Drew University Students Brave the Bear Den

Students present and pitch product and business ideas to Drew faculty, alums, and industry experts

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Nate Roark C’23 discusses global reparations.

May 2023 – Drew University held its semi-annual Bear Den (formerly called Shark Tank) event, where students presented their spring 2023 semester projects to a panel of alums, faculty, and staff judges for critical feedback.

Whether pitching new business ideas, examining existing products and services, or identifying gaps in business models and making recommendations, students gained the invaluable experience of presenting and fielding questions from professors, peers, and industry experts.

The event was sponsored by Drew’s Business Department, the Center for Mentoring and Professional Networks, and Launch.

Students participated from numerous classes, including Finance, Corporate Finance, Public Finance, Contemporary Challenges in Management, Consumer Behavior, Intro to Marketing, Digital Marketing, Social Entrepreneurship, Business Communications, Business and Technology, and The Work of Innovation: Creating Companies that Solve Problems.

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Santo Carroccia C’24, Avi Perera C’24, and Courtney Brelser C’24 analyze Drew's food service POS systems.

Courtney Brelser C’24, Santo Carroccia C’24, and Avi Perera C’24 presented “A Study on Aramark: Food Service Point of Sale Systems” as part of their Business & Technology class taught by adjunct professor Forrest Shue C’87.

“We learn about how technology and business fit together all semester,” said Shue. “Students look at an area of business at Drew and study how they use technology to solve or improve business issues.”

“This has been a good team-building experience,” said Carroccia. “We learned about how technology plays a significant role in business; I feel like I’ve learned a lot.”

Charlie Collins C’24, J.D. Shepherd C’24, and Kopano Lwazi Leeuw C’23 analyzed “Business Management Challenges at Tesla.”

Identifying Tesla’s hierarchy management style and personality and ethical flaws with founder Elon Musk, the group made recommendations for change, including expanding upon diversity in the workforce, a decentralization of the organizational structure, and a staff training overhaul.

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A group of panelists listen intently.

Melanie Marcus C’23, Rebekah Mayes C’23, and Nate Roark C’23 presented their semester project, “Roadmaps to Reparations.”

The group reviewed the history of global granted reparations, and exposed the challenges of reparations granted in New Jersey and the rest of the U.S. They recommended three primary components to reparation resolution; economic restitution, legal reform, and historical reconciliation. Moreover, the group urged the panelists to become educated and take action, providing a litany of resources for advocacy.

“I was able to hear some imaginative and interesting ideas,” said volunteer panelist Peter Pearlman. “This serves as a good reminder to keep your ears open at all times … you never know where the next great idea is going to come from.”

The event concluded with a networking reception.


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