#Whitman Watch: Matt Shumer

Entrepreneurship and innovation has driven Matt Shumer, a first-year student at Syracuse University‘s Martin J. Whitman School of Management, since childhood. According to Shumer, he would learn about a topic and become fascinated, spending all of his time thinking about or doing that one specific thing until it was mastered. At 12 years old, he built his first business selling shoes. The idea came about after a friend showed him a pair of sneakers. Shumer admitted he thought the shoes were ugly but similar pairs were selling on the internet for high prices. Shumer decided he would make the selling and buying process of these shoes easier, and that was the launch of Shumer’s entrepreneurial lifestyle.

Later on, at age 14, Shumer continued with innovating the world of shoes and created an online marketplace for them. Later, Shumer decided he wanted to democratize tennis, and that he did. Again, he became fascinated, and worked hard to create a direct-to-consumer service to make playing tennis more accessible to people of all economic classes.

After launching several successful businesses, and completing high school, Shumer asked himself, “What next?” He looked around for colleges that would foster his entrepreneurial spirit and also allow him to earn a degree. As a Long Island native, it comes as no surprise that Shumer found his way to Syracuse University’s campus, located in the state of New York.

According to Shumer, after visiting Whitman he knew Syracuse University would be a place where he could hone his entrepreneurial skills both inside and outside of the classroom.

With one semester under his belt, Shumer has flourished in the entrepreneurial environment that the Syracuse University campus fosters. He is an active member of the Blackstone Launchpad, spending time incubating ideas with students from around campus. In addition, he frequents Whitman’s Falcone Center as a quiet space to work on his current business – an innovative form of virtual reality that he believes will further the assimilation of VR into everyday life.

A typical day in the life for Shumer couldn’t be further than the typical day for most college students. He estimates that he spends about 16-18 hours each day working on his VR venture. And that’s in addition to his normal schoolwork. When asked how he balances it all, Shumer said, “I’ll work twice as hard, twice as long as anyone else on any problem.”

The life of any entrepreneur is never easy. From the long, sleepless nights, to the constant pressure to perform, every entrepreneur has their own story of how they made it happen. For Shumer, though quite experienced in the entrepreneurial space, the story is just beginning. When it comes to his mindset on his most recent start-up, Shumer is confident in his own abilities to continue onward no matter what.

Recently, Shumer was awarded the Student Entrepreneur of the Year, one of the highest honors in the Entrepreneurship and Emerging Enterprises department. He was the first freshman to ever win this honor, which is a true testament to his dedication and entrepreneurial spirit.

Arielle Spears