Elevator Pitch Competition

What can you tell a prospective employer about yourself – your education, your skills, your career goals – in the length of an elevator ride? The Mike Ilitch School of Business Elevator Pitch Competition is your chance to find out ... and possibly win your share of $1,750 in prizes! 

What is an elevator pitch?

An elevator pitch or elevator speech is a short (30-90 second) personal statement that summarizes who you are, what you know and what you want to do. The ideal elevator pitch will leave the person you are speaking with impressed and wanting to learn more about you. A well-crafted and delivered elevator pitch is a useful tool that you can use in any number of situations from chance meetings to career fairs to job interview introductions.

Competition details

  • The contest is open to all undergraduate students currently enrolled in the Mike Ilitch School of Business.
  • Participants must attend a mandatory workshop and a semi-final round on campus to be eligible to compete in the finals.
  • The final competition will take place in a Detroit elevator with executives from top companies.
  • First Prize: $1,000 | Second Prize: $500 | Third Prize: $250

This is a great opportunity to enhance your skills and present your personal elevator speech to actual Detroit executives.

Helpful links

Main Components of an Elevator Speech
Muma College of Business, University of South Florida

The Perfect Elevator Pitch To Land A Job

The Best Elevator Pitch
Vanessa Van Edwards

How to Answer: Tell Me About Yourself.
Big Interview


Please contact the Mike Ilitch School of Business Career Planning & Placement Office or Frederick Hessler Student Success Center or email ilitchbusiness@wayne.edu with any questions about the competition.

Past competitions

Fall 2019

On November 8, 2019, the Elevator Pitch Competition finals were held at the Guardian Building with executive judges from Ally, Deloitte, Detroit Pistons, Enterprise and Google.

Winners were: 

  • First place, $1,000, Jenae Lodewyk
  • Second place, $500, Farouk Barakat
  • Third place, $250, Jenna Stafford
  • Top freshman, Julianna Spirou 

Fall 2018 Elevator Pitch Competition















Fall 2018

On November 2, 2018, the Elevator Pitch Competition finals were held at the Guardian Building with executive judges from Ally, Enterprise, General Motors, Plante Moran and Quicken Loans.

Winners were: 

  • First place, $1,000, Jenna Stafford
  • Second place, $500, Stella Van Acker
  • Third place, $250, Anthony Giordano

Fall 2018 Elevator Pitch Competition















Fall 2017

On October 27, 2017, the Elevator Pitch Competition finals were held at the Guardian Building with executive judges from Deloitte, Fiat Chrysler, Quicken Loans and the Ilitch School's Alumni Council.

Winners were: 

  • First place, $1,000, Ashley McAdoo
  • Second place, $500, Brandon Hejza
  • Third place, $250, Kaila Hooks

Fall 2017 Elevator Pitch Competition

Winter 2017

On March 3, 2017, the Elevator Pitch Competition finals were held at the Renaissance Center with executive judges from Quicken Loans, Ally Financial, Fiat Chrysler and Comerica Bank.

Winners were:

  • First place, $1,000, Marseda Kavalli of Royal Oak
  • Second place, $500, Robin Nickell of Portage
  • Third place, $250, Danny Callahan of Chesterfield

Detroit TV stations WXYZ and WDIV covered the event.

2017 Elevator Pitch Competition Finals


Winners of the 2016 Elevator Pitch Competition were Andrew Barr (first place), Kaila Hooks (second place) and Mellanie Spidell (third place). Take a look:

WDIV Local 4

WXYZ Channel 7

Stage 1: Attend a mandatory workshop.

To compete in the fall 2019 Elevator Pitch Competition, you must first sign up for and attend a mandatory workshop:


  • Monday, October 21, 1-2 PM, 219 MIKE
  • Thursday, October 24, 1-2 PM, 219 MIKE
  • Tuesday, October 29, 4:30-5:30 PM, 139 MIKE
  • Wednesday, October 30, 4:30-5:30 PM, 139 MIKE
  • Online Canvas workshop available October 1-30

To sign up for a workshop:

  • Go to https://wayne.joinhandshake.com/login  
  • Sign in with your WSU AccessID email and password
  • Select "Events" 
  • Select the "Elevator Pitch Workshop" that you wish to attend
  • Select "Join Event"

Stage 2: Pitch to judges in the semi-final round.

Come to the Ilitch School and deliver your pitch to our corporate judges at the semifinals on Wednesday, November 6 from 3-6 PM. Top-scoring students will advance to the finals. 

Stage 3: Vie for the prize!

If you are chosen as a finalist, you'll be invited to compete at the Guardian Building on Friday, November 8, from 9 AM to 1 PM. You'll ride an elevator with Detroit-area executives as you deliver your pitch in a real-life setting.