LeBow’s Global Classroom became more like a global boardroom this week, as Drexel LeBow undergraduates and students from the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom pitched their business ideas, developed over the course of a quarter-long joint project, as though they were facing CEOs on the TV show Shark Tank.
Last week’s final presentations marked a major milestone for students enrolled in the Global Classroom program, a collaboration supported by the Office of International Programs for first-years in the Pennoni Honors College and the Global Learning Community. Over the past month, these students have gone from making introductions over shaky Skype calls to developing product ideas and six-minute pitches together, with market research and competitive analysis to support their case.
Six teams were selected from an initial crop of 20, and those final six, each one comprised of students from LeBow and Leeds’ Center for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Studies, presented via video conference. A panel of judges – including executives, business owners and a member of the Drexel Alumni Board – was in each classroom to make their judgments.
“Our panelists on both sides expressed how impressed they were, and even asked to see the other 14 pitches online,” noted Dana D’Angelo, clinical professor of general business and one of two instructors, along with Jodi Cataline, clinical professor of general business, of the Foundation of Business I classes participating in the Global Classroom project.
All six teams made strong presentations, with considerable efforts in market research and competitive analysis evident from each one. The winners were awarded based on assessment of the idea, the research and the presentation, and in the end, first place went to Go Lock, a mobile storage service marketed to concert venues and other large event spaces. Collab, an app for online collaboration between creative professionals, was awarded second place.
Christian Ear, an international business and marketing major, estimates that his team considered 10 different product ideas before deciding to pursue what became Collab. “It was hard to get everybody together at the same time,” Ear said. “But once we got the ball rolling and got our ideas together, we learned more and more.” Ear is currently working as a marketing intern with eoko, a startup housed at the Baiada Institute for Entrepreneurship, and says he has seen considerable crossover between his coursework in Foundations of Business and the decisions carried out every day at the startup.
Devon Copestick, a business analytics and marketing major, worked on Go Lock’s winning presentation, and while the pitch project was the biggest time commitment among her classes this quarter, she said, “it made me feel confident that I can tackle other big projects in the future.”
After starting the quarter as an undeclared business major, she decided to major in business analytics and marketing and saw the opportunity, over the course of the project, to continue developing her skills.
“I’d never done anything like this before,” she said. “It would be really cool to keep going with it.”