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CDMBA Student Places as “Entrepreneurial Eight” Finalist in National Student Startup Madness Competition

For release:  January 31, 2014

Entrepreneurship is a career path chosen by many, but only successfully accomplished by a select few. It requires a certain kind of tenacity, ingenuity and willingness to take risks in order to set the foundations and sustain one’s business plans in a marketplace as dynamic as ours. But for those that are capable of meeting that challenge, the rewards to be had are worth it.

Zachary Harrison, CDMBA student of the Fogelman College of Business and Economics, was recently selected as one of the 2013-14 Student Startup Madness Entrepreneurial Eight Finalists along with seven other students from universities such as Morehouse, Rochester and Carnegie Mellon. These finalists will head to Austin, Texas on March 10 in a competition to see who can best impress a judging panel of venture capitalists, investors and successful entrepreneurs capable of transforming their startup ideas into successful realities.
 

Zachary Harrison; Elite Eight Finalist for DepthChartz
Zachary Harrison; Elite Eight Finalist for DepthChartz

The business idea that won Harrison his spot in the finals is an online service by the name of DepthChartz. The website facilitates interactions between student-athletes and coaches by highlighting validated statistics and listing various camps and training programs. This builds the framework from which coaches and student-athletes can come together for top talent-opportunity parings.

Student Startup Madness (SSM) is a nationwide tournament where college students showcase their digital media startups and compete for the attention and support of potential investors and leaders that will help them build elite professional networks. The top three teams, to be judged in Austin, Texas, will win $5,000 in credits for Google Cloud. This is a platform that allows startups to build, deploy and manage web and mobile applications over the cloud.

“Zach is an entrepreneur. He’s constantly looking for any opportunity to showcase his ideas and projects,” said Dr. Balaji Krishnan, associate professor of Marketing and interim director of MBA Programs. “Many students in the Entrepreneurship program may have two or three ideas floating around, and may often switch back and forth. The impressive thing about Harrison is that he has been fixated on this idea from the time he got into the CDMBA program. We are very proud of him.”

Harrison laid the foundations for DepthChartz before enrolling as a graduate student at Fogelman College.

“In order to build this company I needed to develop experience in recruiting, networking, market research, product development and business modeling,” said Harrison. “Finding a program that concentrated on these necessary skill sets is what lead me to apply to the CDMBA program at the University of Memphis. And, these skills have been dramatically enhanced through my student experience.”

In fall 2013 Zach Harrison applied and was accepted into the Entrepreneurship track of the CDMBA program. He joined other select students who were interested in acquiring entrepreneurial skills necessary to start and grow their own technology-based companies. This program includes a $6,000 stipend and a full tuition waiver.

“Zach’s energy and passion for entrepreneurship is exactly the attitude we want to encourage and cultivate within students of the Customer Driven MBA program at the University of Memphis,” said Dr. Rajiv Grover, Dean of Fogelman College. “We are extremely proud of his accomplishments not only within our program but his successful campaign to launch his own company.”

Although he did not coach Harrison through the SSM competition and only briefly discussed his business ideas with him once during his first semester in the CDMBA program, Dr. Krishnan was not surprised to hear of Harrison’s accomplishment. “I was happy for him. In this case, Zach has been so driven in the program and this idea that I would not be surprised if he tops the charts with his DepthChartz.”

Student Startup Madness recognizes the large pool of talented young adults throughout the nation and offers them the opportunity to take their business aspirations to the next level by having them take part in their annual competition. Harrison’s exposure to like-minded students and entrepreneurs that have achieved their own goals will certainly provide him with further inspiration and encouragement to fight for the tournament’s top spot.

For more information on the SSM competition or the Customer Driven MBA program, visit http://studentstartupmadness.com/ssm-entrepreneurial-eight-finalists-announced-for-sxsw2014/ and http://www.memphis.edu/cdmba.

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