In a world full of technological breakthroughs and innovative ideas, Texas A&M continues to make its mark. Though every invention shows promise, marketing new technology to the average person can be a difficult task, and that’s where the Mays MBA Program steps in. On February 15, 77 first-year MBA students participated in the Tech Transfer Challenge, developing real-world applications for A&M’s newest innovations.
James Lancaster (center), General Manager of The Research Valley Partnership, served as one of the judges for this year’s Tech Transfer Challenge.
Presented by Mays Business School’s Center for New Ventures in Entrepreneurship, MBA students kicked off the challenge with a week of research and analysis on an unfamiliar potential product. The teams of students then presented ideas for commercializing each item to a panel of judges, including representatives from today’s top corporations. With little preparation time and the task of creating a presentation fit for the boardroom, the students’ leadership, teamwork, and research skills were put to the test. Tech Transfer enabled the students to incorporate management principles while sizing up the potential of patents and other raw technologies. The diverse technology made the event even more challenging, as research was required on random topics such as beetle pesticide.
Kristen Robinson, a first-year MBA student and member of the first-place winning team, feels that despite the challenging time crunch, the event provided her and the other participants with a unique opportunity to synthesize their classroom experience as well as practice their networking skills. “It helps you learn how to make important contacts with big names in the business world. It’s really encouraging because this process is often very intimidating,” said Robinson.
While the Tech Transfer competition is a required activity for Mays MBA students, the $6,000 prize money split among the top three teams is plenty of motivation for students to maximize their creativity and produce a quality presentation. The students definitely succeeded in this aspect, proving their corporate capabilities through their professional presentations reflecting organized research.
This year’s first place team presented research on “Compositions, Methods, and Uses for a Novel Family of Peptides.”
Clinching the first place spot, Alayne Bomba, Jesse Jones, Elliot Battles, Kristen Robinson, and Amy Heintz presented research on “Compositions, Methods, and Uses for a Novel Family of Peptides.” In second place, Kyle Klein, Vickram Gopaal, Lisa Sun, Scott Bradford, and Josephine Hodge displayed their newfound knowledge of an “Improved Vaccine Against Brucella Abortus,” and third place went to Taylor Robertson, Brian Wiggins, David Ball, Hemanth Babu Shakar, and Robin Hawkins’ presentation, “Attractant for Monitoring the Control of Adult Scarabs.”
Lenae Huebner, assistant director for the Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship, feels that the challenge benefits everyone involved. “For the corporate representatives, participation in the event is more than just an opportunity to give back to the community and support our educational efforts. Judges over the last few years have hired students, licensed technologies and expanded their personal networks as a direct result of the challenge. Serving as a judge can be as rewarding to the judges as it is for the students,” said Huebner.
Judges agree. John Andersen, representative of Merrill Lynch feels that the Tech Transfer is a fantastic opportunity for venture capitalists seeking new business endeavors. “They love this sort of thing. And when you interact with young minds like this, it’s reassuring to know that these young people are in our society, they are the future of business. This is an outstanding network opportunity,” said Andersen.
About the Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship
The Texas A&M Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship provides encouragement, education, networking and assistance to entrepreneurially-minded students, faculty and Texas businesses. Founded in 1999, the center is part of Mays Business School’s Department of Management. The center enhances student education through campus speakers, competitions, work experiences and financial support. The Texas A&M faculty and Office of Technology Commercialization benefit from the center’s educational programs, extensive business community network and the entrepreneurial services.
The center also reaches out to the state’s business community offering educational programs, business assistance and access to university resources. The center is supported by corporate and individual members and sponsors who believe in the value of an entrepreneurial education program and the value of Texas businesses working with Texas A&M University.
About the Mays MBA program
Mays Business School currently enrolls more than 4,000 undergraduate students and 875 graduate students. The MBA program is highly selective, with an acceptance rate of 29.8 percent to its intensive 16-month program and a placement rate of 100 percent within three months of graduation.