Teaching & Learning Methods @RIT Croatia: Elevator Pitch by our students

Elevator pitch, noun: a short, catchy and compelling story that would best explain the benefits of an idea and get the audience to understand why such idea would be successful


Welcome to freshmen class in our International Business program! Last Fall our freshmen students took their Business 1 course during the entire semester, and were working on understanding the entrepreneurial side of the business: what it takes to succeed and build viable business ideas from the scratch. Each team had a business idea they had developed in terms of defining the product/service, its target market and potential price, means of reaching target market (distribution) and options for promoting the product. Also, they worked on envisioning an infrastructure that would accompany the launch of this idea.

The class is led by our professor, Dr. Maja Vidović who helped 125 students organize in 28 teams. Now comes the fun part. They (still freshmen, yes) had to perform an elevator pitch to a jury comprising of established and successful business people.

„Business 1 is an introductory class to business, taken in students' freshman year, the first semester. And for the majority of them, this is the first encounter with business style of thinking. It was a huge eye-opener for the majority of our students, and a good blueprint that will give them the confidence to turn another idea they might have into a full-blown business plan in years to come.", says Prof. Vidović and continues: „Regarding the pitching part, the students were very impressed with the opportunity to speak in front of such a panel, and on the spot, they were completely scared and anxious, but excited."

So how was it? Well, as it turns out, few students blocked out, but more importantly, they were able to bounce back. Majority of them were really good and provided good stories and good ideas. And a few of them literally sparkled and produced an amazing and breath-taking pitches. „Overall, considering that many of them are only just entering the world of public speaking and the world of business thinking, I was very proud of their performance, and I felt they did an awesome job.", says Prof. Vidović.

The jury was happy with what they saw. They provided students with comprehensible feedback which will help them improve their elevator pitch next semester when they will take Business 2 and work on an actual business plans.

And what about the students themselves? What did they make of this learning experience? In words of one of them, presenting their ideas in front of professionals was „a really exhilarating experience for me and I really enjoyed it."

Jury members:

Dario Drmač, is a passionate digital marketing strategist, business owner, and experienced marketing professional with 11+ years of industry experience. Dario built his digital career with the best Croatian marketing agencies: first as Chief Digital Officer at Unex and now as an E-commerce and Digital transformation Manager at Bruketa&Zinic&Grey. Aside from this, he is passionate about wines and successfully runs two companies: the wine bar Basement and a start-up company called wine&more. And yes, he is also an RIT Croatia alum.

Samir Kovačević, graduated from RIT Croatia in 2005. He has 12+ years of professional experience where he obtained different management positions in different international settings (Croatia, Bulgaria, BIH) including Managing Director at Progressive Magazine Bulgaria; GM at Livingstone Estates; Director of Sales at Nexe. With vast management & sales experience, Samir currently holds the position of Area Sales Manager at Joris Ide. His true passion is construction and he follows all the trends in architecture and design.

Eli Mohamad, graduted from RIT Croatia in 2004 with a BS degree and in 2008 he earned his MS degree from the University of Sussex. He also spent some time at Singularity University in their NASA Ames Research Center. Eli is very passionate about the start-up scene; he started his career in the consulting field and over the past 13+ years built many companies both, as a Co-Founder and Start-up Advisor. His specialty and career are geared towards start-up advising!

Ivo Špigel, has a very rich background in entrepreneurship. Aside from being a Co-Founder at Perpetuum Mobile, he is also the Co-Founder of ZIP Incubator (co-working space supporting start-ups), Co-Founder and Editor at Tech.eu and columnist at Mreža computer magazine. Mr. Špigel holds a BS degree from FER and is a very passionate entrepreneur.

Tana Zimmerman, graduated from RIT Croatia and started her career with Philip Morris where she spent 4 years. At that time, she was recognized as one of the most successful business people in the category „30 under 30" by a Croatian daily - Jutarnji list. In 2013, Tana won a Start-up weekend competition in Dubrovnik and opened her own company, bazzar.hr. Also, in 2015 she was recognized by Forbes magazine, Croatian edition, as one of the most successful women entrepreneurs. She's been the Co-Founder and Managing Director of bazzar.hr, the largest online marketplace in Croatia.

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