BRYAN: MBAs and engineers are paired up and are given challenges or different projects that are very reflective of the real world.
CHRIS: Our process from the beginning was to give the students a trajectory, and allow them to explore that and be creative and really own the entire process.
ADRIAN: Canary is a New York City-based startup. The CTO of Canary came to us with the challenge of how could we bring Canary's model of physical security to a cyber security realm.
For our company projects, we built a very fun app called MooChat. MooChat is a GIF sharing app. Think text messaging, but the only thing that you can send to each other are very short animated videos.
BEN: We developed an application for mobile phones that would track a user's eyes while they drive and provide them feedback on how they're doing.
ALEJANDRA: My favorite part of working on this specific project was that we were given a very open ended challenge.
BRYAN: In the first couple weeks, we were really allowed to tackle this broadly and struggle with it and try to figure out, what are we going to build? What do we want to do? What should we look at first? Should it be product? Should it be trend? Should it be how the team works?
In the context of product development, you actually do you want as many diverse skills and perspectives as possible.
EMILY: Our team was comprised of two mobile engineers. I have a background in film making. We had a pharmaceutical product manager.
ALEJANDRA: It's really important in today's world that both engineers and businesspeople work together in the same team and how to talk to each other.
BRYAN: The engineers were really interested in understanding some of the MBA insights. And the MBAs were very interested in understanding the underlying technology and the general software development approach.
CHRIS: What most surprised me was how adept the students were at tackling the problems that come about in product exploration.
EMILY: We spent about the first half of the semester just brainstorming all the different approaches that we could take.
ALEJANDRA: We first started thinking that we were going to build a project focused towards advertising. Then we realized that there was a bigger need in the driving industry. So we pivoted and started building a product for drivers instead.
BEN: The Cornell Tech culture is very much about product development and iteration.
ALEJANDRA: It's safe to learn, but it's also safe to experiment, fail, and then start over.
ADRIAN: The studio sprints were always really productive and helped us achieve concrete milestones in moving forward.
CHRIS: The students went above and beyond. They managed the project from start to finish, working on concept development, requirements gathering, and then demoing to the company.
EMILY: Our mentor from Bloomberg was absolutely incredible, encouraging us to push our limits, and was really helpful in guiding us.
BRYAN: IMax did a great job of laying down the groundwork.
ALEJANDRA: They helped us to understand how to build a business around a product.
ADRIAN: The features that we ended up building were indeed interesting to Canary from a product perspective.
EMILY: The presentation was incredible. We had a huge turnout from the company and a wonderful reception. And we were really proud to show them what we had been working on.
ALEJANDRA: We're pretty excited with what we accomplished, because we believe that it has a great potential to save people's lives.
CHRIS: The students were able to really work on something that we hope to include in our product in the future.
BRYAN: The structure of the program really supported our learning very, very well, but at the same time, allowed us to struggle enough that it was reflective of experiences in the real world.
CHRIS: The Cornell Tech program gives you a glimpse into the process of starting your own company and going through the trials and tribulations of trying to make it work.
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Every fall semester at Cornell Tech, students respond to challenges posed by leading startups, companies, and organizations in NYC, and deliver new business ideas and prototypes by the end of the semester. In Fall 2014, challenger companies included Bloomberg, Canary and IMAX Labs. Learn how students developed their projects and worked with company mentors.