By Abby Anderko
Cardinal Startups is a club that focuses on different aspects of the entrepreneurial spirit in order to create a community where this spirit can be explored by members of the Catholic University community.
Throughout this semester Cardinal Startups is bringing in speakers involved in different aspects of the business world. This week, the first seminar was held which touched on topics including customer service and the experience of users while using online platforms, and how this intertwines with Catholic beliefs.
The talk, titled “Doing Good in a Digital World”, was given by Peter McNally, a professional from the User Experience Center at Bentley University in Walham, Massachusetts. McNally received his Bachelor of Computer Science degree from Northeastern University and Master of Computer Science degree with a certificate in User Interface from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
The User Experience Center at Bentley University, also known as “UXC”, is involved with how businesses deal with customer interaction and the experience that people have on certain business and platforms. These services include how to engage with customers, how to help them find their way, and how to communicate with them both when navigating their platform.
Through his expertise and his background at several companies including UXC, 3M, HP and CSC, McNally was able to speak to the students about how to navigate this field of trial and error and how to maintain it within their Catholic beliefs. Himself a Catholic, he instructed those in attendance on how to keep with these faith-based values as they often are thought to go hand in hand.
McNally gave hands-on experience, explaining the steps of working through problems and showing the students how to achieve this within their own ventures, either as employees of larger companies or in their own small business pursuits for the majority of the event. McNally used examples of how this data works into day to day life for everyone with things as simple as riding the Metro.
As a consultant with UXC, McNally said that he “works with companies who come [to UXC] for help with their user experience.” Companies come with questions on things like design, what their customers are looking for and to make sure they are doing their job. They also perform user experience workshops where they bring people in, give them scenarios to do and observe how they use the platforms being tested.
The reasoning behind this series is to bring in field professionals to give experience to those students who are interested in creating their own business or getting involved in major companies after graduation. In hearing from people actually in the field they are given first hand experience, they are more equipped to handle what is involved in being in the business world.
“Not many people in college have started their own business” said Cardinal Startups president Jake Turner. “Bringing in experienced business people to learn about different parts of business will help them learn before they start their own business.”
The next lecture is Wednesday, Sept 26 in McGivney 106. The speaker at this event will be John Burke, a venture capitalist and one of the leading investors in companies such as Fitbit and WordPress.