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TechCrunchOne of the best things about being an academic is being able to mold young minds and guide them to success. When one of my students, Andrew Leblanc told me he was entering the Duke Startup Challenge Elevator Pitch Competition, I [Vivek Wadhwa] told him to come and see me and do a practice run. After all, I had judged several of these contests at Duke and other universities. I thought I knew what worked.

After the eleventh iteration, Andrew got it right. He wasn’t trying to pack his presentation with unnecessary details. He had slowed down his pitch, added a personal touch and was now exuding confidence. Andrew even researched the background of the judges and tailored his message to their interests. So after two hours of intense preparation, I had little doubt that Andrew would win.

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