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Tag: "MBA Entrepreneurship"

The Impact of George Eastman

By: Robyn Winstanley 

George Eastman, the entrepreneur who founded Eastman Kodak Company and invented roll film, is a legacy in the Rochester, NY area. His philanthropy efforts stem deep into the University of Rochester. Throughout his life, Eastman donated over $100 million to various organizations, with about half of that benefiting the University of Rochester. His generous donations led to the founding of the University of Rochester Eastman School of Music and School of Medicine and Dentistry. Eastman’s passing in 1932 created a mark on the Rochester, NY community that will last forever. He helped to make Rochester the city it was and is today. In the early 20th century, Eastman and other leaders in Rochester worked together to plan the future of the University of Rochester, paving the way to transform the University into one of the leading educational institutions that is distinguished by excellence in education, research, health care, and service.

In light of the recent Chapter 11 filing by Eastman Kodak, it is bittersweet to think back to the life of Mr. Eastman. As one of the most influential humanitarians of his time who revolutionized the photography and film industry, I wonder what George Eastman would say if he were with us today.  As a Rochesterian, although it was sad to see Kodak declare bankruptcy, it’s also important to consider the fact that despite this, the Rochester region’s job growth rate has surpassed other areas of New York State and many parts of the country. Prior to the Chapter 11 filing, the Simon School Dean, Mark Zupan, spoke about Lessons from Kodak – http://simon.rochester.edu/news-and-media/mark-zupan-on-kodak/index.aspx, and the hypercompetitive environment that we live in.  Although we learn from the challenges at Kodak, it does not diminish the fact that each and every day, Simon School students look to contribute to the Rochester area and beyond by living and breathing the entrepreneurial and philanthropic spirit of George Eastman.



Simon Entrepreneurs Association

By: Jonathan Markowicz

Several weeks ago, the Simon Entrepreneurs Association invited its members to High Tech Rochester, “whose mission is to be a catalyst for entrepreneurship and innovation-based economic development.”  High Tech Rochester is also the site of the business incubator for the University of Rochester and the Simon Graduate School of Business.  Unlike many other university incubators, this unique environment is an active hub in which reside many professional entrepreneurs all working diligently on their ideas (including Simon alum!).  With the incubator’s assistance, fresh ideas are prepared and polished for presentation to angel investors and VCs.  The University has answered the call of its entrepreneurs and provided the structure for invention and innovation.  In fact, I’ll share a little later the soup-to-nuts start-up environment Simon has created.
My own approach for developing new ideas is to start with the business model; from the business model, I develop applications.  Currently, I am looking at business models in financial services, classical music, and news media.  As a military participant in humanitarian relief efforts, I am also looking at business models in communication networks and medical services, especially during rapid deployments to tactical environments.  It’s hard to hide the entrepreneurial spirit; especially now that so many of my colleagues are coming out of their shells and sharing their ideas, creations, and discoveries.  I am hearing new ideas discussed regularly around the tables in the coffee shop and between classes.  In fact, I invited many of my fellow 1st-year entrepreneurs to my house this weekend to discuss our ideas and create new synergies.
Synergy could be one of the most important tools in an entrepreneur’s toolbox.  A classmate became interested in my news media business model.  She’s a software developer whose company in China produced gaming applications for Apple products.  Her technical expertise in software development sparked a conversation between us to possibly look at my media idea and create a software platform (like Amazon’s platform business model).  As you know, my background is not very technical.  I would have never thought of this.  However, as we scribbled the idea out on the back of a homework assignment, with her knowledge of software development and my concept of the model, we revealed a new business design much more powerful than either of us originally intended.
You see, first-time entrepreneurs can be a shy group.  Unsure of whether an idea will stick and be a raging success or slip and be an utter failure, the entrepreneur determines that the safest route, at least for the ego, is to remain relatively mum.  Do I have the next Facebook?  I shouldn’t jinx it.  One classmate started his own business in the oil industry.  A friend in the blue cohort is investigating dating sites; while yet another friend in gold is taking a closer look at breaking into the restaurant industry.  Plus, one of my friends is looking at for-profit business model applications for non-profit ventures; he, like many of my other classmates, is interested in the burgeoning field of social entrepreneurship.
Most exciting, however, is what Simon is doing to promote entrepreneurism.  Well beyond the incubator, Simon is embracing this creativity and offering a variety of mechanisms and opportunities: from scholarships for students who want to work on their ideas over the summer to workshops with Simon’s vast network of active entrepreneurs.  Simon offers the Mark Ain Business Model Competition, supports the Rochester Regional Business Plan Competition, and provides opportunities with the Technology Development Fund (which offers monetary awards to promising UR technologies that can be transferred and translated into commercial applications).  Simon is even working on creating its own Venture Capital Fund for start-ups generated at Simon, which will help strengthen our ties with strategic partners like the Rochester Angel Network and Exell Partners.
It is time to erase my dry erase board in preparation for this weekend.  I think stir-fry is on the menu.


