One of the greatest benefits of attending Fisher College of Business is the chance to join a culture rooted in the entrepreneurial spirit. As an entrepreneur and start-up junkie this was a critical factor in my decision to continue my education at Ohio State. Columbus and OSU offer unprecedented resources and opportunities for budding “starters” such as the business builders club, start-up weekend, TechColumbus, and the Deloitte Entrepreneurship Competition. Moreover, Fisher’s Technology Entrepreneurship and Commercialization course was named one of the 10 best entrepreneurship courses in the nation by Inc. magazine. The course builds business around emerging technologies developed at The Ohio State University and other research institutions that have not found commercial uses.” And so, for this blog post, I thought I would share one of my current start-up projects and how Fisher College of Business and Ohio State have helped me along the way.
It all started during my internship with PricewaterhouseCoopers this past summer in Columbus. Believe it or not, I met the lead recruiter for our region on my first day at Ohio State – a bond that ultimately led to my internship and eventual job offer in Chicago. Anyways, one of my co-interns from Indiana University participated in Project Belize, a week long experience offered by PwC to teach underprivileged children in Belize basic financial literacy skills. When he told me about the program I was impassioned and began to seek out state-side opportunities that were similar. What I found was a financial literacy education landscape dominated by conflicting programming and mediocre performance. In fact, one study by the Jump$tart Coalition suggested that current efforts had made essentially no impact in student financial literacy over the past 10 years. That was when I realized I had to do something – to use my creative nature and knowledge from business school to make an impact. The result was the founding of Centsay, a start-up non-profit focused on providing universal access to financial literacy education.
Our journey – from that first brainstorming session to implementing our business model – has been an amazing adventure (and we’re still right in the thick of it), but I can with certainty say that we couldn’t have possibly accomplished everything that we have in the past 5 months without the support network and resources available via Ohio State and Columbus. To highlight a few:
- Being enrolled in a business school with integrating programming has allowed me to meet MAcc, MBA, MHR, SMF, and undergraduate students. These different student bodies offer unique perspectives and strengths and weaknesses. Being able to connect with all of them facilitated the construction of our core team and ability to quickly locate short-term specialists to help us overcome short-term obstacles.
- Professors in Fisher have been an invaluable resource for vetting ideas, strategies, and plans. They have been able to provide our team with advice about areas where we lack expertise and guidance when we encounter issues that we have no experience with.
- University leadership and staff have had an open door policy with regards to making our venture a success. Whether we are looking for space to work on projects or introductions to potential partners or donors Ohio State has always gone above and beyond what any of our team members expected.
Ohio State has the unique attribute of giving its students not only the skills, but also the confidence to succeed. While our venture is still in-process, we know we can count on our school for continued support!