Behind The Scenes With The Next 36′s Student Entrepreneurs: Week 3

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Have you ever considered starting your own company while still in school? Have you wondered what it would be like to take an idea from inception to a real life product?

Join us every week for an inside look into the experiences of four students at The Next 36, the founders of DineWithMe, giving you a glimpse of what it’s like to be a student entrepreneur.

“The Canadian business community has been extremely supportive of our initiative. Throughout the summer, I have been able to make contact with angel investors, venture capitalists, partners and CEOs from various industries.” —Daniel Rodic, fourth year finance and economics student, University of Toronto

The goal of The Next 36 is to help launch the careers of 36 of Canada’s most promising and innovative undergraduates.

The program identifies these students through a rigorous national selection process, and gives them the academic foundation, practical skills, role models and networks to become Canada’s next generation of entrepreneurial leaders.

Students should expect to be pushed out of their comfort zone, gain skills vital from entrepreneurs and nation builders and have their expectations for themselves increased dramatically.

Week In Review

We were privileged this week to have Mark Busch, Professor at Georgetown University, as a lecturer this week, where he taught us about the political economy. At the week’s end, I had a much greater appreciation for the work and effort that is required for countries to negotiate deals.

Further, we learned about a concept called “non-market strategy,” where companies like Intel and Boeing utilize their governmental influence (i.e., non-market capabilities) to maximize their shareholder value (a market concept).  I feel prepared to start tackling The Economist, now that I have a better framework of how to interpret their stories. He left us with three key takeaways I want to share with the TalentEgg audience:

  • It’s not a borderless world: In today’s world, what happens in one country can have dramatic effects across the globe.
  • The global economy can be touched: Almost everything in international politics is publically available to read.
  • Become a connoisseur of ideas: Never stop thinking of and writing down ideas, you never know when one will stick.

This week, we’re giving you a preview into how our days actually look like in The Next 36. Ask us questions YOU want answered by leaving a comment below or tweeting us at @dinewithmeapp.

What is different about these classes compared to regular school?

Amy BerardAmy Berard (Kamloops, BC)

Fourth year marketing and public relations student – Thompson Rivers University

The Next 36 sets a high standard with each of their classes. Everyone here comes from different university backgrounds, but I don’t think any of us have experienced a setting like the N36 classroom. We wear business casual and discussion is not only encouraged, it is expected. This means our professors will push us to answer the question and move the conversation forward.

One of the students noted there was a “high level of clapping” which shows you the level of respect we have for the professors brought in to teach us. Most of our classes involve a large degree of preparation too, including Harvard Business School cases, various journal articles, and presentations.

How does the app development process work? What does your day look like?

Pilwon HuhPilwon Huh (Toronto, ON)

Fourth year computer science student – University of Waterloo

The app development process we follow is 1) Document requirements specification based on feature set internally discussed, 2) Define the working relationships among different components by functional requirements, and 3) Develop, test, and deploy the app. We repeat the process until perfection is achieved.

My typical day goes like this: Check the progress report, prioritize issues raised from developers, review their work and give detailed feedback, assign new tasks and modify existing ones, and communicate with developers online and answer their questions.

How are the interactions with other teams? Secretive, or do you collaborate a lot?

Salima HirjiSalima Hirji (Calgary, AB)

Third year sociology student – University of British Columbia

Living with the other teams has been a great way for us to collaborate and build relationships with each other. Everyone has been extremely helpful to bounce ideas off of and refine concepts – whether it  be 11 a.m. or 11 p.m.!

We also take advantage of any free time we have to meet up with other members of the program – whether it be celebrating someone’s birthday or just getting together with another team for dinner.

Overall, we’re surrounded by a wonderful group of individuals who have enriched The Next 36 experience!

What is it like to talk to members of the business community as a Next 36 member?

Daniel RodicDaniel Rodic (Toronto, ON)

Fourth year finance and economics student – Rotman Commerce, University of Toronto

The reception has been nothing but amazing. The Canadian business community has been extremely supportive of our initiative. Throughout the summer, I have been able to make contact with angel investors, venture capitalists, partners and CEOs from various industries. Most of the time, I have made those connections through either cold emails, or through leveraging my existing network that I have built up through the Impact Entrepreneurship Group or my time at the Rotman Commerce Consulting Association. In general, as a student, you are at a HUGE advantage over non-students starting a business. Leveraging the student card opens a lot of doors, so don’t be afraid to use it.

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About the author

Daniel Rodic is a third year finance student in the Rotman Commerce program at the University of Toronto, a member of The Next 36, and co-founder of DineWithMe, a mobile venture founded out of The Next 36 that makes it easier for you to eat out with your friends. Daniel has experience in project management and team leadership in the non-profit, public and private sectors. While his expertise is steeped in strategy consulting through his role as President of the Rotman Commerce Consulting Association, Daniel has gotten exposure to the technology side of business as an Analyst in Deloitte’s Enterprise Risk Services practice. He has since been recognized as a promising entrepreneurial mind, advancing past 700 students in Canada to earn the title of “Impact Apprentice”.