The arrival of ESTEEM back on campus after our famed Silicon Valley trip happened in something of a whirlwind. Many students spent extra time in the Valley attending job interviews, networking, and exploring some of the Bay Area’s finer cultural points including the Golden Gate Bridge and niche restaurants like The Cheese Board. In my case I did just that and after arriving Sunday morning to my humble apartment, felt it was time to get back down to business.
The end of our ESTEEM career is fast approaching with graduation less than 8 weeks away! For all of us in the Program, this means but one thing: The Thesis Defense (*dun dun duuu*). As a quick overview, each ESTEEM’er prepares a thesis document on the order of 100 pages that delves into a variety of business and technical aspects related to their project. In order to pass the Program, this document culminates in a 75-minute presentation and Q&A session in front of the project leaders and ESTEEM faculty members. In likeness to many graduate and doctoral programs, this process involves being grilled until everyone is satisfied the student did the due diligence to arrive at the appropriate conclusion. As a result, this whole week the Program has been abuzz with whispers and anxieties, exclamations and hypotheticals, and of course jokes; all related to this harrowing process.
Time will tell how this year’s defenses pan out, but I have the utmost confidence in this Program’s participants. This isn’t just because I am in the thick of it, I have seen each and every individual, all of my peers, take leaps and bounds in their projects as they have matured academically. Each has learned and grown from a fledgling student of entrepreneurship to an ambassador for customer-centric design and business development; something that is bound to serve not only the companies we work for, but also the customers we serve.
ESTEEM has been an educational ride, and it’s not over yet, but certainly the swan song has begun and there is something special in that. A certain light and levity permeates our ranks and our bond has thus strengthened into something formidable and lasting. We move into the next chapters of our lives not as disparate individuals, but as a team; a new and powerful unit of the mighty Notre Dame family!