My Week in ESTEEM - Week 4

Author: Mark Roche

Mark RocheMark Roche

Welcome to "My Week in ESTEEM" where students reflect upon their experience in the program.  This week's blog is brought to us by Mark Roche, a current Naughton fellow, who discusses the more networking opportunities, work on his thesis, a new volunteer opportunity, and two Irish victories!

With the excitement of the career fairs and our capstone thesis chapter one deadline over, we may have expected some reprieve. Not so with the fast-paced startup world, and not so with the ESTEEM program! In saying this, the constant deliverables ensure that there isn't too much of a crunch during finals weeks.

I spent a lot of time this week working for a company at Innovation Park, with whom I am writing my thesis. This is part of a directed readings course; this week was dedicated to developing a test plan to test hundreds of chips under strict time conditions, where before I was developing and running circuit simulations for their new technology. This is an amazing part of the program, that is, the adventure of actually working for a startup or small company and getting course credit for it in addition to the valuable experience and skills that come with being a part of a high growth venture.On Monday, we continued with technical marketing class.  Here, we learned about the various forces that affect the marketing of a product, ranging from technological to regulatory, in addition some subtle ‘heuristics’ to observe why consumers buy certain products. Of course, theory is much more digestible with an example, especially if it comes in the form of an Old Spice commercial!

The job searching and networking is never truly complete, however. On Monday evening, a couple of us ‘Ubered’ downtown to Café Navarre in South Bend to attend a reception with a major consulting firm. These events are incredibly valuable; we learned more about the company culture in two hours than what you would find online in ten. It is also an opportunity to let your possible future career path be known to recruiters.

Tuesday saw the continuation of work with my thesis company in the morning, with classes in the afternoon. The timetable is structured in this way to allow ESTEEM students taking technical electives to attend their classes in the morning. While my turn for the business presentation class is next week, all students listen and give feedback to classmates on their strong points and where they can develop. In this way, we constantly improve (iterate, as it were) our skills. The evening finished up with a financial modelling class, where we built a business model for a manufacturing company, and an ESTEEM information session for seniors considering graduate school. This was fantastic, as we got to talk about some of our projects with them (switching roles with the recruiters from last week!).

Tailgating before Georgia Tech

The rest of the week was spent on a variety of tasks, including preparing for a tailgate for the USC game in mid-October, which ESTEEM will organize for some of the key people at the university. We also took the time to fill out job applications and conduct practice interviews with both the careers department and ourselves. We also used our statistics and data analytics classes to further delve into vehicle crash data for the state of Indiana and see if any insights could be gleaned from it to prevent further collisions.

While finding time for activities outside the program can be challenging at times, some students began volunteering with the Boys and Girls club in South Bend, teaching the youth web development. This is a great way to pass on the skills from our undergraduate degrees and indeed foster entrepreneurship in some way.

On Friday, we were delighted to receive a talk from the CEO of Mercatus, an energy investments software company from California, who shared some of his experience with us. With the week over, it was time for the second home football game of the season, against Georgia Tech. The game was a tense one, since the Fighting Irish were not expected to be victorious, but they pulled out all of the stops and succeeded with a score of 30-22. This made it the second Irish victory of the day, with the rugby team winning against Canada in the world cup which we projected onto the big screen at Innovation Park with some Irish guests.

All in all, it was an intense, productive, and fun week. I wonder what the rest of the semester will bring.