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IU Kelley Students can help your new venture think outside the box

By Barb Cutillo, visiting lecturer at Indiana University Kelley School of Business at IUPUI

Students can help your new venture think outside the box. As a visiting lecturer for the past two years at the Kelley School of Business at IUPUI, I’ve been inspired by students’ drive to help others, their creativity when solving problems, and their engagement with professors and their community. They’re truly interested in learning – and they’ve got some great ideas to boot.

  • A smart desk gadget designed to keep employees “active, hydrated, and healthy.”

  • A service that brings professional-level analytics to high school basketball games.

  • An app that turns letters into digital Braille on the screen of a smartphone, so the visually impaired can read from their phones.

These are just a few of the ideas IUPUI students have pitched during the school’s annual JagStart Pitch Competition. I was the co-manager of the JagStart program this year and am constantly impressed by the willingness, open-mindedness and curiosity of our students. It’s an asset that can be extremely helpful to our local entrepreneurs like The Startup Ladies.

It is important to both IUPUI and the Kelley School to give students experiential learning opportunities – and to promote innovation. We are putting extra work into creating a pipeline of talented entrepreneurial students at Kelley IUPUI. This group of students not only can gain so much from internships and projects – especially at startups and new ventures -- across central Indiana but they offer so many benefits to you as well.

I manage the internship for credit program at Kelley IUPUI, and I’ve seen the value these students can offer for organizations – Whether they’re working at large or small companies, they’ve been able to offer valuable insights. These students can help with organizing customer marketing plans and data, creating social media strategy and posts, entering accounting data, automating processes – you name it, our business students can help with it. And working with students helps in multiple ways. It not only gives you an insight into potential new hires down the road, but it helps to grow more entrepreneurial-minded students – many of whom stay and work in Indiana after graduation. We also often hear that students bring unique, “outside the box” ideas to organizations they work with. They bring fresh eyes to a project.

I’m sure many of you have heard of the locally based home renovation team “Two Chicks & a Hammer” from HGTV’s “Good Bones.” This past spring, the company was working to open a new retail space in downtown Indy, and they hired a Kelley IUPUI marketing student to help them. Their intern researched the target market and assessed marketing personas, analyzed competitor retail spaces, developed options for color schemes and wrote scripts for social media posts and announcements. The student was able to gain valuable experience from this real-world project and provide help to the business in the process!

If you are interested in working with undergraduate Kelley IUPUI students for an internship or project, feel free to contact me at We can work to frame up the project, put together a job description and move it forward through our Kelley Indianapolis Career Services office. We look forward to working with you – and can’t wait for you to get to know our amazing students.


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