Q&A With Mark Wall, Adjunct Professor at University of Oregon School of Business

Before Mark Wall became a professor at U of O, he was an MBA student trying to take his career to the next level. In his first year, Wall joined Aqua Essence, a team competing in the New Venture Championship whose product used nano-molecules to strip arsenic out of drinking water.

Q: What events led to your decision to pursue your MBA?

I was an environmental consultant for 13 years: five years as a private consultant and eight years as an environmental manager with Eugene Water and Electric Board (EWEB).  I wanted a career change in 2001 and faced a tough job market. I couldn’t compete for jobs against others who had an MBA. I lived in Eugene and it was an opportunity to improve my employability.

Q: Why did you decide to enter the New Venture Championship?

My experience was unique. I was a first-year MBA student with experience in the water industry. Aqua Essence was looking for fresh eyes to take their business plan to the next level.  I had management experience as a consultant but not senior management. Part of management and entrepreneurship is bringing everything together. I’m a learn-by-doing type of person. Competing in a business plan competition provided context and understanding to what I learned in the classroom. The New Venture Championship provided a real-life application of bringing all the elements of business together.

Q: How successful was your team?

Aqua Essence placed second at NVC and qualified for the MOOT CORP competition at University of Texas at Austin, where we placed fourth.  The caliber of teams at both competitions was impeccable. We were prepared for MOOT CORP because of the quality of education and success of the Oregon program.

Q: What value did you receive from the competition?

It certainly gave me a competitive edge. I had tangible applications to use later in job interviews to demonstrate overcoming problems and creating success. An MBA with experience is more desirable than an MBA without experience. Most MBA students are engaged in the concept of business, but not the reality. The New Venture Championship provided that reality. As an educator, that real-life experience provides the context from which I teach.

Q: What did you think of the quality of judges?

The judges are business professionals who bring a level of expertise and insight that you can’t get elsewhere. The opportunity to engage in dialogue with CEOs and top management from international companies greatly contributed to our success at MOOT CORP. The feedback and questions from judges gave us insight into how they look at the world and hearing why those questions were asked took NVC to the next level. Many of the judges look at business plans professionally and bring their passion and expertise to the competition.

Q: What would you tell someone who is considering NVC?

The process is smooth, clean and clear. The caliber of judges is phenomenal. The prizes and opportunities are meaningful, especially for someone who wants to be in the Northwest. From a global trade perspective, the Northwest is the gateway to the Pacific. The interaction with judges and peers provides touch points to your career that are invaluable. I still keep NVC on my resume. The best use of my time as an MBA student was spent doing the New Venture Championship.

 

Written By Nic Corpora

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: