All Posts By

Meghan Plate

By | Entrepreneurship

Fulbright-RAF Experience at University of Rochester

Each fall, the Ain Center welcomes visiting faculty from Romania to explore entrepreneurship. Alma Pentescu, a member of the 2017 cohort, shares her “wonderful, perspective-changing” experiences at UR.

Read the blog post here.

By | Uncategorized

Fulbright-RAF Experience

at University of Rochester

By Alma Pentescu (originally published on the Fulbright-Romania Webpage)

Last year a “new chapter of my life” was to be written. As a proud winner of a Fulbright-RAF award, I had the opportunity to spend a semester in the United States of America. As a teaching assistant and marketing Ph.D. at the Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu – The Faculty of Economic Sciences, I teach marketing and trade related subjects. However, this opportunity emerged due to the fact that my colleagues and I work on developing entrepreneurship education at our university. Thus, in order to find out more about how an entrepreneurial ecosystem works, how to build one and how to adapt to an ever-changing environment, I went to the Ain Center for Entrepreneurship – University of Rochester, NY.

During my stay in Rochester I did so many interesting things. I took the Upstate New York National Science Foundation I-Corps short course as well as two other courses, spoke with different professors; attended pitching/business plan competitions and various speaker series; been to conferences on entrepreneurship topics; took part at the meetings of Excell Partners, Rochester Angel Network, the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council; attended different events (organized by students, alumni or the community), both professional and for leisure. I traveled to New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Illinois and beyond, and have seen several entrepreneurship centers, as well as incredible places. I had a glimpse of the American life by attending different events such as the Clothesline Festival, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra’s concerts, The Blue & Gold Gala, Thanksgiving and others.

The United States of America are well known for entrepreneurship, entrepreneurship education and research. Being able to learn from such experienced people about how they started their entrepreneurial initiatives, how they’ve grown, what worked for them and what didn’t was a huge opportunity for me and my colleagues (the ones in this program as well as the ones at my university). But it wasn’t just about the things I’ve learnt. The main benefit came from the people I’ve met. Kind and willing to share their knowledge, ideas and experience. Thus, I want to thank all the inspiring people I’ve met thanks to this award and to all the wonderful people who made this opportunity possible. This is not the end of the story, but, hopefully, the beginning of a fruitful collaboration.

Alma Pentescu was one of six Romanian professors in 2017 to receive a Fulbright-RAF research grant to learn about entrepreneurship at the University of Rochester. A Teaching Assistant at Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu, she is located in the Department of Management, Marketing, and Business Administration. During her time at the U of R, she pursued the project, “Entrepreneurial Education: The Foundation of an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem.”

By | Entrepreneurship

ENT Club Spotlight: UR Consulting Group

Theresa Xu ’18 explains how UR Consulting Group helps people on both the UR campus and the Rochester community.

Read the blog post here.

By | People, Rochester

ENT Club Spotlight:

UR Consulting Group

By Theresa Xu
University of Rochester Consulting Group (URCG) is a student-run pro-bono consulting group available to all undergraduates from any major and any year at the U of R. Our meetings focus on interview preparation, career workshops, and professional development to assist our members in their goals of obtaining their ideal internship or job. Last semester, we held a “Common Mistakes in Interviewing” workshop and a “Case Study Preparation” workshop that discussed firsthand experiences interviewing for different companies, detailing what was successful and what wasn’t. To determine what our meetings are centered around, we survey our members at the beginning of the semester to cater to their interests. We provide them the options of public speaking, panels, resume workshops, or anything else they might want to see.
Aside from our bi-weekly meetings, we also have engagement projects that our members can apply to be a part of. These projects allow our members to gather a glimpse inside what working on a consulting project with a team in the real-world is like. The teams have around 5 members each that work with a client to solve a specific problem the client has, whether it be strategy and operations or marketing campaigns. We believe that we provide knowledge and a unique perspective that can benefit our clients who are seeking help. Last semester, we had the privilege of drafting marketing proposals and strategies for Brue Coffee, College Truckers and College Town. Although we are considered a consulting club, our organization benefits anyone who is interested in developing their leadership abilities and teamwork skills, which is essential for any career path. By gathering first-hand experience working with different clients, we believe that our members are even more prepared for their respective futures in any industry.
For the upcoming semester, we have some exciting plans and events to offer to our members. We hope to host a Case Study Competition where our members work in teams to solve intricate problems and present their unique solutions to a panel of judges. This event targets and hones participants’ critical thinking abilities and creativity, which is an important factor in interviewing for the top consulting internships that typically conduct case study interviews. Additionally, in order for our members to have a better understanding of the career opportunities out there for them, we hope to invite students who have successfully completed summer internships in various companies and positions to present about their experiences to educate others. This serves as both a networking and learning opportunity for everyone.
Meeting and contact information can be found on CCC!

