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Manning Business students take on IDEA Con 2023

(Photo Courtesy of UMass Lowell)
“A business student talking to professionals at the IDEA Conference last week.”

Nicholas Ewing
Connector Staff

IDEA Con 2023 was an opportunity for students from UMass Lowell to network with entrepreneurial students from different local universities, listen to life lessons from student entrepreneurs and learn business skills. The vibe of the conference created a positive learning atmosphere, so students enjoyed meeting new people while learning life and business lessons from speakers and during workshop activities.

Mina Lam, the student trustee of UMass Lowell, described the overall mood of students at IDEA Con. “It was a positive experience for sure. Really great opportunities for students to network with other students from other universities and colleges while also attending these workshops to interact with others,” said Lam. The event was held at Boston University where the conference began with speeches from student entrepreneurs and guest speakers sharing their lessons they learned from their journey. Later, students attended workshops to network with each other and learn business skills.

Jenny Lerman, an undergraduate at UMass Lowell, shared her big takeaway from one of the guest speakers in the beginning of IDEA Con. She had said that her aspirations were to be involved in the community to help motivate and inspire each other to thrive physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. One of the guest speakers impacted her about how she can help change the world.

Lerman said, “[The speaker] was sitting inside the box [as part of the demonstration]. He said you must think outside the box, but if you keep doing the things you are doing, then you’re going to get the same thing you are doing. If you really want to make a difference in this world, then, yes, we’re going to have people do something different from what we’ve been [always doing].”

This message resonated with Lerman as it taught her that authenticity must come within herself. “I have a goal and a vision in mind that is still being defining down to the ‘T’,” said Lerman, and “Hearing that [message] today [was important] because I’ve been kind of a relying on finding that role model…to inspire and motivate me. Yet, true authenticity needs to come from within and going into it myself.”

After the guest and student speeches, students attended workshops to learn entrepreneurial skills and have an opportunity to network with each other. Lam attended the “Networking Like a Boss” workshop to learn how to network your way to career success. At the workshop, Lam said students, “…sat down at a lecture and [they] were learning with us. We got to see a slideshow about networking. We also got the chance to meet other students there and ask them what they are passionate about and to learn more about them.”

Lam immediately applied those networking lessons to meet other students. The experience had taught her that it does not require a person to be extroverted or outgoing to be successful. “Networking doesn’t have to mean that you must be introverted or extroverted. Networking is more about getting yourself out there. You can still meet other people even if you are not as outgoing,” said Lam.

Another workshop Lam attended was about how to pitch yourself and your idea to others. She listened to the speaker and learned “what it was like to pitch an idea,” Lam said. Lam elaborated further saying, “You have this idea, so how are you going to promote it? You got to plan it out what consumers would want to see and focus more on the customers rather than your product.”

Ultimately, the conference was a major success for UMass Lowell students to learn what their next step is in their entrepreneurial journey. Lam concluded, “In the end, we were just learning about ways that we can stand out through all these different qualities of being an entrepreneur, like being more confident in ourselves and being open to learn from others, but also just being motivated to continue growing and making progress throughout the entire journey.” Wherever UMass Lowell students go next on their journey, IDEA Con 2023 provided a great opportunity to network with students from different universities, listen to the personal stories of student entrepreneurs, and attend variety workshops that taught business skills.

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