Asee peer logo

Insights About an Academic Elevator Pitch Competition in Undergraduate Engineering Curricula

Download Paper |


2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

ENT Division Technical Session: Competitions, Challenges, and Teams

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

Tagged Topic


Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Sandra Furnbach Clavijo Stevens Institute of Technology

visit author page

Sandra Clavijo is the Director of Core Education for the Schaefer School of Engineering & Sciences. She coordinates the instructional delivery, student registration and scheduling logistics and collection of assessment data for all core courses in the undergraduate engineering and science programs. Sandra also teaches Senior Innovation and Introduction to Entrepreneurial Thinking. Sandra previously worked in the Office of Innovation & Entrepreneurship and managed programs encouraging and supporting entrepreneurship around Stevens Campus. Before coming to Stevens, Sandra worked as a consulting engineer with Stantec and T&M Associates specializing in Urban Land Redevelopment and Municipal Engineering. Sandra holds a B.S. Degree in Civil & Environmental Engineering, an A. B. degree in Art History, and a Master of Engineering degree in Engineering Management from Stevens Institute of Technology. She also holds a Professional Engineering license in NJ.

visit author page


Matthew Wade Stevens Institute of Technology

visit author page

Matt is an enthusiastic and proven entrepreneur with 24 years experience focused on inventing and building solutions that generate and strengthen career plans of students, as well as improve retention, graduation rates, and speed to graduation. He is recognized within education circles as standing at the vanguard of the progressive technological movement.

He has taught students, trained corporate salespeople and career coaches, and advised entrepreneurs. His energy, passion, positivity, and attention to detail have served him well in bringing out the best in others.

visit author page


Kishore Pochiraju Stevens Institute of Technology

visit author page

Kishore Pochiraju is the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education and a Professor in the Mechanical Engineering department at Stevens Institute of Technology. He recently served as the Founding Director of the Innovation, Design and Entrepreneurship Program at Stevens ( IDEaS) and prior to that, as the Director of the Design and Manufacturing Institute, a research center at Stevens. Prof. Pochiraju received his Ph.D. in 1993 from Drexel University and joined Stevens after working as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Delaware. His expertise spans product design, advanced manufacturing, materials insertion, and knowledge-based systems integration. His current externally-funded research is on the design of real-time lightweight robotic systems, high-temperature materials, and micro-/nano-scale devices. He is a member of ASME, ASEE and the American Society for Composites (ASC).

visit author page

Download Paper |


The elevator pitch is an effective and efficient communication tool that entrepreneurs use to quickly sum up and forcefully present the uniquely salient aspects of their products or services, with the sole purpose of engaging with potential investors and raising capital. As such, this “soft” technique is highly desirable for engineers to master in order to rapidly, concisely and clearly convey the engineering value of their projects to prospective investors. A number of universities are already working to embed elevator pitch learning opportunities into their curricula.

At Stevens Institute of Technology, we have established Senior Innovation (SI): a required companion course to the senior design sequence. SI aims to teach students to understand, identify and communicate the essential value in their senior design projects. One of the final outcomes for this course is for every student group to prepare and deliver an elevator pitch for a business based on the respective senior design project. While SI is academic in nature, the top teams from each section of the course have a chance to compete for a $10,000 First Prize in a school-wide competition. This endowed Prize is a strong stimulus for many students who initially may not be particularly enthusiastic about entrepreneurship, to take the elevator pitch competition to heart.

In this paper we will discuss the development process for our elevator pitch competition and the pedagogy behind teaching the skill in the classroom. We will describe how we engage and train invited industry professionals as judges to provide consistent scoring at the semi-final and final stages of the competition. We will present and discuss our semi-final and final competition data from the past two years. These data include our pitch-rubric scoring, along with information about gender and academic discipline factors of team composition. We will show that both women and multidisciplinary teams excel at our elevator pitch competitions. In addition, we will look at the most recent exit survey to correlate the above data with students’ perception of their learning.

Clavijo, S. F., & Wade, M., & Pochiraju, K. (2020, June), Insights About an Academic Elevator Pitch Competition in Undergraduate Engineering Curricula Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34834

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2020 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015