Case Competitions and Puerto Rico!

By Laura Pergolizzi

Case competitions add a valuable element to the Simon educational experience.  They give students the opportunity to hone leadership, entrepreneurship, and communication skills, as they prepare recommendations and present to senior executives.  The opportunity can further be leveraged in networking conversations and job interviews.  And if that’s not enough, there are incredible prizes!

Earlier this school year, thirty-six Simon MBA and MS students demonstrated their strategic marketing skills at the 2nd Annual CertaPro Painters Business Case Competition.  Participants in the student-organized case competition applied their creativity and analytical skills to solve a real-world strategic marketing problem for the Case Sponsor, CertaPro Painters. 

A total of $5000 was awarded to the top three winning teams.  Jonathan, Marais, and Brandon took away the top prize, which consisted of $2000.  According to Marais, “This was a wonderful event to tackle a real-world business problem and it was very gratifying being a part of the winning team.” Jonathan adds, “The most satisfying experience of this competition was working in an efficient group where the team was stronger than the sum of its parts. Complementing skill sets and personalities allowed us to apply the FACt framework and coursework effectively. We’re also looking forward to next quarter’s marketing class, which will provide us with additional tools to help us overcome challenges, like quantifying network externalities.”

However, Brand Sloane thinks the very best part of winning, was the all-expense-paid trip to the CertaPro’s National Conference to Puerto Rico.  “Puerto Rico was amazing! CertaPro allowed us to sit in on their Small Business opportunity sessions and we learned a great deal about starting and running a franchise. After the sessions were over, we took in a little sun and explored some of the local flavor. It was an excellent way to end winter break.”

Student leaders have just started to plan for the fall 2012 event.  Stay tuned for details!

Entrepreneurship at Simon

By Lilly


One of the fastest growing concentrations at the Simon School is in entrepreneurship.  For alumni and current students in the program, this comes as no surprise as alumni have been leaving the conventions of corporate America to open and succeed with their own businesses for years. Notable alumni who have gone on to great success are Mark S. Ain with Kronos, Inc., Robert E. Rich with Rich Products Corporation, and Paul A. Brands with American Management Systems, now known as CGIamong numerous others.

Current students are fortunate enough to know that the Center for Entrepreneurship is actually located in one of the main Simon buildings.  The proximity of the faculty and staff who work there, as well as the professors who teach the numerous entrepreneurship courses available is helpful as students work on their unique business plans and seek guidance. 

In addition to the Center for Entrepreneurship, there are numerous other opportunities for current and prospective students on campus.  There is the Mark Ain Business Model Workshop Series and Competition, the Simon Entrepreneurs Club, additional regional business plan competitions unique to the Rochester area (http://www.htr.org/2009_rochester_regional_business_plan_contest.asp) and numerous roundtables, panels and seminars available to learn from successful entrepreneurs in the local or regional community.