UB MBAs Win Business Plan Competition at Roswell

By Jacqueline Ghosen

Release Date: May 20, 2008 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Four teams of MBA students from the University at Buffalo School of Management are winners of the inaugural Thomas Dougherty Award in Entrepreneurial Studies, a business plan competition sponsored by Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) Office of Technology Transfer.

Michael Brako-Bismarck, MBA '09, of Rochester; Max Buetow, MBA '09, of Denver, Colo; Scott Eidens, MBA '09, of Scotia; Luke Kankiewicz, MBA '09, of Laurens; and Ezra Staley, JD/MBA '09, of Lockport, won the top prize, $15,000 in tuition reimbursement, to be shared among team members.

A second-place award of $7,000 in tuition reimbursement will be shared by Nicole Crapez, M.Arch./MBA '08, of Lakeview; Nathan MacFarlane, MBA '08, of Newfane; and Haleh Mousavi, M.Arch./MBA '08, of Amherst.

Two additional teams tied for third place and will split the $3,000 tuition reimbursement award.

RPCI and the UB School of Management provided guidance to aspiring student entrepreneurs in the creation of an economic development business plan based on an actual biotechnology initiative being developed by Roswell Park faculty. The purpose was to assess the commercial viability of a spin-off business being formed around an emerging technology at Roswell Park. Successful submission of the business plan also fulfilled a curriculum requirement in the UB School of Management's MBA program.

"This competition united the expertise of UB and Roswell Park to fuel the drive and imagination of aspiring entrepreneurs," said Donald L. Trump, M.D., RPCI president and CEO. "It gave the competitors practical, real-world experience, and their work has exciting potential for turning significant discoveries at Roswell Park into solid opportunities for economic development."

"This event is an outstanding addition to our growing array of technology entrepreneurship opportunities for our students," said John M. Thomas, Ph.D., dean of the UB School of Management. "It also fits into our larger mission at UB to help build Buffalo into a major player in the life sciences sector."

Teams submitted complete business plans and made 30-minute presentations to a panel of six judges that included RPCI senior faculty and members of the RPCI Board of Directors. Plans were judged based on completeness and originality, and Roswell Park anticipates that they will provide significant direction to the potential biotech business vision.

In addition to working on the business plans, the students have been taking entrepreneurship courses under the direction of John Hannon, Ph.D., associate professor of entrepreneurship in the UB School of Management.

"By immersing our students in a live start-up, we can bring our lectures and theory to life," said Hannon. "These young people are being given the chance to evolve from mere students to true entrepreneurs."

The Thomas Dougherty Award in Entrepreneurial Studies recognizes the entrepreneurial success of Thomas J. Dougherty, PhD, in developing Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) at Roswell Park. PDT uses lasers to activate light-sensitive, cancer-killing drugs called photosensitizers. The FDA-approved treatment is used worldwide to treat certain types of cancer and other conditions.

The Wall Street Journal ranks the UB School of Management No. 9 in the nation among schools with strong regional recruiting bases. In addition, BusinessWeek ranks the school as one of the country's top 5 business schools for the fastest return on MBA investment, and Forbes cites it as one of the best business schools in the U.S. for the return on investment it provides MBA graduates. For more information about the UB School of Management, visit http://mgt.buffalo.edu.

Roswell Park Cancer Institute, founded in 1898, is the nation's first cancer research, treatment and education center and is the only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center in Upstate New York. RPCI is a member of the prestigious National Comprehensive Cancer Network, an alliance of the nation's leading cancer centers. Roswell Park has affiliate sites and collaborative programs both nationally and internationally. For more information, visit RPCI's website at http://www.roswellpark.org.