How MBA Students Are Pitching Their Ideas, Shark Tank Style

How MBA Students Are Pitching Their Ideas, Shark Tank Style

God equips each of us to make a difference in the world, wiring us with creative problem-solving skills and ideas. For some, this divinely innovative gene leads to leadership in the business world. For others, discovery in the kitchen or a well-timed word of advice. And, like in every calling or career, God invites us to partner with Him in using these skills to serve others and make the world a better, more beautiful place.

MBA Graduate Pitch Night

At Jessup University, the School of Business runs a Shark Tank-inspired MBA Graduate Pitch Night where Master in Business Administration candidates put Christ-centered entrepreneurship into action. It’s a lively component of the MBA capstone class, required for each cohort and open to select undergraduates who perform exceptionally well.

During the event, MBA students with a compelling start-up idea pitch to a panel of investors. Typically, these investors are personal friends of Professor Ray Bryant, the business faculty who began this tradition. In the past, this panel of high-profile entrepreneurs and CEOs has made several angel investment offers, including one seed round of $50,000. 

“The presence of successful business professionals ramps up the pressure when it’s not just their classmates and instructor,” said Ray, who started teaching at Jessup in 2018. “The goal is to simulate as much real-world pressure as possible, while providing a few students an opportunity to turn their projects into reality.” 

How It Works

How does it work? First, it’s collaborative. Each team includes a minimum of two to three students who have 20 minutes to pitch their idea to the panel. Next, it’s interactive. After each pitch, there are 10 minutes for panel questions, providing students with a chance to think on their feet. It’s also professional. The unofficial dress code encourages everyone to dress as professionally as possible without being uncomfortable. Students should count on a three-hour time commitment for the event.

“During the Q&A, our panel asks really hard questions but in a decent and civil way,” said Ray. “It’s never about the person—it’s always about the idea. This experience allows students to take all of the skills they’ve learned during their time in the MBA and apply them to something. They can take this idea and launch it when they leave.” 

The Spring 2023 event marks the 22nd cohort to participate. While not everyone in class is looking to pitch an idea, this kind of immersive environment offers a challenging and valuable learning experience for any business student. Many nonprofits are pitched too, as well as a variety of both scalable and smaller, local ideas.

Biblical Ethics in Entrepreneurship

Of course, Jessup isn’t the only school to host a Shark Tank-inspired pitch-a-thon. Other colleges and universities in the Sacramento region organize similar events for aspiring entrepreneurs. But Jessup’s Christ-centered education is distinct in its vision to elevate business principles that align with kingdom values. Our gospel-infused curriculum integrates spiritual formation into every class, giving students invaluable, real-world business experience with biblical ethics. 

Some notable past pitches from MBA students include a national community that helps and supports adoptees and their parents, a coffee company dedicated to supporting disabled veterans and their families, a pet supply company with products that allow pet owners to travel more easily with emotional support animals, and a leadership training company focused on building leaders in the Hispanic, blue collar workforce.

Watch Chris Hill’s story, an MBA alum and retired deputy sheriff whose recent start-up, 13 Folds Coffee Co., honors military veterans and first responders.
Learn by Doing

Our School of Business holds a deep commitment to experiential learning by providing relevant real-world experiences, industry-leading business simulations, practical industry internships, and dedicated faculty with decades of notable business experience. This helps us equip our business students to think outside of the box as they develop into principled, effective, and transformational servant-leaders and entrepreneurs in business and beyond. 

Our goal is for you to “learn by doing” as you apply the knowledge, skills, and tools gained to be innovative and highly competent problem-solvers in the 21st century. These attributes will make you stand out in the marketplace as you fulfill your vocational calling. 

If you’re looking for an education like this, Jessup could be a great fit! Visit our website to learn more about how our MBA programs equip you for Christ-centered entrepreneurship.

MBA Preview Evening

The next MBA Preview Evening takes place on Friday, Apr 21, 2023 from 5-8pm. We invite you to attend and enjoy dinner on us while experiencing this MBA Graduate Pitch Night first-hand! Register here.