Non-Tech Startups: What they don’t tell you in Business School

A Panel Discussion about Startups & B-School

It’s a little late in coming, but we wanted to share a recap of an event we did in collaboration with Ministry of Supply, Bevi, Maker’s Row, and Bag the Habit.  “Our theme was Non-Tech Startups, What they don’t tell you in Business School.” The panel included:

  • Rachael Plitch | Moderator | Sloan School of Management’s B School candidate
  • Aman Advani | CEO Ministry of Supply
  • Sean Grundy | CEO Bevi
  • Liz Long | Co-founder Bag the Habit | Maker’s Row.
  • Evelyn | Co-founder Pivotte

The panel’s diversity led to a informative AND entertaining discussion - the best kind! These dymanic personalities shared insights into their businesses and personal lives. We covered a lot of topics, some of which are highlighted below:

Is there such thing as a non-tech business now?

Yes and No. All panelists built businesses around tangible products - not tech software or hardware. But - in this day and age, every business is a tech business. Tech is central component to the product you are selling (what makes it work), logistics for moving products, and how you communicate with customers, to name a few points. For example technology is inherently a part of the Ministry of Supply and Pivotte brands, as we use advanced fabric technology in our designs and products. Similarly, Bevi’s machines are heavily dependent on engineering and technology. And all of us on the panel rely on technology and a digital presence to drive awareness and talk to customers.

There are challenges for every startup, but some are unique to a product-driven company. For example, quality control and holding inventory are among them, as well as the process in testing and making changes. Everyone on the panel agreed that our job as business owners is to continue to explore the idea of tech and how it fits into our brands.

Business School: What it taught me/ didn’t teach me or what I did instead of attending.

Several panelists didn’t attend business school, one attended and graduated from SLOAN, and another spent 1 year, but left to pursue his growing business. Sean, who had a engineering background, benefited greatly from B-school, particularly when it came to gaining an understanding of Finance. On the other hand, Liz started her first business when she was 23 - choosing to engage in entrepreneurship as her form of education.  In short,  there is no one path - every individual needs something different.

What should be a required course for school students?

Those who attended Business school agreed that the foundational courses should continue as required courses. What we heard repeatedly, was that finance and accounting were particularly helpful and students should take care to pay attention and do well in those courses. The panel also discussed what would be helpful additions - “Creative thinking” and “Hiring Practices” are areas that would be beneficial for business-minded people to get exposure to. Those areas really affect startup growth.


This was an awesome event and we are incredibly thankful for all attendees. They came with great questions and created a really warm, fun, inviting environment. Additionally, their support allowed us to donate proceed from the event to the Women in Sports foundation! We hope that you will follow the brands mentioned here and keep an eye out for future events.