It can be a difficult decision to go back to school, especially when it will take time out of building your company. The 12 months spent in ESTEEM, however, will save you countless days, hours, and even months of spinning your wheels without progress.
The teachings I learned, the connections I made, and the confidence I built, have proved to be invaluable in my startup pursuits.
Here are 3 takeaways from my experience in the ESTEEM program at Notre Dame:
- Don’t be afraid to try out your idea
Testing out your ideas early not only helps get affirmation that your idea has legs before you spend too much time and money, but also let’s you receive valuable customer feedback that can help shape the ultimate product. Participating in the startup competitions hosted by various Notre Dame groups will give you a taste of both explaining your idea to others before it’s fully fleshed out and creating prototypes under limited resources and time.
- There are more valuable ways to spend your time than traditional ‘networking’
The Notre Dame network is vast, and countless professionals are willing and able to help you with your ideas. Cultivating relationships with a few alumni is more valuable than spending hours at networking events trading business cards. Make it personal and see if there is a way you can help them – volunteer a few hours to work on a project, connect them with other students who have skillsets they need, or simply show sincere gratitude and appreciation for their time.
- It’s going to be hard and finding a support system is essential
Going out on your own is not easy. Taking advantage of the learning and extracurricular opportunities during the ESTEEM program helps prepare you for what is ahead. You will likely need to find people who understand and can empathize with your struggles, yet push you to keep going. This may be a fellow student, a faculty member, or mentor who gives guidance and support during the struggles and challenges.
Originally published by Kris Priemer at esteem.nd.edu on April 20, 2016.