Theresa Xu is a senior studying Financial Economics with a minor in Computer Science. Due to her involvement in URCG, she found interest in consulting and just finished her internship at Ernst & Young in New York City, where she will return after graduation.

By | Entrepreneurship

Painting the Blank Canvas

Sidhant Ahluwalia ’18, one of UR’s entrepreneurship club leaders, shares his tips for college entrepreneurs.

Read the blog post here.

By | Innovation, People

Painting the Blank Canvas:

How to Be an Entrepreneur in College

By Sidhant Ahluwalia (originally published on Medium)

To begin with, I’m not a nerd, I’m not a valedictorian, I’m just another college student with a dream to make a living after graduation. Over the next 5 to 10 mins, I’m going to take you over my story of what I did in college to make the most of my time. Below are 8 steps I took to get to where I am today and by the end of this, I hope to inspire you to find your steps to make a successful college career.


Learn a handy skill.

Over the summer of my sophomore year in college I picked up on iOS dev, a skill not many people have a great understanding of. Being able to code in swift and learning from taking a summer course and youtube videos prepared me for my first internship at a tech startup. Getting involved in a new startup is an experience you can’t replicate - it’s like working on a group project with a 24-hour deadline, all the time. Let’s say “intense” is a modest word to describe it. Skills such as App Development can and are being used by most firms/startups and being able to master such skills will differentiate you from the crowd. Not only do skills such as these help you get experience in the corporate world, but it also makes you self sufficient to start your own business.

Take an entrepreneurship (ENT) course.

As much as people value a technical background, having the necessary soft skills - such as communication, working with partners and getting through failures - are things people aren’t experienced with; trust me you want to get this out of the way while you’re in college. Learning about making business plans, financial plans, executive summaries and selling your ideas in college is the best platform to build on these skills. The buzz words count, industry terms can make or break a pitch, MVP, Disruptive Tech, value proposition and Lean startup are a few of them, add them to your dictionary now!

Always have a side hustle.

As busy as college gets, remember why you’re here. Is it for the parties on Friday nights? The mixers on Thursday? The hangover Sundays? Be focused, have a project that you’re passionate about, take it outside your class time and make it happen. It’s important to work on things you care about to know the impact you can make to the world, so go ahead, find a problem and solve it. For me I used college as a giant inflatable, anything you do in college is like doing something on the side.

Meet the right people.

Find people that contrast your skills, something I learned along my journey is that we are around people that like the same things that we do. If I’m good at programming, it’s highly likely that my good friends will be good programmers as well. Think about it, when you want to start a business, you want to have a CEO, CTO and CFO - would you want your c-suite to be full of people who all think alike, who can basically program anything? No, right?! You want a diverse set of people that bring in different perspectives and skills to the table. This step is crucial to success, so go ahead and expand your circle.

Make it BIG!

Be it a business or building a community, make it big! For me building a community was what mattered the most; building a community of like-minded people can make big things happen. After all, you’re who you surround yourself with. Founding a club usually just takes a few people and a statement of interest. If there isn’t the community, go make it... that’s what entrepreneurs do. The same goes for a business, and the single most important purpose of a business should be to get known. If you don’t make it big it doesn’t count!

Find the successful few.

Running an organization can be challenging, but you’re not on your own: use tried and tested methods to build on (you don’t have to reinvent the wheel). Find what students at your university care about. Is it working on building products? Learning about how entrepreneurship is applicable in different fields? Something other than that? Make sure you’re targeting the right audience, as this is a very important step for building the community. Make sure you’re not providing a service that already exists - create something new, fill in a new niche.

Try the alternative route.

You’re not an entrepreneur if you don’t know how to raise money or pitch a project you’ve been working on. Being a VC may have been a dream in the past, but in today’s date people are encouraged to try become campus partners for VC firms. This is a great way to meet entrepreneurs and like-minded students. Dorm room fund, Rough Draft Ventures and tons of other venture capital firms are made to fund startups out of college dorm rooms. I’m personally involved with GroundUP ventures and I can say for sure that it has given me the opportunity to network with people from all around the globe to talk about things that interest me.

The sky is the limit.

I can assure you that you’re only restricted to the limits you set, college dropouts have made some of the biggest companies we know today, one of such has over 2 billion users. Believe in yourself and make it happen - set those ground rules and the rest will follow.

These steps aren’t a roadmap to having a successful college career. I believe everyone has to find their route, their calling and this is how I found mine.

Sidhant Ahluwalia is a member of University of Rochester’s Class of 2018. He is working toward a Bachelors of Arts degree in Computer Science, track in HCI. A student in the Hajim School of Engineering & Applied Sciences, Ahluwalia is also a campus partner for GroundUP Ventures and co-founder of Meliora LaunchPad, an entrepreneurship club for innovative students.

By | Entrepreneurship

Spring 2018 at a Glance

This upcoming semester is going to be a busy one – check out what we have planned!

Read the blog post here.