DESIGN THINKING: A SYSTEMATIC APPROACH TO PROBLEM SOLVING
For as long as she can remember, Stern freshman Sarah Munis has wanted to be an entrepreneur. She applied to be part of the first BTE cohort “because I believe that the best way to teach entrepreneurship is not just in the classroom but experientially, which is exactly what BTE offers,” she tells Poets&Quants.
“I wanted to be surrounded by students who shared the same passion. We live in a global village powered by ever changing technology, so being equipped with a combination of business and technological skills will prepare me and my fellow classmates to lead in disruptive entrepreneurship endeavors,” adds Munis of Arlington, Va. “Doing all this in New York City, one of the most innovative hubs in the world, with access to innovative companies and resources, is icing on the cake.”
Before the Design Sprint, students completed a month-long classroom course on Design Thinking, a process that encourages people to challenge assumptions, redefine problems and create innovative solutions that can be prototyped and tested. A week before the competition, teams received details about their startups’ unique challenges and discussed strategies for accelerating innovation. Students also had access to a group of industry mentors with whom they could discuss their progress and change plans based on feedback.
During Sprint week, students tested, adapted and fine-tuned their solutions before presenting them to their startup founders. A group of industry judges selected a team working with Bolder Money as the winners of the first BTE Design Sprint: Members included Rafed Abbassi, Harry Du, Sarah Munis, and Dinmukhamed Shubay.
Bolder Money asked students to develop a Minimum Viable Product of its online dashboard that the company could roll out to customers. The dashboard needed to encourage confidence in investing and build trust within its target audience – namely, women. To come up with their winning solution, students interviewed target customers and researched innovative frameworks by other entrepreneurs. They proposed creating online and in-app communities of like-minded users, such as “Money Making Mothers” and “Black Excellence.”
“We decided to focus on ideas which would help build up trust, a sense of community and confidence for Bolder Money users. In the end, we proposed a design with a greater and more personal focus on presenting financial advisors who are part of Bolder Money’s team, in order to build a greater sense of trust with consumers. We also introduced new proposed features for an in-app community, progress pie charts and engagement through workshops,” BTE student Dinmukhamed Shubay of London tells P&Q.
“From the moment I first read about the novel BTE program, I knew it would help me prepare for the ever-developing business world of the future. I had no prior coding experience before entering university, but I always had a passion for entrepreneurship.”
Students will build on these lessons in the second semester of immersion focused on data science and product management, according to a Stern announcement. The first cohort will graduate in 2025.
Learn more about NYU Stern’s BTE degree here.
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