Alumni Spotlight – Maddie Stein

Learn to Start is proud to be working with the next generation of lower, middle, and high school students in reimagining what the 21st-century education system should look like. Hear from one of LTS’s incredible alumni, Maddie Stein, as she shares how LTS has impacted her personal and professional life since graduating from the program.


Learn to Start: How has being in Learn To Start impacted your confidence as a person? Being in Learn to Start has impacted my confidence as a person as I have learned how to convey my ideas to my audience better. Knowing I can effectively and efficiently communicate is a significant factor in my confidence when working towards a goal. Businesses thrive when people can share ideas and utilize each other’s strengths; I am now more confident with the pitching skills I gained from LTS. At the beginning of the year, I strived to memorize my pitches, fearing that I would forget an important detail. However, over the year, I learned that if I was prepared and let my pitch stem from my passion for my product, I would deliver a more successful pitch. Furthermore, learning to use my emotions, tone of voice, and body language to engage the audience improved my confidence.


LTS: How has LTS defined or redefined preparedness for you in your personal and professional life? The Learn to Start program was the most beneficial class I took in high school. Not only did it allow me to learn in the classroom, but it also allowed me to explore my work ethic. I learned about different areas of entrepreneurship, which allowed my love of business to grow. I learned how to network and connect with individuals with experiences or professions they were willing to share. Utilizing these mentors allowed me to create a network in high school, which is one of the best choices I made, both professionally and personally. Everything I learned in LTS I apply to not only the courses I am taking at Olin Business School, but every college class that requires public speaking.

Receiving Feedback

How has LTS impacted your ability to receive feedback? What was your experience with feedback prior to the program? LTS has impacted my ability to receive feedback as I learned that being receptive to feedback is one of the most important skills one can acquire. Feedback from Ms. Hall and my peers was invaluable; it allowed me to maximize my experience in the class. After I pitched, I would take note of the feedback I received and rewatch the video of my pitch posted on Google Drive. When preparing for my next pitch, I used the feedback I received to pitch more effectively. Accepting feedback and analyzing why you received that piece of feedback is vital. Additionally, learning how to provide constructive feedback to my peers, especially since I work in teams frequently in business school, was valuable.

Connection to College

LTS: Did LTS have an impact on your college application process? LTS has had an impact on my college application process as I was able to provide the colleges I was applying to with real examples of projects and pitches I have completed. For example, the concept plan I wrote was one way I could show colleges some of my prior work. Additionally, I was able to submit my ‘I Am Video’ and ‘Brand Video’ to colleges, which was beneficial as both videos described my project while displaying my personality and work ethic. I discussed my LTS project, Kneed-It, on applications to some business schools. Furthermore, the people I networked with through LTS were invaluable resources when deciding which areas of business I wanted to study when choosing my major.

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