Welcome to "My Week in ESTEEM" where students reflect upon their experience in the program. This week's blog is brought to us by Paul Mahony, a current Naughton fellow, who discusses his amazing thesis experience, hanging out with the CEOs of Aer Lingus and Aviva Stadium, and another Irish victory!
I feel some background is necessary to give so you can understand my week in ESTEEEM. All students in ESTEEM undertake a Capstone thesis as part of our college curriculum here in Notre Dame, most students take research straight from Notre Dame and prepare a commercialization plan, this year about 50% of the class have industry sponsored projects; each looking at a real problem a real company is facing, and how it might be solved and potentially commercialized. I am an Irish student from Trinity College Dublin, and my thesis is slightly unique, I am coordinating the expansion of CupPrint, an Irish company who are the market leaders in custom printed paper cup manufacturing in Europe, to the American market. That’s my thesis! Running a company! It is fair to say that my week is molded by my work at CupPrint.
Some of the responsibilities of such a unique thesis involve the purchase of a factory – South Bend has proven to be the perfect fit, with 2 potential locations. The CupPrint website just went live (check us out us.cupprint.com) and so we are accepting orders. I am also in the process of creating a production line and factory floor layout. On top of all of this, the academic side of ESTEEM continues with Chapter 1 of the thesis due this week. The best way to describe life at the minute is a very exciting balancing act!
Monday began with cold calls to coffee shops, followed by class! One thing I love about ESTEEM is the dedication to both business and education – I can spend my mornings at sales meetings (some of which I get graded on!) and my afternoon in class (all of which I am graded on!). Personally I have found a fascination in data analytics and its uses. The talk of “Big Data” is prominent in industry at the minute and it is fascinating to learn about its capabilities.
On Tuesday I had a meeting with the head of foodservices here at Notre Dame. Chris was extremely helpful regarding my thesis, giving great insight to the industry (the Notre Dame network cannot be compared to anything else!). We are also setting up a sales pitch with him in the coming weeks, with the hope of becoming a main supplier of cups to the University, something that would make me immensely proud to have done during my time here.
Another opportunity we receive as graduate students in Notre Dame is an invitation to talks given by a number of inspiring CEOs who come to the university. On Wednesday the CEO of Cummins (the largest Diesel engine manufacturer in the US) spoke about Cummins and their brand. In an hour long speech he only mentioned diesel engines once. Instead he focused on the values the company hold dear, giving examples of how they believe in being a value driven company in a modern world - a truly inspiring speech by an inspiring leader.
Speaking of leaders, as an Irish student, my heart currently lies with the Rugby World Cup, which is being held in England. Ireland played their first game against Canada this week. To celebrate the occasion and introduce some of the class to rugby, I ran a rugby-watch at Innovation Park. Some members of the Naughton family were at Notre Dame at the time and the Naughton family sponsors four of the Irish students this year, myself included. They also brought some friends with them. So I sat watching the game beside the CEO of Aer Lingus and the CEO of Aviva Stadium (THE rugby stadium in Ireland). The unbelievable opportunities here at Notre Dame are never ending.
Of course, the Notre Dame fighting Irish also beat Massachusetts this week. I can safely say I am beginning to learn all the chants and dances. It is a truly unique experience I am honored to be part of - and I’m only in the crowd. It reminds me of the family that is Notre Dame, the powerful network that is here, and how for this year, and the rest of my life, I am a part of that. Go Irish!