Last week, several mentors in the L.E.O. Program visited the class to critique the students’ Minimum Viable Product pitch for the App they are developing, in preparation for their shark tank-style presentations in December. The advice provided by the mentors during this process is invaluable to the students as they move forward with the final preparation of their projects.
After hearing each group’s pitch, the mentors gave their constructive assessments of their progress, as well as advice on the projects and in life.
Financier and former investment banker Frank Pallotta, P’12, ’14, told the boys, ”You’re in a great spot right now. Grab good ideas and go with them. If you have an idea or dream, put it down. You never know where it will take you. And always think outside the box.”
In reference to the students’ app ideas, Mr. Pallotta referenced Steve Jobs as a role model for entrepreneurship. “He figured out what people needed before people figured out they needed it.”
Stephen Froehlich, CPA, CFE, CFF ’79 added, “The only thing stopping you is yourself.”
Part of the process is anticipating and dealing with problems of a new venture. “Start to identify the problems, and fall in love with them,” said Mr. Pallotta. “See what you can do with them.”
Another mentor, Mitch Arthur, P’14, Founder and Head of Products and Services at ArmIt Company, added, “Turn a problem into your advantage,” he said. “Make it the solution.”
David Zawitkowski, CPA ’01, Manager of Transaction Advisory Services at Citron Cooperman in Livingston, stressed to the students the importance of being clear with information during presentations. “Don’t take for granted that everyone knows what you mean.”
Brian Morandi, P’11,’14, Senior Portfolio Manager at Invesco Quantitative Strategies in New York, expressed the importance of working well among classmates. “This is a great opportunity to get critiqued by your peers to improve on your presentation before you are in front of a live audience,” he said.