mba venture challenge | Mays Impacts | Mays Business School - Part 2

Mays Professional MBA graduate Brett Garbs feels like anything is possible after starting his own business. Two years of researching, planning and working toward what often seemed like an unfeasible goal finally came to fruition when he and his wife Laci launched their company VaryActive in March 2016.

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Brett and Laci Garbs founded VaryActive, a mobile app that helps users easily book seats in a variety of fitness classes.

Garbs is a Mays Professional MBA Class of 2015 graduate. He is now also co-founder and CEO of VaryActive, a free mobile app that allows users to search and book seats in a variety of fitness classes from CrossFit to Yoga, to Krava Maga and Piloxing, without having to sign membership contracts. His wife Laci is a Class of 2016 Mays Professional MBA graduate and president of VaryActive.

The Professional MBA program is offered at the CityCentre campus in Houston.

VaryActive is just one of many entrepreneurship endeavors generated by recent Mays Professional MBA graduates. Professional MBA Program Director Mike Alexander said many students have taken an increased interest in entrepreneurship. “Our students want to make a difference in the world – in the lives and well-being of themselves, their families, their business associates, customers and communities,” Alexander said.

Businesses like VaryActive start as class projects in the Mays Professional MBA Capstone course.The course is designed to encourage students to use their prior knowledge, their new knowledge and skills gleaned from the Mays MBA and their critical thinking and problem-solving skills to tackle a real-world business challenge. Some students turn their ideas into businesses, while others apply the knowledge and skills gained to other people’s startups.

A mobile app to add variety in your workouts

In the Capstone project, Brett Garbs collaborated on VaryActive with Marcos Mendez, a fellow Class of 2015 graduate. Brett Garbs and Mendez spent two years researching and planning their concept of a mobile app before partnering with local Houston app developer Whole Wheat Creative to launch VaryActive on all iOS devices. …Read more

Categories: Alumni, Mays Business, MBA, News, Texas A&M

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Eighteen-year-old Arden Robertson is unclassifiable. According to her age she is a freshman, at football games for ticket pull she is a senior, and her transcript confirms that she is a master’s degree candidate. Though she may be hard to define on paper, there is no questioning her belonging at Texas A&M University.

Robertson, a Florida native, skipped ninth grade, completed her high school and associate degrees, was accepted to the Texas A&M Business Honors program and earned the funds to cover out-of-state tuition, all before the age of 18.

“I came to Texas A&M because when I visited the campus it became apparent that the core values and traditions are practiced every day, and it was not just a nice sentiment,” she said. “I saw the core values of excellence, integrity, leadership, loyalty, respect and selfless service listed on banners throughout campus and how people carried themselves. Their actions matched their words.”

In the spring of 2014, with only one semester completed, Robertson participated in the Mays Business School career fair. Unlike most freshmen, she did not attend to practice her interviewing skills or to be offered an internship. Instead she went in hopes of finding a job. On the list of participating companies, none looked more appealing than NASA.

“I have always loved space and they would give me the opportunity to incorporate space, mathematics and accounting into my work,” she said.
The next day she was called and asked to apply for co-op at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston. The program would accept 40 students from around the world, and out of those 40, only eight business majors would be selected. Of the eight chosen, she and Jess Sepe, a Marine veteran and a junior management major, were the only two from Texas A&M.

“Having an accounting degree and getting my master’s in MIS really set me apart from the rest of the applicants,” she said. “I am very grateful to A&M for giving me that opportunity.”

Robertson was required to participate in a two-day orientation. Upon arrival, she knew she was in the right place. “Driving in there is a long row of palm trees that remind me of my home in Florida, and the model planes above your head at the entrance is like Disney World for space lovers,” she said.
Once there, she was assigned to the International Space Station Branch in the resource management office. She was given a mentor and was immediately welcomed into the NASA community. One reason for her quick acceptance was the strong Aggie presence at the Johnson Space Center.

