Learn more about submissions for the Entrepreneurship Engineering: Harnessing Innovation Conference October 15-18, 2014, in Virginia Beach, VA. in the following announcement from the ASEM:
The Technical Program Committee is currently accepting paper submissions for the 2014 International Annual Conference of the American Society for Engineering Management (ASEM).
The ASEM International Annual Conference is a peer review, present-to-publish conference. Membership in ASEM is not mandatory, and nonmembers are cordially invited to submit contributions. Proceedings of the conference are indexed in academic databases.
Conference highlights include world-class keynotes and invited speakers, competitions, workshops, company tours, and networking opportunities. The Society will present a variety of awards to members, students, authors, and chapters.
By Professor Mark Werwath
We live in amazing times. It seems everyone is focused on becoming an entrepreneur, and there is a good reason. Perhaps never before in history has it been this easy to start a business. If you have goods to sell, it is easy and simple to set yourself up as a merchant on Amazon or eBay and sell products directly to your customers without ever setting up a brick and mortar business. No rent to pay, no build out costs, no landlord to negotiate with, no long term leases, down payments, or credit checks. You pay only for what you sell and you pay for setting up your web presence on a month-by-month basis.
Thanks to Amazon web services, there is no need to build a server farm—you can have your website or application hosted on a highly reliable hosting service on a pay-as-you-go basis. These guys will even help you build your site! Of course, that story is several years old at this point and almost not worth mentioning except the good news just keeps on coming. There are now ways to profit from your business idea, concept, or spare capacity without following the traditional approach of design, finance, and build (without first knowing if the market is really there).
Take Indiegogo for example. Don’t have the capital to build your product? Why not overcome the cash barrier by posting an Indiegogo campaign? Indiegogo allows you to sell product before it is built. While your customers know it is risky, therein lies the fun as your initial customers are the pioneers and early adopters and usually wish to have the latest greatest product. They also just received $40Million in second round funding. One project raised over $1 million to build a museum dedicated to Nikola Tesla.
Here are some more examples of solutions in today’s world:
- QUIRKY: Submit your design and earn royalties if it goes to market. No need to manufacture as Quirky takes care of that for you. You share in royalties from your design! You never have to finance or build or go to market to generate a revenue stream!
- Threadless: Crowd sourcing for T-shirt design combines art and entrepreneurship. If your design is selected for production, you participate in the revenue stream of that product’s sales.
- ETSY: This is a craft based marketplace similar to eBay or Amazon but for artisans. Sell your handmade goods in an artisan’s marketplace.
- Shopstarter: crowd-funding geared toward projects and businesses
- Taskrabbit: Connect with people who have odd jobs to get done around the house and get paid as you go.
- Airbnb: rent out spare rooms in your home on a night by night basis. Reviews and ratings give you some assurance of quality and safety.
- Relayrides: If you have spare capacity in your car, why not rent it out and become a car rental agency of your own, in your own neighborhood.
- Uber: Willing to drive people around like a cabbie? Here is a way to connect up with customers who are looking for rides in your area and are willing to pay for the ride.
The list changes every day, but this brave new world opens up the possibility for nearly all of us to become entrepreneurs in our own homes. While it sounds exciting, I am sure the old adage of buyer beware still applies. In some cases above, it is not clear how government regulation will affect our ability to exercise all these options in the years ahead. For example, Airbnb, mentioned above, ran into recent problems in New York in regards to avoiding hotel taxes. And while Kickstarter campaigns allow anyone to reach a much larger audience, the work involved requires a great deal of planning, promotion, and the sometimes ego-draining task of asking a lot of people to give you money with no real guarantee of a pay off.
As new spaces for innovation and outreach open up every day, they can quickly become crowded places and it can be challenging to stand out from the noise. This is where we fall back to the basics of effective marketing, branding, and, of course, creating a great product. Despite the challenges, in many ways, these seem to be very interesting times for the entrepreneur!
Did you know that Northwestern was ranked #1 school for entrepreneurship by StartEngine College? Read more here and discover how even as an MEM student you can benefit from all Northwestern has to offer for entrepreneurs.
Here in the MEM program we often talk about the benefits of getting a dual technical and business masters degree. Things like being exposed to business practices in accounting and marketing, meeting a diverse group of engineers—you know the story—but how does this all translate into the professional world? Victor Moran, a part-time MEM student, has it all figured out. He’s now been promoted twice in the two years since starting our program and today he shares how he leveraged his classroom experience to boost his career at Siemens.
