This past month, MIT student innovators from a variety of fields met with senior leaders and employees from the Bose Corporation for networking and help in developing and expanding their ideas for a positive social impact.
Sponsored by the MIT IDEAS Global Challenge, a Public Service Center program that helps student-led teams invent and innovate around public service, the Bose Speed Mentorship Program paired MIT students with Bose employees interested in social innovation.
“We wanted to find a way to leverage the intellectual skills particular to Bose employees to help students,” said Brian Mulcahey, director of new product planning, strategy and market research at Bose Corporation. “Skills like helping to design a business plan, understanding customers, or creating a strategy for IP. There’s a real interest at Bose in having social impact, particularly if we can leverage unique Bose skills in doing so. That’s why the opportunity to work with the MIT IDEAS Global Challenge resonated so strongly with our employees.”
Students across MIT were invited to share their ideas for a social enterprise or public service endeavor as well as the areas they wanted guidance in. In all, 19 teams were invited to participate and then participated in the Bose Speed Mentorship program.
The Bose Corporation, which specializes in audio and sound equipment, was founded by Amar Bose, an MIT alumnus and former faculty member. Bose has always had a vested interested in MIT because of these connections, and the speed mentorship program came about as an initiative by Bose and the IDEAS Global Challenge to help further innovation in the community.
More than 60 Bose employees attended the mentorship event on Wednesday, Nov. 14. “Students were excited to meet Bose employees and gain insights on their ideas. Bose employees came to help with student efforts.,” said Kate Mytty, IDEAS Global Challenge administrator. “Everyone left excited.”
MIT students said it was some of the most insightful feedback they have received.
“It helped me understand if I was asking the right questions,” said Daniel Heyman, an MBA student in the MIT Sloan School of Management. “I know I don’t have many answers yet, but I’m worried generally I’m not on the right track. By talking with Bose executives and hearing their questions and answers, I got some direction on the types of questions and line of thinking I should be pursuing."
Heyman’s pitch was focused on reinvesting profits from the sales of colorful belts made in Sierra Leone into the small businesses that create them. Other student pitches covered innovation on every front from education to sustainable development to advertising.
Bose employees were similarly enthusiastic about the program.
“I really enjoyed the event,” said Dave Pitcher of the Bose Design Center. “Sometimes it’s difficult to bust out of your daily routine but this was worth it; I found it very rewarding.”
The MIT IDEAS Global Challenge hopes to continue the mentorship program. “We and Bose both hope to make this happen again,” Mytty said. “There's a lot of power in connecting potential mentors with students as they develop their ideas.”