Professor Katsuo Kurabayashi kicked off the event by showing many successful alumni, who transitioned from academia to industry. The SearchLite Innovator-in-Residence Program is a great opportunity for graduate students to have a taste of industry by participating in hands-on real projects.
Scott Phillips, CEO of The SearchLite, challenged the students regarding their current understanding of the industries which align with their areas of research.. He then explained what The SearchLite is, who The SearchLite’s clients are, and the methodology The SearchLite uses to conduct Customer Discovery. Lastly, Scott used three real cases as examples to demonstrate the work at The SearchLite.
During the final open discussion, a student said he just wanted to be an engineer, and wondered if the business skills would be useful? Both Michelle (General Motors) and Katherine (Ford) responded quickly and stated that if you work for a company you have to deal with a lot of things besides engineering, so the soft skills are extremely useful.
When in a company or an industry, it is easy to overestimate the importance of one’s product or service. That is why they hire companies like The SearchLite, to provide different perspectives. When we are students, it easy to underestimate the importance of soft skills that are not clearly aligned with our majors, but those are the skills that will make you stand out. As the alumni all said, “Mechanical Engineers Need Soft Skills too”.
(Written by MJ Zhang; Edited by Christy Song; Photos by Hui Yang and MJ Zhang)
Professor Mohammed Islam notified his students at the University of Michigan that they may earn credit for course EECS 499, Directed Study, by participating in The SearchLite’s Market Discovery Challenges.
Scott Phillips (left) and Professor Mohammed Islam (right) in EECS 406 class at the University of Michigan.
Most graduate Innovators-in-Residence join The SearchLite in their senior years looking for exposure to the industry and business sector, which enhances their resume and benefits their careers.
Did you know that October is national chili month? I don’t know if whoever came up with this was trying to be punny, but it sure is the month where chilly is almost not adequate enough to describe the weather. Before the weather turns too cold we have some news that may warm you up!
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15 things that may catch you off guard when transitioning from Academia to Non-Academic Careers…
Surprises come in many forms and can be your best and worst friend, but the worst type of surprise is when it catches you off guard and you’re not prepared to handle what it has to offer. Have no fear! To alleviate much of this anxiety, The SearchLite went on a quest to find out what surprised people the most upon entering an industry after an arduous academic experience and boy are you in for a treat. Devon Triplett, Diane Bouis, and Bhramara Tirupati are three successful cases of people who have already made the transition from academia to industry, but it certainly wasn’t a walk in the park. Here are the top lists of what they considered to be the most surprising through first-hand experience.
I-Corps™ Energy and Transportation is a customized curriculum to help teams of participating researchers discover the commercial potential of their technology, build a business model, and garner insights from leaders in the energy and transportation industries. This is the second year in a row that Next Energy has teamed up with the CFE I-Corps Program, a program offered by the University of Michigan Center for Entrepreneurship. CFE I-Corps is a region-wide program designed to foster, grow and nurture an innovation ecosystem. Through partnerships between the National Science Foundation (NSF), Michigan universities, Midwestern universities, Michigan SmartZones, and venture capital and entrepreneurial communities, the program has created an opportunity for teams throughout the state and region to turn technology into commercial opportunities.
Jonathan Fay, Clay Phillips and Dan Radomski led the Trasportation Track of the I-Corps Program. As the primary instructors, they gave constant feedback to the teams regarding their value propositions, target customers and other aspects of their business model hypothesis.
Visha, Scott and the The SearchLite had the privilege of working with Alternative Fuel Containers, LLC (AFC). AFC is developing Natural Gas storage tanks for a range of motor vehicles that will minimize refuelling time and maximize miles driven per tank. The AFC tank design uses MOF (metal organic framework) adsorbent to capture Natural Gas at the molecular level. This means an AFC tank will store an amount of fuel comparable to CNG technology but without the limitations of tank shape, compression costs and safety concerns. Visha and Scott enjoyed working closely with Dillon Fuerth and Joong Lee. Dillon is the Business Unit Manager, is responsible for guiding the company from proof-of-concept to commercialization. Joong is the Development Manager, is creating alternative natural gas tank systems using technologies developed by framergy Inc. and Texas A&M University.
The Michigan Graduate Consulting Club is holding their first annual Case Competition hosted by MGCC is scheduled for April 3rd 2015 on the Michigan Campus. Graduate, professional students (PhD, MD, JD, MBA) and postdoctoral fellows from the Midwest region were invited to participate.
Participating teams chose from one of two opportunities to compete. 1) The case composition and 2) the case presentation. This type of event is an excellent opportunity for graduate and postdoctoral fellows who are in transition from academia to industry or consulting. The event helps individuals and team develop the skills necessary to develop and present solutions to an exciting real-world business problem.
First prize for the written case composition is $1000 and First prize for the normal case composition is $500.
The Michigan Graduate Consulting Club (MGCC) aims to support University of Michigan graduate students and post docs interested in pursuing the management consulting industry as a career. To this end, we host different events including weekly case practice meetings, company info sessions, and soon our annual case competition. We also provide resources and personal development services that are necessary for success in consulting interviews.
The SearchLite is a sponsor of the event along with Boston Consulting and Roland Burger Consultants. Scott Phillips, CEO and Founder of The SearchLite will participage on the final judges panel.