There was high anxiety as Jay Omanson and his PristineCal graduate team from Oklahoma State University sat down for the Interview portion of the 2012 Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup. Although they were well versed in their product, market and the business plan they were writing for the competition, they could not anticipate the type of questions that would confront them from industry experts with whom they were meeting.
Turns out their fears were unfounded. PristineCal was named winner of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber Healthcare Category and eventually qualified for the oral presentations as one of six Graduate Division finalists.
Meanwhile, Omanson was named one of two winners of the Oklahoma Business Roundtable Paulsen Award, which brought a $5,000 scholarship that he used to help pay for tuition as he worked to complete his MBA at OSU. Omanson, who lives in Stillwater with his wife and two children, expects to complete his degree this spring.
In a recent conversation with i2E, Omanson talks about the GovCup experience and what the Paulsen Award meant to him. Here are excerpts:
Q: What was the highlight of the Governor’s Cup experience for you?
A: The Interview was a lot of fun for our whole team. We were extremely nervous going into the Interview, but the industry experts, combined with our preparation, allowed us to have a wonderful time. Because the experts had relevant industry experience that pertained very closely to our technology, it made the discussion very relevant. Instead of answering basic questions, we were able to dive into the relevant topics of our technology rather quickly. The Interview was a great highlight of the Governor’s Cup. It started everything off to a great start and got us excited for the remainder of the competition.
Q: How did the Paulsen Award and the $5,000 scholarship impact you as you continued your education?
A: Five thousand dollars is a lot of money. I would have had to take out even more loans had I not received such a generous scholarship. It allowed me to focus on my studies and alleviated some of the stress of finances during each semester. I have just begun my last semester of my MBA program. I will graduate on May 3.
Q: What did the GovCup networking opportunities mean to you?
A: The opportunities are tremendous. I was able to meet such wonderful people at the Governor’s Cup and during the Interview process. It opened my eyes to the commitment that Oklahoma has in furthering its future business leaders. In addition, it allowed me to understand the network that exists to help businesses within Oklahoma.
Q: What are your career plans after you obtain your MBA?
A: The competition taught me many things. One was that I needed to pursue my passion, and that is in data mining. I also realized that I need to gain some more industry experience before I begin a venture of my own. Because of this, I am seeking employment upon graduation with a strong company where I will be able to build upon my current skills. Then, in the not too distant future I hope to start a venture.