Q & A with Winner of the CUNY Start Up Smart Pitch Competition From York

Photo Credit: Brienne Kenlock

By Brienne Kenlock

24-year-old Business major Matthew LeBris won an award for a business pitch for the CUNY Start Ups Smart Pitch Competition for Mobile App Invention. In a one-on-one interview with Pandora’s Box, Lebris spoke about his experience working as a Business major and award winner.

Q: Tell me a little about yourself.

A: I am currently a senior, and about to graduate soon. I study Business Administration and concentrating on entrepreneurship. I studied Liberal Arts at Queensborough Community College and graduated with my Associate’s. I started majoring in Business in 2015.

Q: What other organizations or activities are you apart of?

A: I also minor in Accounting and am currently president of the Entrepreneurship Club. I’ve been so for a full year now.

Q: Recently you won the CUNY Start Ups Award. What were your steps and how did you accomplish them?

A: Basically, me and my team pitched an innovative way for businesses to advertise through social media. We wanted to solve to problem of businesses not being able to promote brand awareness and there are many reasons for that. Whether it’s lack of time, lack of knowledge or financial resources, business owners struggle to put their brand out there.

Q: What exactly is the CUNY Start Ups program?

A: It’s geared towards putting on extracurricular programs or things you wouldn’t learn in the classroom. For example, there’s a hack-a-thon which is kind of geared towards people who are into technology and they do IBM Watson as well. Then there’s the Smart pitch which I did, and there’s an extracurricular program where CUNY students can submit a business idea and use an accelerator program to help develop the idea.

Q: Are you working as of now?

A: As of now, I’m currently an intern for Daymond John from the show Shark Tank. He was there at the ceremony. My job is business development at The Shark Group. I’ve been interning for him for 10 months.

Q: What’s it like at your place of work with Daymon?

A: That’s a good question. I’ve heard him talk at meetings and he and I just talking about different topics. It’s like ‘wow,’ he’s a man full of knowledge. He graduated high school, didn’t go to college but taught himself the hard-knock way.

Q: Throughout your time in Business, what important lessons have stuck with you?

A: Being dedicated. Whether it’s being dedicated to business or improving your life. If you put in the work, you can achieve anything. That’s the biggest lesson I’ve had to learn. There was a time where I didn’t take college that seriously, but looking back, it was definitely a wake-up call. Don’t take college for granted.

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