Elevator Pitch Competition Sees Students Pitch Themselves as Job Seekers, Entrepreneurs, and Advocates

Sometimes, life puts you in the right place at the right time. Maybe that right place is an elevator and that right time is 90 seconds before you get to your floor. For its 16th year, Champlain students competed head-to-head in three categories for a signature event: the Elevator Pitch competition.

One-by-one, students in this competition join a professional in a makeshift elevator. They have already chosen the category they are pitching in: advocates, entrepreneurs, or job/internship seekers. Each student has a short amount of time to recognize the professional, pitch their idea, exchange information, and leave the elevator.

“The event is a perfect fit with Champlain’s model of professional education and the belief that every student should graduate having an elevator pitch in their career toolkit to be Champlain ready for life,” said Leslie Averill, executive vice president, and chief operating officer at Champlain, when introducing the event.

Since its creation, the competition has seen over 270 students walk across the stage and step into the elevator. This year, students exchanged ideas with three fictional suits: B. Good, Ed Venture, and Abraham LinkedIn. 

“It’s the idea of a chance encounter with somebody who might be influential and have some impact on what you’re trying to do and that student or person has the opportunity to say something meaningful to make something happen in terms of advocacy, in terms of entrepreneurship, or in terms of getting a job or an internship,” Program Director of Broadcast Media Production and acting emcee of the event Keith Oppenheim said.

In this simulation, students had the chance to prepare what they were going to discuss. The point of this competition is to give students the knowledge to structure this conversation in a real-life situation.

According to Oppenheim, this competition “really emphasizes something core about who we are.”

The Elevator Pitch Makes Students “Champlain Ready”

This all plays into one of the college’s main goals: for students to be “Champlain Ready” upon graduation. Champlain students are ready for work, ready for life, and ready to make a difference. Students participating in the elevator pitch are that much more ready to make connections in the future.

Game Design major Caleb Secrest ‘25 was awarded first place for the Job/Internship Seeker category. His pitch focused on a desire to widen his knowledge and build his portfolio.

“It’s always a good idea to have something to deliver rather than creating something on the spot. Even impromptu takes practice to get good at, so might as well just have something prepared at all times,” Secrest said. 

Caleb Secrest ’25 giving his elevator pitch. Photo by: Caroline Selby ’25.

That said, he highlighted the importance of staying flexible in your conversation. You never know how the person you’re conversing with will react. Secrest channeled the practice he had through speech and debate in high school, which allowed him to have confidence in his pitch. 

Secrest enjoyed listening to his fellow competitors during the event and found their pitches to be a source of motivation.

“You always hear some really unique pitches, which can be used for inspiration in your own pitch in the future,” he said.

He hopes more students will participate in the Elevator Pitch competition to gain valuable insights: “It gives you some great experiences, skills, and knowledge that will be very beneficial to you.”

To learn more about the Elevator Pitch competition, visit our website!

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