Sam Miller, director of the Gigot Center for Entrepreneurship at the Mendoza College of Business, has seen ESTEEM students place high and succeed in winning prize money in the prestigious McCloskey Business Plan Competition. He was a judge for several ESTEEM students’ thesis projects last spring. Next spring, he’ll start teaching in the program, bringing his broad background that includes a Fortune 100 company, a family startup, and an innovative sustainability consulting firm.
Miller, a Chicagoland native who earned a bachelor’s in economics at the University of Illinois and an MBA at the University of Michigan, worked in strategic planning for a $10 billion IT company that was the result of a recent merger of two $5 billion companies. He joined a family start up in northern Indiana in the early 1990s and worked until it was sold in 2004. Then Miller went to Northwestern University, earned a Master of Science in Product Development Engineering, and joined JF New, a growing scientific company consulting in sustainability. Business Week listed him as one of “21 People Who Will Change Business” in 2009.
He taught part-time in Strategic Foresight, a new requirement for all junior business majors at Notre Dame, and transitioned to a full-time teaching position four years ago. Miller, who became director of the Gigot Center last month, teaches strategy, innovation, and entrepreneurship to undergraduates, MBA students and Executive MBA students. His experience with ESTEEM students attracted him to take a teaching role in the program.
“I’ve met a lot of them,” he says. “I think it’s a great program. It has a lot in common with the Northwestern master’s that I did. These are really sharp technical students that are looking to commercialize a technology. That’s the crossroads of technology and business and ESTEEM is giving these guys an immersion into that. I think it’s going to be really cool to help them take a technological idea and validate that there is a market for it, that anybody wants it. Is there a product-market fit and what is the launch plan? To me, that’s where the action is. I’m looking forward to it.”