My Week in ESTEEM: Oct 31 - Nov 5

Author: Elizabeth "EB" Conklin Reyes

EB Conklin ReyesEB Conklin Reyes

In ESTEEM, every week presents a new set of experiences and this past week has been no exception. From fun get-togethers and football games to classes and meetings, the last seven days have had a bit of everything.

The week began on the day before Halloween. That morning, my group from our marketing class met to go through our decisions for MarketPlace Live, an online simulation where we launch a computer company competing against other teams in the class. Heading into the virtual fourth quarter, we analyzed market research, chose where to open new offices, adjusted our product features for each market segment, and more, until we were satisfied with our choices. Following that, I went to my technical elective (Design and Fabrication) and then our IP and Business Law course. That evening was the most fun, as a couple of my classmates hosted a Halloween party. With everyone in costumes (I showed up as Wonder Woman) and with festive apple cider on the stove, it was an excellent change of pace and a rare treat during the week.

The following day was less eventful with Marketing as our only class, but with the due date for the next two chapters of our thesis coming up, I was able to get a significant amount of work done. On Wednesday the pace picked up again, starting with an appointment at Notre Dame’s mental health center to make sure I set myself up for success and continue to take care of both my mental and physical well-being. Following my appointment, classes for the day began. We had IP and Business Law again, but we had an expert guest speaker give us a crash course on patent searching. Immediately following was our class on Launch Strategy where we covered different revenue models and pricing strategies (pro-tip: never price based on costs).

Although we do not technically have classes for ESTEEM on Thursday and Friday, both days were filled with various meetings and events. I began Thursday by utilizing our graduate career advisor, Lisa Michaels, and met to go over my resume and cover letters for advice on how to make them more attractive to prospective employers. After our session was finished, I rushed over to Innovation Park for a meeting with everyone who had done recruiting over the fall break to discuss how it went. Most of us, myself included, had returned to our alma maters to recruit for ESTEEM, and shared the experiences we had talking to prospective students. Afterwards, I continued to work on my thesis until it was time to meet with a law student specializing in patent law who had volunteered to give workshops in patent searching.

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The main event of Friday was the Innovation Rally that is hosted by the IDEA Center at Innovation Park every home-game Friday. At these rallies, people involved in business and innovation come together for lunch and to hear from keynote speakers across industry. This week’s rally was especially exciting for me as the speaker was someone whose work was very inspiring to me: Amicus Therapeutics’ chairman and CEO, John F. Crowley. After looking forward to the rally all week, it was incredible to hear from Crowley himself. His story is one of overcoming odds through persistence and innovation and his advice for other leaders and entrepreneurs was well thought out and insightful, applicable to people at every stage of their career. Following the rally, one couldn’t help but to be inspired and I returned to my work with renewed vigor. After spending more time working on my thesis and studying (and maybe napping), I dragged my husband out into the cold for the first of many times that weekend to join me in watching the midnight drum circle. Although we were both severely underdressed for midnight in Indiana, we had a great time and left to get snacks for tailgating before the Wake Forest game.

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When Saturday morning came, however, the rainy weather had come in full force. Although we had been warned, we were again unprepared for the elements and instead ate our snacks at home before leaving. Still, my excitement was uncontainable as this was the only opportunity we’d had since coming to South Bend to go to a football game together. I had acquired two tickets (actual seats rather than my student ticket) and a parking pass the day before and intended to use it. Sitting across the field from the student sections was a special experience as I got to see my classmates lifting each other up after each touchdown made by our winning football team. As we defrosted at home later, I recounted the game to my tired husband who had been there beside me until he distracted me with the proposition of going to the mall to begin Christmas shopping the next day. Overall, this week was both particularly cold, but also particularly fun-filled.