My Columbia Endeavors | Teen Ink

My Columbia Endeavors

January 19, 2023
By deviyer214 BRONZE, Dubai, Other
deviyer214 BRONZE, Dubai, Other
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Favorite Quote:
Falling in a river doesn't make you drown; staying submerged in it does .

Social Venture @ Columbia University

Columbia University is one of the world's finest-ranked universities and a top-ranked Ivy League college. So to say that I went here for a summer program under the guidance of Dr Jack McGourty, PhD professor of business teaching applied topics in entrepreneurship and innovation and founder of VentureforAll, is nothing but a beguiling tale.  

I remember the day when my journey to Columbia University started; it was not the first day of college, but it was back in January. My university counsellor, David Shepley at Hale Education, had proposed an opportunity for me to attend a pre-college program at Columbia University. Initially, I was curious about what this course could offer me and how valuable this experience would be. This curiosity soon turned into a reality as I underwent a time-bound application process, requiring personal statements and other components; to be designed as an actual university application process. With the support and guidance of teachers at DESC, I soon found myself navigating New York City in the summer of 2022. 

Being part of the commuter course entailed a daily journey as I navigated through the city of Long Island and Manhattan by its train and subway facility. This commute was exciting as it allowed me to become familiar with the routes of NYC and taught me how it felt to live like a New Yorker.  

I would attend two lecture sessions from 9 am-11 am and 1 pm-3 pm. This class was unlike any other format. On the first day, we split into eight teams, where we worked on our venture. The course was designed to emphasis the reality of conducting a venture. This interactive measure taught me how a team must communicate and collaborate synchronously for complete comprehension.

As our venture was underway, we came across the most critical lesson in venture development: evaluating a problem. This lesson was crucial to the entire course and was emphasized throughout the three weeks, as it built a foundation for all other addresses. Understanding a problem did not seem like much of a task. Still, as we gathered in our groups, the time-bound pressure placed much intensity on our thinking and allowed us to develop a greater height of critical thinking. Understanding the problem not only had value because it allowed us to brainstorm ideas about a solution, but the intention behind the lesson was so that we could empathise with our consumers and comprehend their pain points and their needs. In hindsight, it provided immense value to the venture, as it focused us on a path to understanding our customer segment so that we can best approach and aid them with our venture. Furthermore, we could avoid cognitive biases significantly, so we addressed what the consumers wanted rather than what we, venture developers, wanted.

By focusing on a problem, our team directed our venture towards the struggles of aspiring athletes with their lack of advanced data and resources for professional training to enhance their performance. Targeting a specific problem for a particular consumer in our mind allowed us to gain direction towards our consumer base, further complimented with our surveys to best understand our consumers and their pain points. As we progressed through the three weeks, we not only gained a deeper understanding of our consumers but also learned about familiarizing ourselves with the industry, our competitors and the ecosystem. This knowledge about the industry gave us insight into the market gap and our venture placement. Once we had conducted all introductory level research, we were able to start formulating our solution. The market and consumer research allowed us to implement design aspects in our minimal viable product to ensure we differentiated consumer benefits. Additionally, further teachings on financial metrics granted us access to verify the feasibility of our production.

After compiling all the necessary research for our venture, we had an opportunity to display our knowledge to other teams. Through the three weeks, we presented four times, each focusing on different aspects of our venture progress, and the final was a cumulative presentation. In addition, we improved our presentation skills so that the venture portrayed our team's core competencies in a story-like fashion, conducting the audience on a journey.

These lessons by Dr Jack McGourty not only aided in the venture development process but also formulated a formation of a  2nd mind consisting of computing scenarios for problem-solving and critical thinking.  

My time at Columbia involved much more than just my classes in Uris Hall 411. Students could participate in various opportunities and activities, whether sporting activities for the fitness club, a debate in the social topics club, or attending a faculty series lecture. The opportunities to network and experience the city campus were immense and extraordinary. Additionally, being a commuter student, I was open to experiencing the city of New York in total capacity. Whether it be getting local food from nearby restaurants such as the famous New York slice at Mama's Pizza, having a pastry from the Hungarian pastry shop or wandering through the neighboring Central Park, the experience was beyond fruitful! 

My experience as a Columbia University student in the summer program exceeded my expectations. The essential learnings I gained from Dr Jack McGourty and Daniel Hiterer through our lesson and general conversion were invaluable because they taught me how to empathize with the customer; it must start from the problem to give the desired solution.

The author's comments:

New York City: a city of motive and energy. I too came with a motive. A motive to fulfil an experience at Columbia University. My endeavours opened the entire playing field for me, filled with ceaseless opportunities. Columbia's Pre-College program gave me more than just knowledge from my course in entrepreneurship; it taught me to aim high and strive for the golden apple.

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