Campus: CSU Northridge -- December 10, 2004

CSUN MBA Students Pitch New Product Ideas, Man Chow Wins

Looking for an investor is always a challenge when you're starting out in business.

Teams of first-year MBA students at Cal State Northridge got a taste of how hard it can be on a recent evening when they made pitches for hypothetical concepts before their classmates, faculty and angel investor Richard Koffler, CEO of Koffler Ventures, LLC, and president of the Los Angeles Venture Association.

The session gave students just a taste of what they'll be doing as they go through Northridge's MBA program, said the program's director, Deborah Cours.

"This is the first class in our MBA curriculum," she said. "We don't expect students to have all the skills necessary yet to conduct a complete feasibility study and financial analysis. However, they should be able to understand what an investor wants to hear: the product has market potential with competitive advantage, the entrepreneur has considered the resources necessary, and there will be a return on investment."

Cours said some students, like Sobelman, used creative imagination to develop a proposal that caught the audience's attention. Others used the opportunity to get feedback on venture ideas they might one day pursue.

As part of the exercise, each student was allotted an imaginary investment account and distributed their funds among 43 ventures proposed by their classmates. Student teams each presented a one-minute "elevator pitch," a short introduction to a new venture idea that is designed to gain investor interest.

"In an ‘elevator pitch,' entrepreneurs imagine they've stepped into an elevator with a potential investor, and they have one or two minutes to sell their idea," said Wilma Worden, director of the Los Angeles Regional Small Business Development Center at Cal State Northridge. She noted that "elevator pitches" are a screening method commonly used by investors and venture competitions.

Before the pitches began, Koffler gave the students some insight on early stage ventures and what investors consider when evaluating proposals. Cours noted she hopes students were listening when Koffler stated "integrity is the most important characteristic" of an entrepreneur.

The MBA program at Cal State Northridge is an evening program designed for working professionals. An emphasis is placed on integrating current business theory and practice.

"Business education must incorporate application of theory to be of value," said Fred Evans, dean of CSUN's College of Business and Economics. "Throughout our curriculum, we ask students to apply what they're learning to solve real business problems."

Koffler Ventures, LLC, is a Pacific Palisades-based incubation and new venture management firm specializing in accelerating progress and saving precious time, maximizing the valuation and control of client's ventures, and attracting the correct investors.

Contact: Carmen Ramos Chandler, (818) 677-2130,

Public Affairs Offices/Campus News
[Bakersfield] [Chancellor's Office] [Channel Islands] [Chico]
[Dominguez Hills] [East Bay] [Fresno] [Fullerton] [Humboldt] [Long Beach] [Los Angeles] [Maritime Academy] [Monterey_Bay] [Northridge] [Pomona] [Sacramento] [San Bernardino] [San Diego] [San Francisco] [San Jose] [San Luis Obispo] [San Marcos] [Sonoma] [Stanislaus]