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TCO student program
Discover and generate viable business models and companies based on technologies developed by University of Utah researchers and professors.
At the University of Utah Technology Commercialization Office (TCO), we give students a hands-on experience to develop new companies, products and commercialization opportunities that are based on TCO technologies. Students have opportunities to take TCO ideas and early stage technologies through the rigors of product development, de-risking, iterating on strategies and executing on good plans. Students learn to act as the entrepreneurs and investors, asking the hard questions as they develop investment pitches, identify markets and stakeholders and define actionable value creating milestones. When the decision to move forward or a milestone is identified students often have the opportunity to move the technology or company forward and see firsthand how successful commercialization efforts are managed and how unsuccessful technologies are not allocated additional resources.
Students are brought on for one semester as Associates. Those that perform well are invited to stay at the TCO and are promoted to Senior Associate. Sr. Associates take on a more autonomous role and have more freedom and flexibility to choose the projects they work on. During this time, Sr. Associates work to refine an investment area of expertise.
- 8 week training program
- Work on assigned technologies to learn the process and framework used at the TCO
- Perform analysis, research and develop commercialization plans
- Work closely with TCO staff on developing business model/case for technologies
- Participate in presentations in front of investors, entrepreneurs, faculty and SMEs
- Lead intern teams in developing commercialization plans
New TCO interns are brought up to speed on the industry through an accelerated 8-week training program to teach them the basics of the TCO’s frameworks and processes that will be used to help students understand and articulate what new technologies and opportunities are, gather firsthand feedback from the marketplace, define the critical path forward and execute on that critical path. From there, the TCO provides additional training to help students further refine their skills and areas of expertise. Senior associates enjoy a more individualized training program that provides a deeper dive into the de-risking, development and execution of a commercialization opportunity.
We are on the constant lookout for those that will be the next generation of entrepreneurial leaders. These future leaders come from a diverse set of backgrounds including Finance, Biology, English, Math, Computer Science, Engineering, Economics, and so on. Many of our student associates plan to pursue careers in entrepreneurship, investment banking, management consulting, private equity and venture capital. We look for students for whom we can add a lot of value, because their goals are correctly aligned with our program and because they have the drive to succeed and take full advantage of our program. The two basic traits we look for in all candidates are:
- Intellectual Horsepower: Students need a strong aptitude that allows them to learn and understand new technologies and their applications and to think analytically and strategically about how to define and execute on a viable commercialization path. One will have to feel comfortable imagining and articulating future potential and opportunities with little information. Sound decision making based on actionable feedback gathered first hand is emphasized in all of the TCO’s activities.
- Communication Skills: Interns will need to feel comfortable in a number of settings where effective communication will be critical to success. This will include being a part of and also leading information gathering meetings, presenting findings to panels of possible investors, industry leaders and subject matter experts. A willingness to reach out to relevant networks for the purposes of gather feedback and establishing partnerships is a requirement.
- Commitment: Candidates should be willing to dedicate at least 10 hours per week to assure a meaningful experience.
- Desire: This is an unpaid internship, and like most good things in life, you will get from it what you put in. It will mean monetary and leisure sacrifices. But for those that have the desire, they will gain experiences others only dream of.
The TCO launches recruiting rounds three times a year: Fall, Winter and Spring. The recruiting process is divided into two steps.
- First Round Interview: This is a quick 15 minute interview. It gives us a chance to meet you in person and get to know you better.
- Second Round Interview: An in-depth opportunity for the TCO to explore candidate interests, goals and commitment. This will allow the TCO to assure placement with commercialization efforts that most interest that candidate and in stages of development where the most value can be added. A case study may be part of the second round interview.