“There were so many Aggies with a real connection and bond. You could walk down the hall and ‘Whoop!” Robertson said. “I knew this was where I wanted to work.”
Though her acceptance came easily, the workload did not. She was responsible for the entire space station’s travel reports and budget, which accounted for more than a quarter of a million dollars. Her daily tasks included collecting variances, detecting and resolving anomalies to reduce spending.
“I was given the same workload as my mentor from the beginning,” she said. “They treated me like I already worked there. It was nice that they value you to that degree.”

Her main project was reviewing the Internal Task Agreements (ITAs). She helped with $82 million of ITA’s from multiple NASA centers and variety of International Space Station projects. When she was not working, she was volunteering with Pathways Interns Professional Events (PIPE), Pathways Across Centers (PAXC), and Habitat for Humanity Aerospace Games. She was apart of organizing and conducting lectures, participating in NASA tours, joint ventures spreading NASA lectures, and worked the Orion Launch Party event at Space Center Houston. On the weekends she would return to College Station for football games with her peers from NASA. “Everyone was interested in the spirit of Aggieland,” Robertson said.

At the end of her first tour she was required to demonstrate her findings and contributions in a presentation to upper management NASA and the Chief Financial Officer. She will return for her following two terms in the summers of 2015 and 2016.

She credits her freshman Business Honors classes for a lot of her success. “My classes offered real-world examples in enriching and engaging ways, and taught us that if we follow our passions, we will be able to succeed,” she said.

In between NASA tours, Robertson is involved in the Aggie Investment Club, Texas Runners Against Cancer, PPA Business and Texas Republicans. She also recently joined the Business Honors recruiting team, where she will help spread her knowledge to other prospective honors students.

“I think it is important to be a goal-oriented, proficient and multifaceted person, but do not be afraid to seek out advice from others,” Robertson advices.
She plans to graduate from Texas A&M in December 2016 with a bachelor’s in accounting and a master’s in MIS, then join NASA as a full-time employee.

ABOUT MAYS BUSINESS SCHOOL
Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School educates more than 5,600 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students in accounting, finance, management, management information systems, marketing and supply chain management. Mays consistently ranks among the top public business schools in the country for its undergraduate and MBA programs, and for faculty research. The mission of Mays Business School is creating knowledge and developing ethical leaders for a global society.

Categories: Mays Business, Students

Food Challenge Competition

Startup Aggieland has entered into a partnership with The University of Texas and The Borlaug Institute in a business start-up competition: The Food Lab Challenge, which encourages innovation in the global food system.

In the competition’s inaugural year at the University of Texas at Austin, the competition will award $30,000 in prizes to teams producing a product or service impacting one of four food-related categories:

• Inputs and Production
• Processing, Packaging and Safety
• Storage and Distribution
• Healthy Eating and Food Education

The business competition is open to anyone, anywhere, from undergraduate students to established entrepreneurs. It has attracted more than 60 teams since registration began June 1st. Applications and business plans are due Sept. 30th. Finalist teams will be announced and paired with mentors on Nov. 1st. The Challenge Prize Day is Feb. 14th, 2015.

Startup Aggieland has added the competition to its curriculum for its Startup Fellows, a prestigious program for freshmen and sophomores. Don Lewis, assistant director of Startup Aggieland and executive professor at Mays Business School, says, “This opportunity seemed like a natural fit to what our student entrepreneurs are already doing. The idea of addressing real-world problems in conjunction with our friends at UT furthers this fit and our strategic alliance.”

Architecture Professor Rodney Hill, a founding member of the Board of Directors for Startup Aggieland, added: “We’re thrilled about the collaboration between these two flagship institutions. It’s how the real world works. We encourage our students to get out of their bubbles and go global.”

