College Essay: Sam Lazarus to attend Babson College

College Essay: Sam Lazarus to attend Babson College

Sam Lazarus

You know that you can rent an entire factory in China for $20,000 per year. Crazy, right? Four months ago, I certainly didn’t know this and would not have really cared.  However, after my experience this summer at the NSLC Business Intensive, I learned about many facets of creating new products and more importantly, how excited and motivated I am to build a business someday.

Trust me, I know how difficult it is to find something about which you’re truly passionate. Before going to NSLC, I tried many different kinds of programs. I went to MIT for machine learning and cybersecurity camps but realized that coding for a month straight only made me feel depressed. I tried marine biology in Honduras and loved it until I saw a shark and never wanted to dive again. However, the motivation and drive I experienced while leading my team in NSLC’s incubator challenge finally made me realize that business, especially in a managerial role, is what I what I want to do with my life.

Although I enjoyed the small parts of building the company – like writing the pitch, creating our presentation, and directing our product’s commercial, what I enjoyed most was the challenge of growing an idea to a marketable product, as well as leading a team.  On the first day of camp, we were tasked with producing the idea for our product. To be honest, expected to be bored by this assignment. To my surprise, I immediately found myself leading a spirited debate over the product idea. I argued that we should make “Blinks,” a pair of stylish AR-glasses that allow users to have constant access to music, Google Maps, and their messages, without ever needing to pull out a phone. Ultimately, our group agreed to go with Blinks after multiple rounds of voting.

At first, I assumed deciding on a product would be the hardest part, but our team struggled to create a product that was financially and technically feasible, while still staying true to the original vision. I quickly learned the importance of maintaining larger perspective when I saw how different ‘teams’ (focusing on finance, marketing, and advertising) had a hard time understanding each other. I also learned the importance of mediating the constant arguments over price and functionality. After a lot of brainstorming, we were able to produce a solution that made everyone happy. This solution set an incredibly low base price for the product but offered more optional extras than a brand-new Porsche. A change of color adds $20. A change in material adds $150. Like I said it made everyone happy…except maybe our customers! After finalizing the pricing model, we quickly hunted down the cheapest possible manufacturing site, a factory in China, which only cost $20,000 a year to rent.

As we were crossing the finish line, the unthinkable happened. During a camp-wide party the night before the pitch, the computer with all our financial data fell on the floor and shattered. The next morning, we had a crash course in crunch time as we all gathered in the conference room at 6:30 AM, Red Bull and coffee in hand, creating three simulated years of financial data alongside a professional pitch in three hours. I felt energized and incredibly proud to still be able to pull together as a cohesive team.

On the last day of camp, we pitched our product to a group of ‘sharks.’ My team managed to work together to form a beautiful pitch in which our website, Instagram, and Tik Tok impressed the judges. We survived the pitch and a brutal question period unscathed- and ended as the sole winner receiving nine million dollars for a 15% stake in the company. Now I know: Starting my own company with a cohesive team is what I want to do in the future.