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Next Top Entrepreneur Competition: 2015 Results

This February-March marked the 8th annual DELTA Rx Next Top Entrepreneur Competition (NTEC). This year, eight teams took on the challenge to create innovative ideas and take them further along in the developing process. NTEC is not only a competition, but a learning experience for the students. Overall, the participants have found NTEC both helpful in growing as a professional, as well as getting real life practice in building confidence and thinking quickly on their feet.

This year’s winners include the following:

1st Place Presenters – Holly Thurauf, Natalie Gadbois

2nd Place Presenters – Anna Shields, Shea O’Brien

3rd Place Presenter – Jacob Schnackenberg

Hearing back from the participants, they found that DELTA Rx’s NTEC has been able to help them all prepare for the future.

Particularly “I feel that the competition helped to prepare me for the management aspect of rotations,” Holly Thurauf said (PharmD/MBA Class 2015). Due to the competition, she said, “I felt more comfortable when I was asked to brainstorm new idea, create programs, and write a business plan.”

Natalie Gadbois (PharmD/MPA Class 2016) said, “One of the most helpful aspects of the competition for me personally was the improvement in my public speaking skills.  It is often stressful to prepare and present in front of judges or people you do not know, and I think the competition gave me a great opportunity to practice this skill that will no doubt come up in my future education and career.”

Anna Shields (PharmD/MBA Class 2016) most enjoyed the timed problem solving round of competition. “It sets each team on the same playing field to solve the same problem in the same limited amount of time. This round really encourages teams to think on their feet and out of the box,” Shields stated.


As to the best aspects of the competition?

“I especially enjoyed round 2 of the competition! I think it is realistic to have some pressure and learn how to brainstorm and implement ideas quickly,” said Thurauf.

Gadbois mentioned that she enjoyed working with one of her friends and fellow pharmacy student, Holy Thurauf, for three consecutive years.  “We both got a lot of satisfaction from the growth that we were able to see in ourselves personally as well as how we approached the competition.  My favorite part of the competition was probably the creative ideas that we developed for the various rounds and presentations throughout the competition.  As pharmacy students we don’t get many opportunities to be creative and this was a unique way to get excited about some neat ideas that we thought up!” Additionally, she mentioned that the competition was one of her favorite events that she has participated in as a Drake student. “It is a great opportunity to work within the healthcare realm, yet also work on skills that are not typically taught or practiced in the pharmacy curriculum.  As a joint degree student pursuing my Master’s in Public Administration, I found it a unique opportunity to utilize skills from both of my academic interest areas.”

Shields said that a takeaway from the experience was having a chance to really practice skills based on presentations and get real feedback on ways to improve those skills. “Receiving feedback from professors in the business school and pharmacy leaders within our community on our ideas is very helpful as a student interested in entrepreneurship. This competition not only utilizes a diverse sounding board for student innovation, it also presents students with a fantastic networking opportunity.”

The students continued to give positive feedback about the competition saying that it was a great experience. “I would recommend any student interested in business, leadership, or entrepreneurship to participate!” said Thurauf. And Gadbois said, “Just go for it! …There is really nothing negative that can come from participating.”


Great job again to all the participants this year, and thanks to all the judges for taking time out of their busy schedules to help out!