For more information on The Food Lab Challenge and for registration details, visit the website: http://utfoodlab.com/2014-ut-food-lab-challenge/

ABOUT STARTUP AGGIELAND
Officially opened in January 2013 at Texas A&M University, Startup Aggieland is a student business accelerator that provides qualified students of all majors with a peer-led startup community that helps students to leverage public and private resources while launching early stage ventures. Startup Aggieland is among the nation’s first student-designed, student-operated business accelerators to serve student startups. Startup Aggieland is open to all qualified Texas A&M University students. Visit the website: ww.startupaggieland.com

ABOUT MAYS BUSINESS SCHOOL

Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School educates more than 5,600 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students in accounting, finance, management, management information systems, marketing and supply chain management. Mays consistently ranks among the top public business schools in the country for its undergraduate and MBA programs, and for faculty research. The mission of Mays Business School is creating knowledge and developing ethical leaders for a global society.

Categories: Centers

Ideas Challenge

During the 2014 Raymond Ideas Challenge, hundreds of students dreamed up a “big idea” and pitched those concepts to judges and the community, through both a written proposal and a video pitch describing their ideas. The top 40 ideas were presented live to judges before the top three winners were selected and honored at an awards ceremony.

A separate competition evaluated the online pitch videos based on the number of votes they received by the general public. Prizes were awarded for the videos with the most votes.

The Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship (CNVE) at Mays Business School hosted the event, which was open to Texas A&M students of all majors and classifications. Students were able to enter the contest individually or in teams.

The following were the top three winners in the traditional competition:

• 1st Place ($3,000) — Tree to Aircraft
• 2nd Place ($2,000) — SiCoustics
• 3rd Place ($1,000) — Modular Monitoring Platform
• Honorable Mentions ($500 each) — HeadsUp Tackling Trainer, Persistent Golf Ball, Backseat Bib, Miniaturized Sleep Apnea Diagnosis Device

The following were the top three winners for the video contest:

• 1st Place ($1000) — eWriter
• 2nd Place ($500) — ReCYCLING Bus
• 3rd Place ($250) — Symbiot

The pitch presentations generally presented information such as what the idea is, why it is necessary, how it differs from existing products or services and what resources would be needed to implement the idea. A question-and-answer session followed each presentation, in which judges raised concerns and questions that were not addressed during the presentation.

Marketing major Damani Felder ’14 said the contest was a great way to develop important business skills. “The contest provides good practice in developing a sales pitch,” he said. “Confidence is very important; you need to be well versed in what you are presenting.”

According to aerospace engineering major Kyle Brookover ’17, the biggest challenge lies in selecting the right idea. “The hardest part of the competition is coming up with the initial idea,” he said. “Once you’ve done that, the rest flows easily.”

For more information on the Ideas Challenge, visit http://cnve.tamu.edu/programs/ideas-challenge/.

ABOUT MAYS BUSINESS SCHOOL
Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School educates more than 5,600 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students in accounting, finance, management, management information systems, marketing and supply chain management. Mays consistently ranks among the top public business schools in the country for its undergraduate and MBA programs, and for faculty research. The mission of Mays Business School is creating knowledge and developing ethical leaders for a global society.

Categories: Centers

The top 40 finalists for this year’s Raymond Ideas Challenge have been selected, and their video pitches are now available online. The top three ideas from the online voting will receive prize money of $1,000, $500 and $250.

Each spring, the Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship at Mays Business School hosts the Ideas Challenge, which asks students, “What is your big idea?” Participants submit their work to a panel of judges, who then narrow the field to the top 40 finalists, who compete for cash prizes. New this year is the requirement that finalists post their idea video online for voting by the general public. These videos should explain why each participant believes his or her idea is the best.

Qukku, the platform being used for online voting, is also an Aggie startup. Stephen White ’96 (PPA) is the founder and CEO. He participated in the MBA Venture Challenge in 2013 and also sat on the CNVE Executive Committee from 2007 to 2010.

Everyone is also encouraged to follow the contest online using the hashtag #CNVEIdeas. To vote for your favorite ideas, visit http://qukku.com/contests/2014RaymondIdeasChallenge94.

