The Boardroom

Business students test their ideas in UD’s Shark Tank-style competition.

After a long semester of prepping, University of Dallas students had a chance to compete in the 2023 Gupta College of Business Pitch Competition on April 26. The college’s third annual student business competition, reminiscent of the ABC entrepreneurial reality series Shark Tank, came down to 11 undergraduate and three graduate finalist businesses.

While each student or team submitted an initial pitch video for entry, only these 14 finalists received feedback from a member of the Gupta College of Business MBA Advisory Board to improve their business ideas further. The advisory board is made up of industry experts who routinely serve as mentors for final projects. In the first round of pitches, each team was responsible for explaining their business plan via a three-minute video before moving into the semifinals, at which point they were assigned a team mentor.

Finally, all finalists made their pitch in person to the three-person panel of judges, made up of Front Burner Society CEO Jack Gibbons, MBA ’05, International Association of Venue Managers Vice President Rodney Williams, PhD, MBA ’05, and UD Professor of Management Brian Murray, PhD.

Surviving the judging panel was no cakewalk.

Once each seven-minute pitch was made, the top four teams were invited back into the Constantin Boardroom in SB Hall to answer additional questions. After much debate, first place went to Elizabeth Kirby, BA ’23, for Goldberry at Home, an antique and rare book seller. Gabriel Ross, BA ’25, won second place for his social app, Sort. Third place went to Dr. Pupil, a student-to-student tutoring service created by Jack Boulet, BA ’23, and the late Grace Lively, BA ’23.

UD’s second annual Gupta College of Business Pitch Competition was sponsored by Gemmy Industries founder and 2022 Gupta College of Business commencement speaker Dan Flaherty, BA ’83 MBA ’84, Akili CEO Shiek Shah and Front Burner Society CEO Jack Gibbons, MBA ’05.

The competition saw undergraduates and master’s students all vying for the cash prizes: $3,000 for the winning team, $2,000 for second place and $1,000 for third place. 

“I appreciate all of the work that professors Jim Hamilton and Scott Wysong did to make this year’s Business Pitch Competition such a success, and we look forward to making this event even better next year,” said Susan Rhame, PhD, former interim dean of the Gupta College of Business.