‘The best part … was the opportunity to explore an unfamiliar industry’

Olivia Stevermer, BSBA ’23, wrote this post for the Olin Blog.

Although cryptocurrency recently garnered the attention of millions through a short-lived “to the moon” era, the momentum of blockchain is continuing to skyrocket and shape the future of our transactions. As a young Gen Z adult, a considerable portion of my time goes toward scrolling through various media, taking in more information than I can process. I’ve seen the data and heard the financial analysts report on the rapid growth of blockchain and cryptocurrency, yet there is no amount of information that equates to the knowledge and experience gained from Olin’s Center for Experiential Learning.

CEL gave me the opportunity to work on a team with Abhay Bhandari, BSBA ’22, Yubo Rao, BSBA ’22, and Sharika Singh, BSBA ’23, to determine how international blockchain company Horizen Labs could position itself to enter the gaming industry.

From the first time I opened Zoom to meet my teammates to the last time I closed Zoom after our final presentation, the learning curve was nothing less than steep. As four undergraduate business students with little to no blockchain knowledge, we learned the importance of communicating with experts, and from that we were able to get hands-on experience in one of the most rapidly evolving industries.

The CEL experience provided endless room for creativity and detailing while still following the data and research. Additionally, there was always room to improve and motivation to strive for perfection. Working with a client to produce impact-oriented results provided an understanding of the client-consultant relationship and the importance of seemingly small details. The passion and enthusiasm of the client was especially motivating.

The best part about CEL was the opportunity to explore an unfamiliar industry and experience the startup ecosystem. As second and third year undergraduates, each of my teammates and I are still young; there are numerous career paths we could take. Getting the opportunity to explore the blockchain industry opened our eyes to new opportunities within the sector and encouraged us to explore opportunities in unfamiliar sectors.

Horizen Labs’ startup ecosystem enabled us to think entrepreneurially, and knowing our results would have notable impact pressured us to emphasize listening to the consumer. Experiencing the success of a start-up showed us that there truly are methodological approaches to becoming successful and furthered our entrepreneurial spirits.

Overall, the hands-on experience CEL provided boosted my confidence. The opportunity to work with Horizen Labs was incredibly inspiring. I gained a new awareness of the power and need for innovation along with the belief that I have the power to make a positive difference in the world.

In Student Life, Teaching & Learning

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