To learn more about Ideas Challenge, visit http://cnve.tamu.edu/programs/ideas-challenge/.

Interested in attending Ideas Challenge as a judge this year? Visit https://ideaschallenge2014.eventbrite.com/

ABOUT MAYS BUSINESS SCHOOL

Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School educates more than 5,600 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students in accounting, finance, management, management information systems, marketing and supply chain management. Mays consistently ranks among the top public business schools in the country for its undergraduate and MBA programs, and for faculty research. The mission of Mays Business School is creating knowledge and developing ethical leaders for a global society.

Categories: Programs, Texas A&M

Any Texas A&M University student interested in entering the annual Raymond Ideas Challenge can attend a workshop on Wednesday (March 5) in Wehner 190 and Thursday (March 6) in Rudder 302. Both will be from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

All students from across campus are encouraged to participate in the challenge by dreaming up the next great product or service and submitting their “big idea” in a written essay and two-minute video pitch.

The competition entry deadline is Friday, March 21, and the event is on April 30.  The host is Texas A&M’s Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship, which is at Mays Business School.

The Raymond Ideas Challenge is designed to foster an entrepreneurial mindset in Texas A&M students.

The students’  concepts will be presented to panels of judges from the business and academic community, who will challenge the students with questions. Students receive valuable experience developing business concepts and improving their writing and presentation skills. The competition also provides networking opportunities with the judges.

New this year is an online voting system, which will be used to select recipients of of $1,000, $500 and $250 prizes.

Assistance is needed in screening entries, and the opportunity is open to anyone in the community. If interested, contact Shanna Spencer at 979-845-0619 or sspencer@mays.tamu.edu.

For more information on the Raymond Ideas Challenge, go to tx.ag/ideasvideo or visit cnve.tamu.edu/programs/ideas-challenge.

About Mays Business School

Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School educates more than 5,000 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students in accounting, finance, management, management information systems, marketing and supply chain management. Mays consistently ranks among the top public business schools in the country for its undergraduate and MBA programs, and for faculty research. The mission of Mays Business School is creating knowledge and developing ethical leaders for a global society.

Categories: Centers, Programs, Students, Texas A&M

Kathleen M. Eisenhardt
Kathleen M. Eisenhardt

Kathleen M. Eisenhardt’s biggest advice to Mays faculty and students is to push the limits on what you know. “You need to get outside your comfort zone and read something else,” said Eisenhardt. She stressed that by looking in new places, relying on different methods and reading different literature, researchers can see even well-studied research phenomena in a new light.

Eisenhardt spoke to a nearly packed room of faculty and students at Ray Auditorium as part of the 2013 Dean’s Distinguished Scholar Lecture Series, a forum that presents distinguished scholars from an array of business disciplines.

She is currently Stanford W. Ascherman M.D. Professor and Co-Director of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program at Stanford University. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Brown University and a PhD from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.

Eisenhardt has published extensive research in top academic and management journals on corporate and entrepreneurial strategy and organization. She is co-author of the award-winning book Competing on the Edge: Strategy as Structured Chaos, which was named a top business and investing book by Amazon.com. Throughout her career, Eisenhardt has partnered with firms in a wide variety of industries, including software, biotech, semiconductor and computing.

The lecture highlighted several of Eisenhardt’s research studies and illustrated key concepts of corporate and entrepreneurial managerial decision-making. An important theme behind her discussion was the idea of “acquisition as courtship, not dominance.” She challenges the traditional view of the acquisition process, which assumes that buyers are the decision makers and sellers are no more than weak participants.

Instead, Eisenhardt offered evidence suggesting that sellers are actually important forces behind acquisitions because of their power of choice. She explained that buyer selection is a complex process because it is typically based on more than selecting the bidder with the highest offer. Sellers are often more motivated to choose a buyer on the basis of organizational fit and combination potential.

