From Holy Cross to ESTEEM

Author: Gene Stowe

From Holy Cross: Keegan McCabe ('18) and Jon Malish ('18)From Holy Cross: Keegan McCabe ('18) and Jon Malish ('18)

Keegan McCabe and Jon Malish were both chemistry majors at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., near Boston, but they took different tracks to their degree. Keegan took economics and premed classes as well as playing sports, participating in the finance club, and conducting research. Jon was more focused on the premed track – interning in a clinic and for a doctor and studying for the MCAT – although he played some sports and tutored elementary students in downtown Worcester. They wound up in ESTEEM together after Keegan told Jon about the program that offered the perfect next step for both.

“I fell in love with what they were doing,” says Jon, who wanted to integrate a qualitative skill set into his quantitative background. “You’re getting out there with the capstone thesis, with our side projects, you’re feeling out what entrepreneurship is, what business might be, you’re gaining experience in the field of business as well as talking to people and building your network.”

“You don’t come to ESTEEM just to take the classes,” Keegan says. “There’s so much more to learn from. You go out and work with a company making problem-solving decisions, not just going over case in class. You have internship opportunities. You live a day-to-day lifestyle of building techniques and skills, getting experience and background. We pretty much have an innovation sandbox for a year.”

Keegan’s capstone project with Coast Southwest, a California-based chemical research company, involves identifying the best fit for a disruptive product in the cosmetics industry. “We know we have some great technology, but we don’t know the best way to apply it.” He is also working as an entrepreneurial lead at The IDEA Center, validating and de-risking medical device startup companies, and he’s involved in the Investment Club and Consulting Club.

Jon’s capstone, based on a professor’s research, involves a sensitive diagnostic device that can provide early detection of certain cancers through a blood screening. “It’s incredibly early right now,” he says. “We’re verifying that the technology works and talking to vendors about producing or licensing the technology. My role is to do that market validation, proving there’s a need and trying to quantify what that market is and if we can integrate our product successfully.” He’s also doing an internship for enFocus with Healthy Points community nutrition program as well as de-risking for Startup South Bend-Elkhart.

Jon and Keegan also work with a group of ESTEEM classmates on a new backpack design in its early stages. The opportunities and connections at Notre Dame are far more extensive than their undergraduate experience, they say.

“By comparison to Holy Cross, it is definitely a lot bigger,” Jon says. “People have been really helpful – the alumni network, career services, Inside ND, GoIrish. That’s been huge in my process of looking for jobs right now.”

Keegan is leaning toward working in an established ecosystem in consulting, strategy, or technical consulting within management consulting where he can learn from experienced workers where he can learn different business strategies and management styles from experienced leaders.

Jon hasn’t ruled out medical school, but he’s also interested in the consulting space.

“I want to look for something that combines health care and business,” he says. “I’m learning I like these big-picture solutions.”