UMBC senior Markus Proctor, pictured here (photo credit Maximilian Franz of EduPal) is the founder and CEO of a startup company. Markus designed an Interdisciplinary Studies (INDS) major which focuses on Tech Entrepreneurship and Organizational Management. The creator of a web-based platform that helps students keep organized, on task, and up to date with changes in their course syllabi, he has launched a company called EduPal which is now pivoting into new directions including virtual reality and analytics.
An Extra Credit staff writer recently sat down with Markus to talk about entrepreneurship, his experience at UMBC and some recommendations for fellow students.
EC: How can UMBC students approach their education (course decisions, internship choices, major choices) in an entrepreneurial fashion?
MP: Entrepreneurship can extend beyond its economic/business definition into many different areas of our lives because, in simple terms, it's all about value creation through innovative problem-solving. Students should focus on the "value-add" of their choices as often as possible whether its selecting courses, applying for internships, or declaring a major/minor.
Before making rushed decisions, students should ask "how does this create value for me?" and "how can I confirm my assumptions?" This is where leveraging resources on campus to make an informed, decisive decision is critical.
EC: What do you feel has been your greatest success at UMBC and what resources from UMBC contributed to that success?
MP: My greatest success at UMBC is building a reputable start-up in the Baltimore region that has allowed me to meet exceptional people, receive awards, and fully enjoy the process of learning. There are many resources that have contributed to that success:
- The opportunity to design my own degree with the Interdisciplinary Studies Department
- The study abroad program which allowed me the opportunity to conduct preliminary, exploratory research in Switzerland
- The Alex Brown Center for Entrepreneurship
- Outstanding administrators and professors supporting me along the way
EC: What experience, course, relationship, or resource at UMBC do you consider to be the greatest "difference-maker" for you as a student and entrepreneur at UMBC?
MP: The Cangialosi Business Innovation Competition was the one experience that made the biggest difference in my journey as an "edupreneur" and student. I highly recommend that students participate in this event.
EC: If you could go back and "redo" your first three years at UMBC, what would you do differently and why?
MP: I would network with more students on campus because we have an abundance of talent on campus. Who knows what can happen if more students integrated their talents to solve big problems?
If you are inspired by Markus’s story and experience, be sure to explore the many events, activities, and tools that the Alex Brown Center for Entrepreneurship offers and follow them via their active social media community.
The Minor in Entrepreneurship at UMBC
The Shattuck Family Internship Program for Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Social Change
"Why UMBC Senior Markus Proctor is Pivoting EduPal into Virtual Reality" by Stephen Babcock in Technical.ly Baltimore, October 28, 2015.
"Five TED Talks Every Entrepreneur Should Watch" by Jayson Demers on entrepreneur.com, posted August 10, 2015.
Betamore is an award-winning coworking space, incubator and campus for technology and entrepreneurship, located in the Federal Hill area of Baltimore. As a result of the Cangelosi Business Innovation Competition, Markus Proctor's company (EduPal) became a member of Betamore.
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