Eisenhardt also discussed alliance portfolios and introduced several entrepreneurial do-s and don’t-s for building effective portfolios. She emphasized that high-growth entrepreneurs focus on strategic processes, such as product innovation, sales, and internationalization, and learn to develop useful heuristics, or simple rules, over time to make more effective business decisions.

One student who attended the lecture praised the program for providing students with a unique perspective on relevant managerial research concepts. “Dr. Eisenhardt’s lecture provided innovative glimpses into different aspects of entrepreneurship and corporations,” said Business Honors freshman Logan McDivitt. “Her research expertise exposed neglected sections of commonly researched topics, which provided thought-provoking conclusions in areas such as mergers and acquisitions, leadership structures, and enhancing your research through expanded reading research.”

About Mays Business School

Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School educates more than 5,000 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students in accounting, finance, management, management information systems, marketing and supply chain management. Mays consistently ranks among the top public business schools in the country for its undergraduate and MBA programs, and for faculty research. The mission of Mays Business School is creating knowledge and developing ethical leaders for a global society.

Categories: Texas A&M

Mays Business School at Texas A&M University and the Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) have entered into a five-year agreement to provide mutually beneficial services to both entities. As part of the agreement, TEEX will provide two Disaster City® Challenge events for Mays’ Full-Time and Executive MBA programs annually, and Mays will sponsor one enrollment per year in the Executive MBA program annually for a TEEX employee who is admitted to the program.

At Disaster City are (left to right) Executive MBA Program Director Julie A. Orzabal, TEEX Deputy Director Sue Shahan, Associate Dean for Graduate Programs David Blackwell and TEEX Director and CEO Gary Sera.
At Disaster City are (left to right) Executive MBA Program Director Julie A. Orzabal, TEEX Deputy Director Sue Shahan, Associate Dean for Graduate Programs David Blackwell and TEEX Director and CEO Gary Sera.

Over the last four years, students from Texas A&M’s MBA and Executive MBA programs have participated in the Disaster City challenge events at the 52-acre TEEX Disaster City training facility. This experience is a leadership and team-building exercise that teaches crisis communications and creative problem solving — soft skills essential for top business leaders. During the exercise, students are divided into teams to complete tasks such as rescuing “victims” from a train wreck, a high-speed GPS scavenger hunt, and a “slab drag,” moving a 1,200-pound block of concrete with team effort and pulleys. They also practice responding to the media and other external audiences during a crisis.

For Mays, this partnership provides MBA students the unique opportunity to develop their skills in a physically challenging, high-stress environment. The lessons from exercises will translate into how they work together in their teams, how they communicate, and how they lead their organizations. “The experience at Disaster City provides something we can’t duplicate within the walls of our classrooms: a physical, tangible test of problem-solving and decision-making skills,” says David Blackwell, associate dean of graduate programs at Mays Business School. “We are fortunate to have access to this facility so near our main campus.”

The partnership allows TEEX to invest in the professional development of top employees, and increase the business acumen of their leadership team.

About Mays Business School

The Executive MBA Program, offered by Mays Business School at Texas A&M University is a two-year MBA program for business professionals with classes held every other weekend in The Woodlands, Texas. The school’s Full-Time MBA Program is a 16-month program offered in College Station on the Texas A&M University campus, and is frequently ranked among the top 10 public business programs in the nation.

About Disaster City

Disaster City®, Texas, is a 52-acre training facility that delivers a full array of skills and techniques needed by today’s emergency response professionals. The mock community features full-scale, collapsible structures designed to simulate various levels of disaster and wreckage. The training possibilities are nearly endless and can be customized for the specific needs of any group. Emergency responders worldwide, from the United Kingdom to Japan and from Taiwan to South America, venture to Disaster City for unparalleled search and rescue training and exercises. Simply put, Disaster City is the most comprehensive emergency response training facility available today. Disaster City is part of the Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) Emergency Preparedness Campus located in College Staton, Texas. TEEX is one of seven state agencies, nine universities and the Health Science Center that comprise The Texas A&M University System.

