Student Spotlight Series

Student Spotlight: Harry Diem

This week, we had an inspiring conversation with Harry Diem, the winner of the So You Think You Can Pitch competition from MassChallenge, and how he finds actions speak louder than words.

This competition challenged applicants to pitch their favorite company or a company of their own. They could record a video or use another format.

For Harry’s $2,000 winning submission, he created a great pitch deck for a latte love, a co-op coffee shop.

The competition was created by MassChallenge, a community of innovators working together to solve some of the world’s most massive challenges.

Tuan: Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?

My name is Harry Diem.  I was born and raised in Dorchester. MA.  I recently graduated from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst with a B.A. in Economics and a minor in IT, class of 2019.

Tuan: What feeling(s) did you have when you found out you were the winner of the “So You Think You Can Pitch? Competition?”

I was very surprised when I found out I was the winner of the So You Think You Can Pitch Challenge.  I didn’t have much to say on the phone with Tuan because of how surprised I was. It was after the phone call when the excitement kicked in.

Tuan: What inspired you for your submission?

My submission was based on a project I had done for one of my economics classes at UMass.     

Tuan: What do you think makes your submission stand out? Can you share what went through your mind as you worked on the submission?

What I think made my submission stand out was the use of the co-operative business structure and the emphasis on community.  The co-operative business structure which in short means that every employee owns an equal share of the business is a structure not many people know of.  Community is an important aspect of a business that many people forget about. Focusing on serving your customers in ways other than selling a product or service can go a long way building relationships.  I wanted to make my submission unique as possible while being relatable.

Tuan: What did you learn throughout the submission process — about yourself, your inspiration, the community or the industry?

The submission process has shown me that I able to accomplish anything if I put my mind to it and put in right amount of effort.

Tuan: What did you learn about the company that created the scholarship and the meaning behind it?

I learned that MassChallenge helps people grow their start-ups.  They seek to support future entrepreneurs to help the economy grow.

Tuan: Why do you think it is important to have alternative scholarships like action-based scholarships in your community?

It is important to have alternative scholarships because actions speak louder than words.  A 3 digit number (GPA) or ten pages of words does fully not display one’s capability or potential.

Tuan: With your hard work, talents and skills how are you looking to create a better future?

I am looking to create a better future by continuing to learn from others and constantly offering to help others as well.

Tuan: What are two pieces of advice you have for future students who are looking to participate in an action-based scholarship?

I would tell future students to think creatively and outside the box.  I also recommend asking for help to see what other people think of their ideas.

Tuan: If you could have lunch with any person in this world, who would it be and why?

I would have lunch with Elon Musk.  He is such an eccentric yet innovative person.  I would like to learn how he got to where he is today and what goes through his mind.


Learn more about ScholarJet’s skill-based competitions here. Ready to find a competition to join? View all current competitions here.