This past Saturday, students gathered at the Dolan School of Business to attend an interactive seminar on elevator pitches. This seminar intended to educate students on the proper deliverance of a business plan to a group of professionals. According to Patricia Pivarnik, a program coordinator for the Business Plan Competition, “The StagUp Elevator Pitch Contest is one of a listing of events throughout the year for students interested in participating in the StagUp Showcase (the Fairfield University version of Shark Tank).” Pivarnik explained that the intent of this event was to show how  “the pitch of any business can make or break interest from investors so we want to assist students with getting the skills down on what it takes to deliver a compelling 60 second pitch.”

From how to dress, to what to say and in what order to say it, this event taught students all the “do’s and don’ts” of proposing business plans.

These professional lessons came prior to a friendly competition, where students were pinned against one another to try their hand at pitching an idea. This competition allowed students from all majors to apply the lessons they had learned in a real world situation, all with the added benefit of vying for a portion of the $2,500 that was to be awarded in prize money for the best pitches. According to Pivarnik this money come through independent donations from alumni who have “invested both time and money” in the StagUp program.

The prize money wasn’t all that was on the minds of attendees, however. Students shared just what they expected to gain from this event. “Elevator pitches, or any pitch in general, are used to convince people of ideas. It’s a great life skill in the business world, or anything you plan to do in life,” stated Alex Levy ’19.

The event began with an introduction to elevator pitches. It was explained in a thorough presentation by Dr. Mousumi Bose-Godbole, an associate professor of marketing at Fairfield.

A main point presented was that pitches are an important part of our careers. They are not limited to just products or ideas, but include ourselves as well. “Whenever you have gone for an interview have you ever experienced someone asking you, ‘So tell me a little bit about yourself ?’ Have you ever heard that? Most of us, or all of us, [have]. What is that? A pitch. A pitch not about a product, but about you,” said Bose-Godbole.

Students such as Tony Phantharangsy ‘16 expanded on this point when explaining why this event was so important. “Well for myself, as a senior engineer, right now I am in the business of interviews and such. The way I understand elevator pitches is that when you meet somebody, you should be able to get everything out there that you need them to know about you within the space of an elevator ride … If you don’t know the key components of yourself odds are when you talk to them they won’t know either.”

As the event continued, a Fairfield alumnus was brought to the forefront. Patrick Morrow ’04, explained to the group the real world applications of elevator pitches from his own personal experience. Morrow, who has been working on his own product for several years, shared with the group the struggles he has encountered on his journey to get his product ready for sale, as well as pitch his idea to various sellers. The students were then given specific details about Morrow’s product. Due to legal concerns regarding a pending patent, The Mirror cannot reveal the nature nor specifics of this product. However, following Morrow’s description students were told this would be the item they needed to pitch. Pivarnik stated in regards to Morrow’s participation, “Pat was able to tell his story in a way that was very relatable to the students. His story encouraged the audience to think more seriously about entrepreneurship in their future. His venture is something he has been working on over and above a full-time job so it shows dedication in both areas of your life.”

Whether life lessons, or a monetary prize was the intended takeaway, students presented themselves as enjoying their time spent at this year’s Elevator Pitch Seminar/Contest.

Pivarnik was excited about the attendance. “We had a strong showing of students considering there were a couple of events on the day that conflicted. The students that did attend were very engaged and very interested in pursuing the Showcase in 2016.”

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