Categories: Programs, Texas A&M

Taking technology projects to the masses starts with a group of corporate leaders — CEOs who have volunteered to judge their presentations and supporting materials in the MBA Technology Transfer Challenge at Mays.

Twelve teams of MBA students recently completed the annual process of gathering data, then presenting their findings to the group of judges. The top three teams left with cash prizes and bragging rights for the next year.

The annual MBA Technology Transfer Challenge tasks teams of MBA students to gather data about cutting edge technology projects, then present their findings to a group of experienced judges.
The annual MBA Technology Transfer Challenge tasks teams of MBA students to gather data about cutting edge technology projects, then present their findings to a group of experienced judges. (view more photos)

Participation in the challenge is part of the first-year MBA curriculum. The technology is assigned randomly, but the event represents the first time the students are allowed to choose their teammates — a lesson in itself, according to Richard Lester, executive director of the Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship, which sponsors the event.

“This is a huge experiential exercise for the students,” Lester explains. “They not only work with real CEOs, they also work with their classmates to pitch the investment and the technology.”

Presentations are judged not on the merits of the technology, but on the students’ effectiveness at demonstrating its marketability. The winners are determined by the depth of their research, which includes market analysis, potential barriers to market entry and competition, their presentation skills and evidence of product knowledge during the Q&A session with the judges.

The exercise introduces viable technology projects and provides insight into those projects to the judges, many of whom are MBA graduates who have participated in the program previously. Diana Doughty ’10, whose team won in 2009, said it is an honor to be asked to judge the contest.

“It’s neat to see what they come up with, especially when you’ve been through it and you know what all they have to go through to get there,” she said. “It’s exciting to be on this side of it, and it’s an honor to serve the school in this way.”

Taking first place this year was team CorInnova, with MBA students John Brown, Luke Carlton, Cody Slape, Kelly Taylor Alfredo Volio and Peter Eskander. Their technology project is an early-stage cardiovascular device company developing an innovative implantable device to treat congestive heart failure.

This year's first-place team studied an innovative implantable device developed by CorInnova to treat congestive heart failure.
This year’s first-place team studied an innovative implantable device developed by CorInnova to treat congestive heart failure. (view more photos)

The second-place team members were Brandon Boatcallie, Derek Colvin, Nishita Roy and Jasen Smith. Their technology project, Shape Memory Therapeutics, is a neurovascular device company founded to commercialize innovative medical devices to treat stroke and cerebral aneurysm.

The third-place team members were Jeff Cope, Larry Jackson, Dawn Lin, Justin Martin and Nityasha Wadalkar. Their project, Preclinical PET, centered on the development of completely new silicon-based photon detectors by Hammumatsu, will enable groundbreaking positron emission tomography (PET) detection hardware with the ability to operate in a magnetic field enabling the combination of PET and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). The Texas A&M System employs one of the world’s premiere software writers for PET imaging, Dr. Mark Lennox. The combination of these two capabilities (hardware/software) and a focus on preclinical applications of the technology is the basis for the company.

The prizes were $3,000 for first place, $2,000 for second place and $1,000 for third place, which was sponsored by JBKnowledge. The title sponsor was the Texas A&M Division of Research and Graduate Studies, and other sponsors were AXYS and ConocoPhillips.

Categories: Programs, Students

Not long after your 50th birthday, you turn on the television and realize that you can barely make out the actors’ faces. You have joined the 30 million people worldwide who suffer from age-related macular degeneration (AMD), an increasingly common disease affecting adults ages fifty and older. But don’t be alarmed—this disease won’t be a threat much longer, thanks to a new technology developed at Texas A&M University.

Mays MBA student Brian Mullins speaks during his group's presentation at the 2009 MBA Technology Transfer Challenge.
Mays MBA student Brian Mullins speaks during his group’s presentation at the 2009 MBA Technology Transfer Challenge.