By Jessica Tackett
I have been working for Siemens for over eight years in different sites across Mexico. Four years ago, I was transferred to the Chicago area to help the development of our new wind turbine facility in Elgin. Moving to such a city comes with a lot of perks, one of which was the access to some of the best universities around the United States. Knowing that my stay in Chicago wouldn’t last forever I started my research on the different offers and the MEM program came out as the best option right from the beginning. It had the business management portion while keeping a solid engineering base. The part time option worked beautifully given my work load, my personal life, and my academic aspirations.
What were your first impressions of the program?
Since day one, I discovered that the faculty was very knowledgeable both from the academic side but also from the real world application side. Most of the professors had a broad experience in their fields either as consultants or senior managers with a broad network of contacts to help the student get a real vision of how business works. After a couple of classes it became evident that my long commute, difficult class work, and the challenging homework and exams were stressful, however, I kept in mind the important thing—I was getting the knowledge and I was getting the best value for my investment.
And what were the results of your persistence?
After just over two years in the program I have been promoted at my workplace twice, first to Production Manager and just recently to Plant Manager of one of our facilities in California. It is hard to say how much of these promotions were related to my Northwestern experience, what would have happened if I hadn’t joined the MEM program, or even where I would be without it. What is certain is that the academic knowledge I have been getting through the masters degree has definitely helped me to compensate for my lack of experience in some specific fields like Marketing and Finance, which are key for my new role.
How exactly have they helped you?
They got me closer to other parts of the business I normally don’t interact with and closer to people who work in other industries I have never dealt with. For example, I did not work with marketing and finance related activities in my day-to-day, however understanding the principles and relationship with my job helped me to gain awareness of how everything is connected in the corporate world. Sometimes it isn’t so evident how all the different disciplines interact between each other in the corporate world, like how a marketing decision impacts what I do in the operations world. Taking class with other engineers from various industries helped me to see the work environment from a different perspective. I normally do not deal with software programmers or consultants so the interaction in the classroom brings a lot of knowledge and experience to the table making it very valuable as a learning experience.
Do you think that these lessons have impacted your promotions?
I know that having the academic knowledge of some specific subjects helped a lot to get the jobs. For example, the typical projects I have managed at work were usually low to medium complexity; however, when asked about it during interviews I was able to answer based on my experience and also on my academic knowledge of how to manage high complex projects based on my Project Management class at Northwestern.
What else from your classes proved helpful?
The help of my professors, the discussions in class, and the case studies definitely have added a new perspective to the way I think and manage myself in the work place. It gives you a significant advantage to try all this in a safe school environment before experimenting in real life and I believe companies appreciate that. Finally, being a student sends the message out there that you’re an individual who cares about his career, can learn pretty much anything, and is willing to give more to achieve what he wants.
Tell us a bit more about your promotions.
I started as a Production Supervisor where I was responsible for managing a group of skilled technicians into meeting a specific set of targets. This was after the plant was just opened here in the Chicago area so a lot of hiring, training, process development, and tooling requirements were part of my day-to-day. After one and a half years, I was promoted to Production Manager, which had the same responsibilities as before, but with the addition of financial responsibilities, budgets, capacity planning, S&OP, more strategic deployment, lean manufacturing implementation, etc.
Today, in my new role as a Plant Manager, I have full responsibility of the P&L of a $33M business. I manage the production, engineering, logistics, customer service, quality, and maintenance department. I am in charge of both hourly and salaried employees and will be the ultimate person responsible for the performance of a business that is expected to grow into $40M in the next two years serving mainly the West Coast of the United States.
Sounds like a lot of responsibility. How did you handle the stress when you were first starting as a student?
School was actually a good therapy for work stress. Sometimes at work we are so focused on the day-to-day firefighting that we forget we are engineers and we know the scientific way of solving issues. Going to school helped to activate my brain, to go back to that “forgotten knowledge,” and bring it with me to use in the real world.
What are you most looking forward to about the new position?
The challenge, of course, and the learning experience of managing a complete business. It will boost my career by exposing me to the strategic side of the business, the financials, the customers, and of course the complete operations world so the learning opportunities are endless.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Time flies when you are having a good time and that is exactly the feeling I have right now after my time at Northwestern.
