I started my week off the right way- with a hearty breakfast! My parents flew in over the weekend for the football game versus Virginia Tech and were staying at the Morris Inn on campus, so I joined in on their hotel breakfast. Then I said my goodbyes and met with my group for our Business Law and Intellectual Property class. Each class, two groups are selected to present what was learned in the previous class. We were given a patent example about a new type of scalpel and had to determine if it was eligible to be patented. The rest of my afternoon was spent doing research for my capstone and also doing a little bit of studying for our first quiz in our Entrepreneurial Finance class. After Business Law & IP class at 3pm, I went to Entrepreneurial Finance where we learned about financial statement analysis and watched The Profit to see how it is applied in real businesses. Class finished for the day at 7pm and I headed to my apartment for a quick relaxation break to eat dinner and watch Schitt’s Creek. The rest of the night was spent doing what a student should: homework.
My day started with a 9am meeting with Professor Farrington, who is our Business Law and Intellectual Property professor, to get guidance on one of our capstone deliverables, which is an Intellectual Property report. My proposed capstone solution is a software platform, which is not patentable in most instances, so Professor Farrington helped me identify what regulatory issues and liabilities I could speak about in my report. I took some time after our meeting to get a jump start on our second Launch Strategy homework revolving around value creation assessment, which is due next Wednesday. From there, I rode my bike back to my apartment for an 11am conference call with Baxter to continue our work on the technology landscape we are building surrounding the proposed software solution for the project. From 12:30-1:45pm, I was in Business Forecasting and Predictive Analytics with Dr. Barry Keating. This class is my technical elective and we spent the day learning about data mining and what diagnostics statistics can be used to evaluate data mining models. I suggest the class if you are interested in data science, or in finance and building forecasting models to make market predications for companies. Following class, a quick lunch break was taken back at my apartment and then I was off to meet with my technical marketing group to make decisions on a live market place simulation. Each week we are given different tasks with the goal of virtually creating, branding and marketing carbon-fiber bicycles. We compete against our classmates and it helps us put into practice all of the techniques we learn about in marketing. That meeting was cut short in order for me to attend a meeting from 4-5pm on blockchain and anti-money laundering with Ben Hoggan at the IDEA Center. Working for the IDEA Center is my student job, where I am an Entrepreneurial Lead and get to work on different projects assessing markets and performing customer interviews to validate the market potential. From 5:30-6:45pm we had an ESTEEM class in Technical Marketing with Mike Kitz. Directly from class, I quickly ran over to club rugby practice from 7-8pm, despite it being near freezing. Typically, on Tuesday evenings I will have an intramural flag football game after practice, but since we are the number one seed in the co-ed graduate student league, we had a by-week! So, immediately after practice I headed home for a shower and dinner and then it was back to the grind of preparing for the 2 exams, 2 projects and capstone presentation I have early next week.
Wednesday morning started slow with a nice breakfast, coffee and some YouTube. I did a bit of Entrepreneurial Lead work by searching for interview candidates who work in the anti-money laundering field. At 10am I had a conference capstone call with Baxter. I got the chance to speak with Baxter’s resident neonatologist from Belgium who answered questions I had on potential applications of neonatal and NICU specific software solutions. After the call, I took time to search and apply for post-graduation jobs. Since I did not have my first class of the day until 3:30pm, and then had class until 6:45, I took the rest of the afternoon to workout, shower and eat lunch. In Business Law and Intellectual Property today we had a guest speaker from the law school who taught us how to use Google Patents to search for patents. After class, I walked with two of my friends Tara and Kalyn to Chipotle to grab dinner before Launch Strategy started at 5:30pm. In Launch Strategy we learned about revenue streams and pricing tactics. Both are applicable to help build our launch strategy for our capstone projects and their associated offerings. I returned to my apartment and had a surprise package from a friend who sent me vintage Notre Dame sweatshirts and I facetimed him for a bit to decompress after class. I spent the rest of the night studying for Business Forecasting, writing this blog, and working on our second Launch Strategy homework.
Today was an exciting day! Baxter Healthcare was celebrating World Prematurity Day (real day is November 17th) and they invited me to join their third Global Neonatal Symposium. I drove out to Baxter’s Deerfield, Illinois campus for the festivities. Deerfield is just one of Baxter’s many national and international locations. I enjoyed lunch in their cafeteria with an employee who I have been working closely with to build a neonatal software technology landscape. Next, we went to the symposium, which was introduced by Baxter’s resident neonatologist Thibault Senterre who came from Belgium, and who I had just been on a conference call with the day prior. We also heard from Silke Mader who is the Chairwoman and Co-founder of the European Foundation for the Care of Newborn Infants (EFCNI) who spoke about her personal struggle with having a child born preterm and her personal mission to standardize care across the globe for premature infants. Silke was followed by Dr. Aaron Hamvas who is a Neonatology Professor of Pediatrics and Neonatology at Northwestern University’s Fienberg School of Medicine. Dr. Hamvas shared some of the research that is underway at Northwestern to bring better care to premature infants. The rest of the “work day” was spent sitting in on an open discussion between Dr. Hamvas, Dr. Senterre, Silke Mader, and various other Baxter employees who work with neonates, or work within their clinical nutrition global business unit. Listening to experts with years of experience in the neonatal space further opened my eyes to the endless list of struggles that preterm babies suffer from, and consequently, what their parents suffer through. Then I made the 3 hour drive home through Chicago traffic at rush hour. The night routine followed that of every other day this week.
Friday morning began with an Entrepreneurial Lead meeting to go over some of the 4-cylinder research methods. The 4-cylinder is the fourth stage of de-risking at the Idea Center for inventions that come through the commercialization engine at Notre Dame. After my meeting I had a customer validation interview for my capstone project. I spoke with a post-doctoral researcher who went to Notre Dame and focused on neonatal and pediatric research. This was my first of 50 customer interviews that I will need to do for the validation portion of my capstone, but already just from 1 interview I have gained new insights on where to go with my project so I look forward to setting up more. I spent the rest of the day at Innovation Park creating my fall capstone presentation that I have to present next Wednesday. I enjoy doing work at IP since there is always fellow ESTEEM students there and chatting with them as they come and go makes for good breaks. After finishing my presentation, I called it a night, deciding to value sleep over fun since this was a weekend without football, I figured I should use the extra weekend time to rest.
Saturday did not begin until 10am when I woke up and I spent from 10am to 3pm cleaning my entire apartment, going grocery shopping, working out, making food, etc. At 3pm I met up with one of my close ESTEEM friends, Tara, to work on finance homework, which took 2 hours. Then I went back to my apartment to eat dinner and then I returned to Tara’s to watch the Notre Dame versus Duke football game on TV. This turned into us watching the Twilight marathon on TV instead which we watched despite being pained by the horrible acting. After New Moon came to end, I headed out to my friend’s apartment from the rugby team to finish watching the football game and to do some team bonding.
I did not leave my apartment building once today and I am not ashamed of it. The day was well spent talking to a crowd of 0 while practicing for my fall presentation. Time was also spent applying to jobs, studying for my Business Forecasting exam and for my Business Law and Intellectual Property exam. My Sunday was also filled with some self-care which included painting my nails, working out, doing a facemask, and making myself some stir-fry. Reflecting on my week, Monday feels like forever ago and another Monday will be here tomorrow to start an even busier week – but, as always, I look forward to all of it.