How does a woman-focused financial startup build trust amongst its users, giving them the confidence to start investing?
If you’re Bolder Money, you might turn to a group of entrepreneurial-minded NYU Stern students trained in design thinking.
“Design thinking is how we should be building world-beating businesses. A solid command of consumer insight coupled with strong commercial thinking is the secret for building successful businesses,” says Sid Singh, Founder, Bolder Money, one of four New York City startups that participated last month in NYU Stern’s first Design Sprint with undergrad students in the Business, Technology, and Entrepreneurship (BTE) program. “
“Each of the teams demonstrated natural instinct in unpacking the problem by applying thoughtful consumer-centric thinking, and I was pleasantly surprised by how insightful and strategic their solutions were,” Singh adds.
AN UNDERGRADUATE BUSINESS DEGREE FOR ENTREPRENEURS
Last summer, New York University’s Stern School of Business announced the BTE as a first-of-its-kind undergraduate business program integrating business, technology and entrepreneurship in one four-year degree. Its curriculum focuses on four areas: tech and entrepreneurship immersion, bringing NYC’s tech ecosystem into the classroom; tech coursework, entrepreneurial coursework; and a capstone project where students either work on their own startup or work with another startup in its early stages.
“The BTE program differentiates itself in the way that it integrates student learning around entrepreneurship and technology and in the way it helps foster community,” Ashish Bhatia, professor and academic director, told Poets&Quants last summer.
“BTE students as a cohort will take a Stern Solutions designed immersive course in Tech and Entrepreneurship that will help them foster an action-oriented, entrepreneurial mindset while also developing a big-picture perspective of the tech ecosystem, including important tech topics ranging from the sharing economy to the ethics of tech.”
The BTE degree merges liberal arts, business and tech fundamentals, social impact learning, and entrepreneurship immersion, according to the business school. Students advance through the program as a cohort, taking experiential courses in entrepreneurship and technology.
‘A NEW TYPE OF THINKING BIASED TOWARD ACTION’
The first cohort started this fall, and the BTE Design Sprint was its first big hands-on project. The weeklong immersion was hosted by MAS Event + Design, a female- and Stern alumni-founded experience agency, at its DUMBO studio. (DUMBO – Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass – is the Brooklyn neighborhood known for its innovative startups and tech-focused entrepreneurs).
BTE students worked in teams alongside four New York City startups, tackling unique challenges facing the early-stage ventures. Startups included:
- Alinea, an investing app for GenZ to invest in what matters to them
- Bolder Money, a financial coaching platform for women and minorities to help them avoid financial mistakes and expand their participation in investing through coaching and actionable product recommendations
- SnappyScreen, a wellness company focused on convenience, quality, and sustainability, co-founded by Stern alumna Katelyn McClellan (MBA ’15)
- Vengo, a software and media company co-founded by Stern alumnus Brian Shimmerlik (MBA ’13)
“What’s especially exciting for our students is that the BTE program is fully anchored in real-world, real-time experiential learning, right from the very start of the program,” said Bryan Ramos, assistant dean of Global & Experiential Education. “For the BTE Design Sprint, we customized our Stern Solutions experiential learning method, an iterative process of immersion, action and reflection that Stern pioneered more than two decades ago, giving undergraduate students the chance to work right alongside actual ventures, including those founded by Stern alumni.”