As a member of the Texas A&M University’s Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship executive committee, Phil Ralston judges the Technology Transfer Challenge at Mays Business School each year, exploring the latest innovations through presentations made by teams of Mays MBA students. The 2009 event, which recently concluded, challenged students to screen and evaluate new technologies to determine their commercial potential and present their findings to judges. It’s a chance for students to hone their valuation and presentation skills through competition, and a chance for inventors to get noticed.

At the 2006 Tech Transfer Challenge, the first place team introduced Ralston to the technology MC 1101. This product was developed by Dr. George Chiou, a professor of neuroscience and experimental therapeutics at Texas A&M, to treat and prevent dry-AMD, the most common form of the sight-eliminating disease. Dry-AMD breaks down the central portion of the retina, eliminating the vision used when reading, watching TV, and driving.

Ralston saw the potential of MC 1101. With an extensive background in pharmaceuticals and business start-ups, he was the ideal candidate for leading a company focused on commercializing this technology. A few weeks after the competition, Ralston was asked to head up the newly formed company that would market MC 1101, and upon his acceptance of the position, MacuCLEAR was born. Three years later, Ralston is preparing MacuCLEAR to enter clinical trials for its product, hoping to build on the $3.5 million value that the company has already reached.

MacuCLEAR is just one example of a Mays Tech Transfer Challenge technology that has gone on to experience industry success. Each year, viable products leave the challenge to become more than the subject of a learning exercise for MBA students. Ralston remarked that at least three of the technologies introduced at the 2009 event had commercial potential. “The process of the Tech Transfer Challenge is a way of uncovering diamonds in the rough, of creating products and organizations that can lead to great commercial success,” he added.

After a week of intense research, the 2009 Tech Transfer Challenge culminated on February 19, when the student-led teams displayed their product knowledge for more than 100 businesspeople from across Texas who volunteered as judges. Diana Doughty, Jennifer Baugh, Christopher Beavers, Brian Mullins, and Luis Trejo took first prize for their presentation “The Use of Dimples for Thermal Dissipation Enhancement for Microelectronic Heat Sinks.” Their hard work was rewarded, as the first place team was presented with a check for $3,000 from the CNVE and event sponsor Ford. Paragon Innovations sponsored the second place prize of $2,000.

“The process of the Tech Transfer Challenge is a way of uncovering diamonds in the rough, of creating products and organizations that can lead to great commercial success.”

Participation in the challenge is part of the first-year MBA curriculum. While students are allowed to choose their teammates, the technology is assigned randomly. Presentations are not judged on the merits of the technology, but rather the students’ effectiveness at demonstrating its marketability. The depth of their research (which includes market analysis, potential barriers to market entry, and competition), as well as their presentation skills and evidence of product knowledge during the Q&A with judges determines the winners.

First place winners (left to right): Luis Trejo, Diana Doughty, Christopher Beavers, Jennifer Baugh, and Brian Mullins.
First place winners (left to right): Luis Trejo, Diana Doughty, Christopher Beavers, Jennifer Baugh, and Brian Mullins.

Ninety students participated in the 2009 challenge, presenting 18 technologies from within the A&M system.

“Tech Transfer gives current MBA students a chance to apply classroom theory, reach out to industry experts, and polish presentation skills in assessing the market viability of the Texas A&M technology,” said first-place winner Doughty. “The week is an exercise in team building, networking, and overcoming unforeseen obstacles as much as it is about research and actually coming up with an answer.”

Second place went to Mohammed Mazi, Sachit Dwivedi, Katia Delgado, James Applewhite, and Allen Wright for their work with the endotracheal tube sump. Karn Nopany, Jeff Kenner, Kathleen Sui, Julius “A.J.” Oben, and Vince Castro placed third with their wireless event monitoring device.

Categories: Centers, Programs, Students