Capstone One: The EIT Perspective

Sylvana Lewin | Wednesday, December 27th, 2017

On December 9th, MEST Class of 2018 wrapped up their first semester with the culmination of Capstone One and Guest Lecture Weekend. After hearing from DataSift CEO Tim Barker, GHL Bank CEO Dominic Adu, Meltwater Senior Engineering Director Aditya Jami, and Meltwater CEO and MEST founder Jorn Lyseggen, EITs were able to pitch the ideas they had been working on to our expert guest lecturers and receive feedback.

There were fifteen pitches spanning a variety of ideas. Concepts included everything from a system to help parents find the best schools, to a business intelligence tool for fashion brands to an event planning solution. EITs tackled most industries including health, education, e-commerce, B2B, fashion, and more.

We asked a few EITs about their experience with Capstone One and at Guest Lecture Weekend. Here’s what they had to say!


What are some of your takeaways from the pitch session?

CJay Akonor: There is a lot more work to be done as compared to what we EITs did on pitch day. Some of us were on the right track as to having a fundable idea/startup business. We needed a bit more perfection and accuracy with our projects.

Adeyemi Babalola: I learned that the investor point of view is different from the entrepreneur’s point of view. A pragmatic solution to a problem is important, but more important is the competitive advantage.

Odehi Okuofo: It’s important to have a good storyline to convey your message. Practice makes perfect. I also learned the importance of taking feedback from others who know better.


How did your time at MEST so far prepare you for Capstone One and your first pitch?

CJay Akonor: MEST prepared me incredibly well, so I wasn’t overwhelmed at all. The only race and pressure to beat was time, which was constrained. It was an amazing experience and I am looking forward to Capstone Two.

Adeyemi Babalola: The past four months prepared me adequately for Capstone One. All the teaching fellows were very resourceful and supportive. I found the lectures appropriate for market research, pitch deck, business model, and more.


Is this experience what you expected?

CJay Akonor: Definitely! It’s like living at the edge of a cliff the whole time. My team took a serious approach to Capstone One and I really commend them for that. We took two weeks to come up with our idea and another week to validate and do market research. We made sure we had the foundation right and didn’t rush through it. We tackled this project as a real life situation, as if we were actually starting a business. The only downside was time, which was against us pretty much the whole time.

Adeyemi Babalola: The experience met every expectation I had: intensity, energy, astute advice, critical questions, and insight!


What are some of the biggest challenges you faced during Capstone One and how did you get past these challenges?

Adeyemi Babalola: Team dynamics. Learning to work together regardless of background, exposure, and education was a challenge, but we overcame it. I learned to be more patient and understanding with my colleagues.


How will you use what you learned during Capstone One and Guest Lecture Weekend going forward?

CJay Akonor: It has opened my eyes to the perspective Jorn has about funding companies, the amount of information needed, and all the questions that need to be answered.


What would you do differently next time?

CJay Akonor: I would listen to my instincts and my gut feeling more and make sure I leave every opinion on the table.