Students Pitch Shark Tank Innovations to Panel of Faculty

By Joanne Liu, Yearbooker

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  • Sophomores Pankaj Patil, Vishal Narra, Andres Sanchez, Sebastian Dobek, and Jacob Sartin pose with the sharks that invested in their product. Their product was chosen by two different sharks to be invested in.

  • Govind Ramesh '22 shakes a shark's hand after his group's presentation. Their group was chosen to be invested in by a shark.

  • The sharks applaud for Govind Ramesh '22 and Andrew Bailey's '22 group's presentation. Their product was a security censor that could detect whether someone had a weapon to prevent mass shootings.

  • Michelle Xiang '22 shakes a shark's hand after her group's presentation. After the presentations, the sharks had to pick teams they wanted to invest in.

  • Alice Gaede '22 and Anushka Mazumdar '22 hold up the check that one of their sharks gave them to invest in their product. Their product was a pill bottle for opioids that help prevent overdoses.

  • Fatimah Shah '22, Amy Yamamoto '22, and Naomi Sheppard '22 present their shark tank product. Their product was a lawnmower that mowed the lawn without humans having to do anything.

  • Reyna Wang '22 talks to her group right before their presentation in order to prepare. Each group was required to create a product and market it like they were a company to the sharks.

  • The panel of sharks assesses Lucas Ngo's '22 group's product. After the presentation the sharks asked questions to determine whether they wanted to invest in the product.

  • Sophie Steinhauser '22 and Emerson Heard '22 present their product for the sharks. Their product was a library book delivery system called Book Swift.

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To apply the methods of writing and persuasion learned in Outliers to the real world, TAG Pre-AP/IB English II students participated in a shark tank project, based off of the reality TV show Shark Tank. The class split up into groups of four to five members, and developed their own product idea. On presentation day, the groups pitched to a panel of sharks, who were all faculty members, to convince the sharks to invest in their product.

“I think Shark Tank gives students a chance to practice skills that they can carry with them into college and the business world, especially [interacting with] people they may not already have a standing relationship with and also being able to advocate for themselves,” Ms. Jennifer Cullen said. 

To brainstorm ideas for the product, students focused on issues in their lives that they wanted to improve. Some groups aimed to solve regular inconveniences such as losing objects often or joint pain, and other safety concerns.  

“Brainstorming was pretty difficult because we had to come up with an idea that wasn’t invented,” Ruhee Nemawarkar ‘22 said. “Everytime we thought of something, we googled it and it already existed. We chose our product because we found multiple products that claimed to fix the Opioid crisis, but we found flaws in all of them and decided to create one that solved it”

To boost the effectiveness of their presentation, students created visuals that included slideshows, prototypes, and promotion videos. After the students gave their 3 minute pitch, the judges asked a vast variety of questions to test students’ ability to come up with responses on the spot. 

“Before our presentation, we brainstormed potential questions the sharks would ask us,” Annie Kim ‘22 said. “It really helped because we predicted some of the questions they actually asked, and we were able to think of our answer beforehand.”

For the product, each group had to write a brief business plan including the target customers and the budget, and think of a business name and slogan. 

“The business name and slogan were both important for presenting because catchy ones would help the sharks remember our product,” Kim said. “Coming up with a creative business name and slogan seemed really hard at first, but when we were thinking of the details for our product, it all just came naturally.”

As an incentive for students to work hard, bonus points were given to groups who the sharks chose to invest in. There was intense competition between the groups to earn checks. 

“The competition was really exciting because we all got to compete with each other for the sharks’ checks,” Nemawarkar said. “This project was my favorite English project because it’s cool that we got to do something business-related in English. It was a great opportunity to get to know my classmates better.”