RDS students get valuable feedback from executives

As Robert Day School students get ready for employment in the business and finance sector, they’ve been given a first-ever opportunity to pitch businesses to senior executives.

The idea for the inaugural RDS Pitch Day event on February 21 was hatched by RDS Board of Advisors member Chris Dodds P’13 P’15, who serves as a Senior Advisor at The Carlyle Group, a global alternative asset manager. He proposed the creation of the RDS Pitch Day during an RDS Board meeting last fall.

The event is designed to simulate an interaction between an early-career analyst-- a position many RDS students will move into after graduation, and a senior executive.

The goal of the workshop is to give the students an opportunity to develop and practice their presentation skills while learning how to differentiate themselves when they are given the opportunity to make presentations to their colleagues and executives early in their careers.

“We tried to simulate a real world situation where these bright young kids are going to be talking to an executive,” said Dodds. “Those kinds of things can differentiate you in the mind of an executive.”

Twenty-eight students pitched four executives, including Dodds;
Brian Smith ’99, managing partner at Piper Jaffray; Eric Webber ’79, CEO of PetPlay; and Stephen Algermissen ’80, executive vice president at Colliers International.

Robin and Peter Barker Professor of Economics, George R. Roberts Fellow and RDS Dean Brock Blomberg was excited by the day’s events. “There’s a buzz going on. All the students when they came out after their pitches just seemed really enthusiastic, and it was part of a different educational environment. It’s in the classroom but not in the classroom at the same time.”

“It was an incredible opportunity to talk to an executive before we have started our careers,” said RDS student and Pitch Day presenter Alexandra Sloves '14. “The opportunity to get feedback like that is pretty unparalleled and speaks to the value of the RDS program.”

Fellow RDS student and presenter Merriel Foster '14, agreed: “The fact we were able to do this with a one-on-one interaction meant that we got valuable feedback targeted just for us.”