Thomas Edison, finding out about his journey, impact, and lasting legacy.  
  • Food Innovation Center (FIC). Under the guidance of Dr. Paul Takhistov, students learned what to keep in mind when creating food innovations and how the FIC supports established early-stage entrepreneurs and existing food companies. 
  • GlassRoots. Located in Newark, New Jersey, GlassRoots provides services for youths, including Youth Entrepreneurship programs.  
  • Livingston and Busch campus. Students had the option to join Dr. Silver for a walking tour of the beautiful Livingston and Busch campuses at Rutgers—New Brunswick. The tour included stops at the Rutgers Makerspace on Livingston and the PSM office in the SERC building on Busch. 

Students who could not join us in person took trips of their own. One student explored the platform Google Arts and Culture to view virtual exhibits, including the National Inventors Hall of Fame Museum

Why a Capstone Retreat? 

This is the second Capstone retreat (the first was in fall 2023) that PSM has hosted. It was held in a hybrid format—we invited students to join both in-person, at the Rutgers University Inn and Conference Center, and online via Zoom.  

The retreat is intended to facilitate connections between students. After many hours of virtual classes, students realize they’re missing face-to-face interactions with their peers.  

By allowing students to meet and work together in this retreat, students are better able to trust their teammates and grow their professional networks.  

“The Capstone retreat provided a refreshing opportunity to forge meaningful connections within our newly formed teams in a landscape dominated by virtual meetings,” said Capstone student Pushpadantgiri Goswami. “Through engaging workshops, insightful expert panels, and enriching field trips, we strengthened our team synergy and deepened our knowledge of transforming scientific innovation into thriving business ventures.” 

Good luck to all Capstone students as they complete the course! Save the date: Capstone presentations will be held on April 30th and May 1st, 2024. 

Author(s): Julianna Rossano Published on: 02/23/2024
Tags: capstone, Live Event