Even though the semester is winding down, there is never a dull moment here at ESTEEM! Every week brings a new challenge, and I’m excited to share with you my most recent ESTEEM adventures.
Before I get started, a bit about myself: I am a native of San Antonio, TX, and graduate of the University of Notre Dame (’18). In college, I majored in Science-Business, a course of study that combines a comprehensive life sciences education with business classes, and received a minor in Science, Technology, and Values. I also played on the women’s varsity soccer team (Go Irish!!). Through ESTEEM, I have been able to pursue my interests in healthcare, business development, strategy, and design thinking.
Aside from the technical electives we take through various departments within the university, all of our ESTEEM classes are in the late afternoon and early evening. This schedule allows us to keep our business hours open for capstone project work, pursuing side projects, or networking. As a result, I spent the majority of my Monday answering emails, studying, finishing assignments, and preparing for the week ahead.
During Business Law, my first class of the day, we discussed invention ownership (which is less straightforward than one would think!), trademarks, and copyrights. Although most of us will not go on to become lawyers, our B-Law class provides a fantastic foundation for understanding important intellectual property considerations involved in developing new technologies within a startup or corporation.
Our evening class today was Finance. In our lesson about capital budgeting, we learned techniques and metrics that evaluate projects requiring significant capital expenditure and discussed how we can identify which initiatives should be incorporated into a business’ strategy.
After a busy day of work and classes, I ended my night with a workout in the gym at the Duncan Student Center.
I spent Tuesday morning answering emails and working through my to-do list of chores at my apartment. Around mid-day, I had my tech elective: Forecasting and Predictive Analytics. Today, we learned about classification models, one of the most common and powerful tools used in predictive analytics. Our homework assignment was to develop a classification model to predict the quality of a bottle of wine based on various characteristics, such as acidity and sugar and alcohol content.
Later that day, we had our very first session of our Corporate Innovation class. This course is taught by Notre Dame alumnus Mike Bechtel, who works at Deloitte. Through this class, we will learn about intrapreneurship. Intrapreneurship involves undertaking entrepreneurial initiatives within the four walls of a big corporation. Over the course of my experience at ESTEEM, classes like Corporate Innovation have helped me realize that entrepreneurship is not limited to the startup world. According to Jean-Baptiste Say, “The entrepreneur shifts economic resources out of an area of lower and into an area of higher productivity and greater yield.” I’m not entirely sure what my next step is after ESTEEM, but I know the entrepreneurial mindset and tool kit I’m developing here will open many doors for me no matter what path I take.
Our last class that evening was Technical Marketing. Instead of our normal class session, we heard a presentation from Brian Bar, co-founder and CEO of Victory Lap, a sales education company. Victory Lap provides training and coaching for sales professionals and partners with a vast network of firms to help them source top sales talent.
After another day filled with phone calls, work, and meetings, I attended our two Wednesday classes: Business Law and Launch Strategy.
Our Launch Strategy class is a two-semester deep-dive into venture creation. After learning about quantified value proposition development and product-market fit, we are now exploring customer relationship-building strategies. According to the get-keep-grow model, the cheapest new customer a firm can acquire is one it already has! In this sense, businesses must learn to not only acquire customers but also retain and develop a longstanding relationship with them.
After class, I headed over to the library for a night of more studying and work.
I got an early start to my Thursday in order to finish my game notes ahead of the Notre Dame men’s soccer first round NCAA match against the Wright State Raiders. Although I no longer play competitive soccer, I’ve stayed involved with the sport as a student broadcaster for Fighting Irish Media. I serve as the color commentator on the broadcasts for some of the men’s and women’s home soccer games. Prior to each match, I conduct in-depth research about the teams and players. While on air, I broadcast alongside the play-by-play commentator, providing key insights and analysis about the game, soccer strategy, and coach and player performance.
Next, I had a meeting with my marketing group to work on our strategy for the next quarter in our marketing simulation game. Through the simulation, we are competing against our classmates to market and sell 3D-printed carbon fiber bikes in sales outlets around the world. This game has given us hands-on experience in managing brands, developing multimedia advertising plans, strategic pricing, and managing sales channels.
Before heading to campus for class, I met up with a friend from undergrad at Starbucks to catch up. As a future Double Domer, hanging around campus an extra year has allowed me to remain in touch with several of my friends from college who either still live in the area or visit campus for football games.
After class, I joined my Fighting Irish Media colleagues for our broadcast review. We had the privilege of having our tapes critiqued by Kathryn Tappen, a sportscaster with NBC Sports Group (Irish fans will recognize her from ND home games on TV!), and Pierre Moossa, a coordinating producer with NBC Sports Group. Kathryn and Pierre gave us insightful, constructive feedback about our on-camera performances.
Once the review ended, my broadcast partner, David, and I headed over to Alumni Stadium for the men’s soccer game. In an exciting, high scoring match, Wright State upset ND 3-2 to clinch their first ever NCAA tournament win.
Led by Dr. Chuck Meakin, a fitness guru and fellow classmate, several of us ESTEEMers kicked off our Friday morning with a workout in the Duncan Student Center. Afterwards, I ventured over to Innovation Park for our morning coffee chat. Throughout the semester, ESTEEM has invited accomplished entrepreneurs and alumni to speak to our class about their professional experiences and ventures. This week we heard from Dr. Kevin Tracey, a neurosurgeon, inventor, and president and CEO of the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research. Dr. Tracey spoke about his work with bioelectronic medicine within the context of the history of medical innovation. His talk prompted a thought-provoking Q&A about the discrepancy between the rate of innovation versus the rate of adoption, which led to a discussion about the future of healthcare and medicine amid growing technological change.
After our coffee chat, I attended the Notre Dame IDEA Center Innovation Rally, a lunch and speaker series that occurs every Friday before home football games. At the last Innovation Rally of the year, Dr. Ailis Tweed-Kent, a Notre Dame alumna, Harvard Medical School graduate, and physician-entrepreneur spoke about her company, Cocoon Biotech Inc. Dr. Tweed-Kent and her team at Cocoon are utilizing silk as a material science platform to produce a wide range of products within healthcare, agriculture, and the consumer goods industry. After her talk, I attended a discussion session hosted by Dr. Tweed-Kent just for ESTEEM students. As an aspiring female entrepreneur, I enjoyed meeting Dr. Tweed-Kent and learning about her pursuit of a career that that melds her scientific and business interests.
It was a rather chilly day, but that didn’t stop us from celebrating the last home football game of the year! After donning two pairs of socks and several layers of Notre Dame gear, I headed out to the stadium lot to meet up with my ESTEEM pals at tailgates. As two of the top Catholic football schools in the country, Notre Dame and Boston College are big-time rivals. It was awesome to see ND record yet another victory against BC in the Holy Wars with a huge 40-7 win!
After a busy week of classes and work, I took it easy on Sunday. I slept in, did some chores around the house, and eventually made my way over to campus to get some homework done. I ended the weekend with an indoor soccer game at Soccer Zone in Granger, IN, where I play on a women’s team with some friends who live in the area. After a tight first half, the scoring flood gates burst open in the second and we won by a wide margin.
Looking ahead to this week and the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, I’m excited to travel back home to celebrate with my family and enjoy some well-deserved time-off before final exams and projects heat up! Thanks for following along on my week in ESTEEM!