Student-Entrepreneur Thrives in Isenberg Full-Time MBA Program
February 13, 2014
"The idea of entrepreneur-as-big-risk-taker is overstated," observes David Waymouth, a dedicated entrepreneur and first-year student in Isenberg's Full-time MBA program. "In my own ventures, I try to do my research. I look at all foreseeable scenarios-from worst to best cases and then calculate my best bet versus the risk at hand."
Waymouth owns Ellipsis Video in Northampton, a small, video, photo and marketing service. He joined Isenberg to improve his risk management skills and to unlock new entrepreneurial opportunities. "My professional background is in film making, marketing, and technology," he notes. "At Isenberg, I'm honing skills in areas like financial management and operations. I'm also expanding my business opportunities and network."
A Winning Business Idea. In December, Waymouth's proposed start-up, Rescue Collar, was one of four $1,500 first-place winners in UMass Amherst's annual campus-wide Innovation Challenge elevator pitch competition. At the event, 12 student teams pitched their preliminary business plans to a panel of business-practitioner judges. Waymouth and Isenberg students on two other teams were prize winners. The Innovation Challenge will culminate in April when five teams with extensive business plans compete for up to $50,000.
Current pet trackers, Waymouth told his audience, are too large to fit on half of the dogs and nearly 90% of the cats in the United States. They're also uncomfortably heavy. Slightly larger than a quarter, Waymouth's device fits comfortably on the collar of most pets. The tracker, which automatically sleeps near one's home, dramatically extends battery life. And by avoiding a microchip, the device, with its iPhone and Android apps, connects pets and their owners directly without the middle man of a local animal control department.
Entrepreneurial Resources at Isenberg. "At Isenberg, I've gained valuable business insights from my MBA classmates-entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs alike," notes Waymouth. "They have diverse professional backgrounds and skill sets. They've critiqued my business model and offered valuable feedback. We're a great resource for one another." Waymouth has also met with Flavin Family Professor of Entrepreneurship Jim Theroux, who directs Isenberg's Center for Entrepreneurship. Theroux's center connects UMass students with experienced entrepreneurs, financiers, and technical experts. It also brings serial entrepreneurs to campus to meet with entrepreneurially minded students like Waymouth.
Making a Difference at Isenberg. For now, Waymouth has dialed down his business, relying on its self-sustaining revenue streams. He is benefiting from Isenberg's Full-time MBA Fellowship Program, which offers all Full-time MBA students two years of full financial support, health care benefits, and an annual stipend. In exchange, they grow professionally by helping Isenberg with its strategic and operational challenges. As an MBA Fellow, Waymouth works with the school's marketing and communications team. His craftsmanship graces new, sophisticated videos on the school's website.
"Community is extremely important to me," observes Waymouth. "I look forward to using the skills I'm learning at Isenberg to improve my business and to better serve my community." That, of course, includes a new community in his life-the Isenberg School of Management.
Watch David's Rescue Collar presentation at last semester's Innovation Challenge Elevator Pitch Competition: