By Nico Zulli
Baylor students have the opportunity to immerse themselves in innovation and collaboration by working for the Launch program in the Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative.
Dr. Greg Leman, the Hankamer School of Business chair in management and entrepreneurship, said the mission of the program is to assist existing businesses, researchers and entrepreneurs in accelerating sustainable economic growth through the commercialization of innovation.
“Launch itself is designed to make people and businesses think deeply about the right questions at the right times,” Leman said.
He said he began his career at Baylor in 2005 with a mission to create educational, innovative programs for entrepreneurship.
“I sort of work on the flip side of things now,” he said. “I am now working to do businesses a lot of good, but also help students along the way.”
The Launch program is a partner with the BRIC. The BRIC, located on 600 South Loop Drive in Waco, houses a research staff of varying expertise, full-featured laboratories, prototyping and testing facilities, technical workforce training capabilities and business formation and augmentation services all under its one roof.
Launch utilizes these BRIC resources in an effort to offer businesses cutting-edge methodology to further their individual purposes. Leman said the Launch program could impact graduate students heavily because it shapes their skills as researchers. Leman also said both graduate and undergraduate students are welcome to apply for internships with Launch.
Launch Crew is the team composed of selected graduate and undergraduate interns who work with and engage clients of the program.
“We actually have a professional selling intern right now,” Leman said. “We are engaging interns — but not as part of a class project.”
In addition, Launch has created the opportunity for students to participate in its professional mission by offering internships to undergraduate and graduate students.
There are four different Launch Crew positions available to students: marketing and public relations; film and digital media; photography; and sales. All graduate students, along with film and digital media, business, Business Fellows and engineering undergraduate students, are eligible to apply to serve on the Launch Crew.
Once students are selected for a position, they are paired with Launch industry clients and focus specifically on accelerating the commercialization of a client’s vision. Student are not only tasked with the challenge of assessing the feasibility and marketability of new technology, but also the viability of both established and fledgling business ventures.
“After looking into it, I think that an internship with Launch is definitely something I should consider applying for as a business major,” said Nashville, Tenn., junior, Tod Zhang.
Each of these sectors requires students to meet different criteria in order to be eligible to apply.
For example, in order for students to be eligible to apply for a position on the Launch Crew as a film and digital media intern, they must be studying within an area of relevance, such as film and digital media, possess strong communication skills, provide a link to their portfolio, and meet a required minimum GPA of 3.0.
Once accepted, each student must also perform field-specific tasks throughout their internship at Launch.
Leman said student interns, regardless of their sector of the internship, can gain practical experience and professional connections within their fields of study.
“Any experience with us will teach you to appreciate the whole,” Leman said. “You will be able to walk into any business and lead the discussion of what you have been taught to think about.”
Launch is one of many programs that faculty and staff believe to be reflective of Baylor’s endeavor to maintain its status as one of Bloomberg’s top ranked centers for entrepreneurship in the country.
“Our students are gaining valuable experience in the classroom and in business leadership roles as they create and manage start-ups,” said Dr. Terry S. Maness, dean of Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business, in an article on Launch published in the Waco Chamber & Business Quarterly Second Quarter, 2013.
For more information on Launch internships, visit www.baylor.edu/Launch.