Outside the Classroom

ESTEEM delivers out-of-the-building learning opportunities that channel the University's resources into a hands-on, personal educational experience for each student.  


During the school year, each ESTEEM cohort has several opportunities to leave South Bend as a group. In mid-January, students begin their Spring semester with an all-day trip to Chicago. While in the Windy City, the class visits several startup or early-stage companies, an accelerator or tech co-working space, and closes the day gathering with ESTEEM alumni at the University's facility in the Loop.

Over Spring Break, the entire class travels for a week to Silicon Valley and San Francisco, CA. While there, students network and hear from many leaders in the Valley, tour several companies, shadow industry leaders in various settings to get a "day-in-the-life" experience and gain first-hand knowledge of the Silicon Valley business culture.

Student Competitions and Events

Throughout their year in ESTEEM, students are able to take advantage of several competitions and and student-run events, including the McCloskey New Venture Competition, the University's signature pitch competition. Other opportunities are available to ESTEEM students through the IDEA Center and its Student Entrepreneurship programming.

Additionally, ESTEEM students may be given the opportunity to leave South Bend and attend conferences relevant to their capstone project work.  For example, in 2018, a student attended the 44th NSBE Conference in Pittsburgh, PA, and in 2019, two students competed at the MIT Sports Analytics Conference with their McCloskey Venture.

Guest Speakers

Another "outside the classroom" experience for students are the guest speaker events that are an integral part of the ESTEEM student's week. During each semester, speakers are welcomed to Innovation Park and have the opportunity to share with students about their industry and career from an innovator or entrepreneurial perspective. The list is long, but past speakers have included:

Field Trips

At least once a semester, each ESTEEM class "gets out of the building" and takes a field trip in the South Bend area. Here, they see first-hand how a startup or early stage company is working, are exposed to an extremely successful multi-million dollar international business that had its beginnings here in northern Indiana, or have the opportunity to visit a local mixed-use technology campus that houses, among other tenants, an ESTEEM-founded non-profit that "brings together recent graduates with organizations in need of fresh energy, innovative solutions, and creative collaboration."