MEM was thrilled to celebrate it’s 35th Anniversary on February 13th, with a special Industry Night and a talk from Guy Kawasaki, based on his recent book, Enchantment. Watch Guy’s talk below.
Want to pitch your newest start up idea? Did you love Guy Kawaski’s speech at Industry Night and now you’re craving more great advice from successful innovators? Then attend the Evanston Edge Startup Showcase this Thursday, February 27. The event includes as address by successful entrepreneur and Leagacy.com founder Stopher Bartel. More information about the event and Stopher from The Incubator in Evanston below.
Presented by Evanston-based Technology Innovation Center, a not-for-profit business incubator dedicated to supporting the growth of very early stage technology-based businesses, Evanston Edge Startup Showcase is a gathering of entrepreneurs, investors, students, developers, and designers in support of Evanston’s most innovative startups. The event features local companies as they pitch their latest products, services, and technologies. Join us as we nurture new ideas and promote pioneering business ventures within the Evanston community.
RSVP Here: http://goo.gl/pWLqI7
- Networking & Welcome (5:00pm)
- Keynote Speaker Stopher Bartol (5:30pm)
- Pitches (5:45pm)
- Reception (7:00 PM )
Stopher Bartol, Founder Legacy.com
After nearly 10 years as a management consultant in the U.S and Europe, Stopher founded and serves as President & CEO of Evanston-based Legacy.com. The Internet’s leading online memorialization company, it hosts an online obituary for 7 of 10 people who die each day in the U.S. The company provides services for leading newspaper websites in the U.S., Canada, UK, and Australia, and for funeral homes served by those newspapers. The Legacy.com domain is among the 100 most visited in the U.S., with its traffic distributed primarily among the company’s 800+ newspaper affiliates.
“The event on Thursday went about as well as it possibly could have gone. It exceeded my hopes and expectations.” Those were MEM Director Mark Werwath’s reflections on the First Annual MEM Industry Night, February 13, celebrating 35 years of an MEM program that just keeps getting stronger.
The evening started with a student, alumni and Industry networking event, followed by a speech from Guy Kawasaki, an early Apple employee that helped make “Mac” the household name it is today. Guy delivered a fantastic speech on Enchantment (taken from his book on the same topic) and leadership. The evening finished with a dinner and the opportunity for all the guests to interact. ”I really liked it! Guy is an incredible speaker!” current MEM student Patricio Azcunaga said about the event.
Motorola Mobility provided incredible support and funding in order to make the event possible. “Motorola Mobility remains one of the major high tech leaders in the Chicagoland area, despite all the recent changes. Alumni Iqbal Arshad is one their most senior and visible technology leaders and we are very fortunate to have him on our advisory board,” Director Werwath shared. “I will always remember and appreciate the efforts they gave to make this night a huge success for MEM and for McCormick.” Similar thanks went out to HAVI Global Solutions, and Hu-Friedy Mfg. Co., LLC, the Gold and Silver sponsors for Industry Night.
Susan Fox, El Rossman, and Diane Kessler all helped make the event come together as a huge success.
Nuclear Division is a mobile games developer located near Los Angeles in San Fernando Valley. The team aims to “help create the next wave of fun and dynamic mobile games.”
We know MEM students aren’t going to jump into too risky of an opportunity, but remember one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns of all time was a video game. Their video is still worth watching though the campaign ended long ago.
MEM student Patricio Azcunaga made it to the finals in this year’s Illinois Clean Energy Challenge, along with four other Northwestern students all enrolled in the Farley Center for Entrepreneurship NUvention classes. Check out the video below and click here for the Farley Center’s coverage of the events.
In this episode, Wholsaler Assistant Editor Ashlei Williams and Dr. McNeeley discuss the economic recession while MEM students weigh in on the state of manufacturing in the United States.
ProjectXpresso is excited to announce a unique opportunity for MEM students and alumni to expand their professional network while at the same time helping an undergraduate seed theirs.
ProjectXpresso facilitates professional introductions between individuals in the same industry over 15-minute Skype conversations. Part of the mission is to help undergraduates gain a deeper understanding of what it means to work in their industry. By offering up 15-minutes to an undergraduate interested in learning more about what a MEM student or Alum currently does, projectXpresso will give you, as a member, priority standing by introducing you to a professional among the hundreds within projectXpresso’s network of top professionals.
Sign up today at http://projectxpresso.com/school-grad/MEM