CBIS researcher with instrument

Business Students Learn to Commercialize CBIS Research

"This partnership with CBIS provides opportunities to leverage the unique interdisciplinary environment here at RPI. Companies need people with the skills to build businesses around emerging innovations." Associate Dean Gina O’Connor

Lally School of Management logo

CBIS is pleased to host a number of motivated M.S. and MBA students from The Rensselaer Lally School of Management Masters’ Scholars Research Program (MSRP). This innovative program, inaugurated in the 2013-2014 academic year, is one of the first in the U.S. to partner management students with faculty and researchers to identify commercial pathways for lab research discoveries and inventions.

Lally School Associate Dean Gina O'Connor“There is a growing demand among business students for opportunities to engage with faculty in science and engineering on commercializing technology,” explained Gina O’Connor, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, the Lally School of Management. “Our voluntary program began last fall with four teams of two students each currently working with CBIS researchers to develop business plans for game-changing technologies.”

The interest continues to grow. More than 50 Masters’ students from the current incoming class in Lally have signed up to participate in the program.

The vibrant MSRP program aligns with the interdisciplinary approach that is a hallmark of RPI and the founding principle behind CBIS. The program is facilitated by regular progress report meetings between students and the faculty within Lally who organize and run the program. This allows students to learn about one another’s progress and enables faculty to provide feedback to each team. These projects foster better management practices, commercialization of technology, and new approaches to global challenges.

MSRP is a highly selective, voluntary program, and the projects are completed during the duration of a student’s enrollment at Lally. Some participants in the inaugural year of this outstanding program received research fellowships as a result of their work, and others helped faculty license technology or participated in the establishment of a high-tech venture.

For additional information about the project, contact Gina O'Connor, oconng@rpi.edu.


Examples of Inaugural Projects Concluded

Non-Medical Applications of Sensing Technologies

M.S. Technology Commercialization and Entrepreneurship students Ashwin Gapchup and Nate Mason worked with Eric Ledet, associate professor in biomedical engineering in CBIS. The team has been given the rights to develop non-medical applications of professor Ledet's sensing technologies, and won a summer grant to participate in the Severino Center’s RPI-Foundry program, a weekly entrepreneurial workgroup. They also formed a legal entity to carry this business forward.

Low-Cost CT Scanning Device

Ge Wang RPI_Low Cost Sensing DeviceMBA students, Kartik Surisetty ’14 and Bo Li ’14 worked with Ge Wang, professor in the BioMedical Engineering department on a low-cost CT scanning device. They pursued applications in their home countries of India and China, and planned to continue working on finding first customer partners after graduation.

Additional projects that were undertaken during the inaugural 2013-2014 academic year were Professor Ryan Gilbert’s work on Electrospin Technology for cell fibers and Professor Wilfredo Colon’s work on Biotechnological applications of Hyper Stable Proteins.

Beyond the partnership with CBIS, several MSRP students worked with Lally faculty to further their scholarly work:

  • Justin Lay, an MS-Mgmt student, studied the effect of the Dodd-Frank act on bank lending behavior.
  • Abena Owusu worked with Professor Aparna Gupta on solar based derivatives as risk management hedges in the alternative energy industry. Abena won a GARP (Global Association of Risk Professionals) fellowship award to help her continue her research with Professor Gupta beyond her May 2014 graduation.
  • Billy Obenauer worked with Professors Lois Peters and Gina O’Connor to develop a database of corporate personnel involved in breakthrough innovation projects and a methodology for tracking their career paths over time, as part of a larger research program on how large established industrial firms manage breakthrough innovation. Billy has since joined Lally’s Ph.D program and will continue his studies.

“This partnership with CBIS provides opportunities to leverage the unique interdisciplinary environment here at RPI,” said Associate Dean O’Connor. “Companies need people with the skills to build businesses around emerging innovations. As part of Rensselaer, the Lally School is in a unique position to provide the educational experiences that business students need to become strong contributors to companies who leverage technological innovation for competitive advantage.”