Category Archives: student perspective

EMBA students launch a Nevada based Li-ion Battery Company -Dragonfly Energy

By Sean Nichols:

Dragonfly%20logoOver the last year I have been working with a startup company here in Reno called Dragonfly Energy. It has been an exciting and interesting opportunity to apply my business skills on an entrepreneurial level.   Last year my friend Dr. Denis Phares asked me to join him in launching a new li-ion battery technology. I gladly accepted his offer and became the Chief Operating Officer of Dragonfly Energy. On our team we have three very talented and experienced professionals. The team includes Justin Ferranto, current PhD student in the College of Engineering at UNR, myself (Sean Nichols) a current EMBA student in the College of Business at UNR and Dr. Denis Phares a Caltech PhD in Engineering and current EMBA student at UNR.

Dragonfly Energy is a Reno based Technology Company. We specialize in energy storage, specifically li-ion battery manufacturing. We have developed an innovative manufacturing process that significantly reduces to the cost of producing li-ion batteries. Cost of energy storage is the largest inhibitor to the widespread incorporation of renewable energy sources. We are addressing this problem head on.

As graduate students, we have been able to enter a few academic business competitions. Business plan competitions are an excellent way for a new company to raise capital. We have been finalists in three competitions to date. We have found major success at two of the competitions. In April of 2014 we placed 2nd in the Nevada Governors Cup and received $15,000. We then advanced to the next round of this completion the D.W.Reynolds Tristate hosted in Las Vegas. We went into this contest as the underdog, a Nevada team had never placed 1st in the Tristate.  Our team found success in Las Vegas. We were awarded 1st place in both the business plan and the elevator pitch categories. The prize money we collected in Las Vegas was a whopping $32,000.

Today at Dragonfly we are actively seeking a seed investment to get started on developing our first scalable manufacturing cell. We are also getting a lot of media coverage and support from the Reno community. Currently, we are semifinalists in the Cleantech Open – Western Region. Our next business plan competition will be in October of 2014. We will be competing against many other cleantech startups in the Western United States. Our technology is currently going through third party validation to prove its potential. We are also partnering with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory via the CalCharge Program. This provides even further credibility for our technology. All of these activities are giving us better access to potential Bay Area investors.

Are You Prepared for the Online Executive MBA Program?

Graduate from an accredited four-year university, Check.

Register for or complete the GMAT, Check.

Secure employer sponsored tuition or other funding, Check.

Explore the reality of an online program….

The Executive MBA (EMBA) program at the University of Nevada, Reno is not for the faint of heart.  If you are dusting off the old resume and looking to add an accessory with a degree from an easy MBA program, this is probably not what you are looking for.  However, if you are searching for an opportunity to earn a quality business education, and willing to expend your efforts to amplify your skill set and provide superior value to your employer, this is probably the program for you.  Ensuring that you are prepared for the online program should include a few considerations:

Online Format

Have you ever taken an online academic course?  If you have, you know why this is important.  While the online courses in the EMBA program are flexible, they do not cut corners so as to ensure students’ proficiency in the subject matter.  Online courses typically require additional reading, so saving time on coursework is not the reality.

Time Commitment

Do you have sufficient time to complete the program?  Managing work, school, family, community activities and leisure time can be convoluted.  With this in mind, the online EMBA program is tailored to the seemingly hectic schedules of working students.  But, the program requires a weekly time commitment of approximately 20 hours.  For those of us whose undergraduate degree is not business-related, the learning curve may require additional study time.   Time management skills are crucial to success in the program.

Non-Business Undergraduate Degrees

If your degree is not in business, DO NOT PANIC!  As a student with a non-business undergraduate degree, achieving excellence is definitely possible.  The EMBA classes and professors are very accommodating to the student’s needs in maneuvering the learning curve.  In courses that are quantitative in nature, it is helpful to read any “optional” texts or material to facilitate a clear understanding of difficult concepts and unfamiliar topics.  Keep in mind, the program is customized to the business education for students of all academic backgrounds in order to benefit a variety of industries and sectors.

Please consider investing your time, effort, and resources into the EMBA Program, based on the nationally ranked part-time MBA Program at the University of Nevada, Reno.  You will discover an invaluable occasion to experience Your Education.Upgraded. Apply today!

Tracey Gray McDonald

Tracey is a student in the EMBA Program at the University of Nevada, Reno.  She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government from California State University, Sacramento.  She has 12 years experience in administering professional volunteer and program management, public outreach, community relations, strategic planning, marketing strategies and coalition building.  Currently, Tracey works as a Consultant, advising small entities on community outreach strategies, marketing, and brand management in the Sacramento region.  A resident of Rocklin, CA, she enjoys running, cycling, mountain biking, swimming, competing in triathlons, and traveling.

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