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Author's profile photo Don Ginocchio

Kicking off Fall Semester Student Projects at the University of Notre Dame


The start of the fall semester at the University of Notre Dame marks the beginning of a number of new student engagement projects that will expose participants to SAP technology and real world business problems.

I was fortunate to join the kickoff of two such projects in classrooms this week on campus.  The first was the beginning of the New Venture Creation class where I will be serving as a mentor and sponsor of student start-up ideas.  The class will culminate in final business venture presentation in December and features several pitch days during the semester at key milestones of developing these ideas.  Several student teams will participate in this class led by Sam Miller, Director of the Gigot Center for Entrepreneurship ( at Notre Dame.  Sam kicked off the class on this week.


The New Venture Creation course description is as follows:

Alright, so you think you have an idea for a new venture and are looking to explore the path towards launch. This course will give aspiring founders a first-hand experience in building from an idea into a viable business venture, using the proven best practices used by some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs. We’ll learn the first steps one should take that will lead to a successful launch rather than frustration and failure. In this course you will work as a team to define an idea for serving an emerging or unmet market need, work to create and validate a solution to serve this opportunity, and create a business model to justify the investment of resources necessary to launch the venture. Teams will pitch their progress at regular intervals to seasoned professional entrepreneurs and receive direct feedback on the business model fit and viability of the venture. When you finish the course you’ll better understand the discovery and validation steps that can lead to successful venture launch.

On the same day, the first session of the Data Analytics 101 course for ESTEEM ( graduate students was led by Robert Lewandowski.  This course is a graduate level version of the SAP Predictive Analytics undergraduate course also taught at Notre Dame.  We were pleased to welcome Santiago Garces, Chief Innovation Officer of the City of South Bend and his colleague Brian Donoghue to the course to kickoff the special data set challenge they are providing for students.  The City of South Bend is providing two financial big data sets for analysis this semester that are drawn from its innovative open data portal (  Students will use SAP technology to develop insights about the city expenditures and budgets and present findings back to city officials in October.  This course was extremely successful last year and featured Notre Dame students on stage during the SAP TechED keynote in Las Vegas describing their use of SAP technology to provide insights to State of Indiana officials.  See the video from last year here:


The Data Analytics 101 ESTEEM course description is as follows:

This course will provide hands on experience using analytic solutions from SAP. Topics include reporting using SAP Business Explorer, SAP Business Objects Analysis, and data mining using SAP Predictive Analytics. Students are introduced to SAP Business Objects and SAP Design Studio applications with a focus on hands-on exercises covering end user analytics.

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