Alliance Security and URI Create New Learning Experience for MBA Students

URI - Alliance Security Logos Collab

CRANSTON, RI — A new collaboration between Alliance Security — a leading home automation and security solutions provider — and the University of Rhode Island is offering MBA candidates an educational experience with real-world content and application. Students are tasked with developing new processes and solutions for business cases in a seven-day competition.

Alliance Security and URI recently completed a pilot phase of this intensive learning experience, which marked the start of collaboration between the two organizations. A cohort of 20 students enrolled in URI’s one-year MBA Program in Strategic Innovation spent one week at Alliance’s headquarters in Cranston, Rhode Island.

“It was truly inspiring to have so many great minds at work,” stated Jay Gotra, CEO of Alliance Security, who added that the partnership represents an intersection where the supply of and demand for fresh ideas meet. “These are projects that have the potential to truly transform lives — creating real jobs and opportunities.”

The student-contestants were split up into six teams, which each strived to develop the best strategies unique to one of three businesses owned by Alliance Security. One offers SBA loans to small companies and two offer products and services aligned with that of their parent company — identity protection and concierge residential relocation solutions.

The week kicked off with a briefing of business cases and concluded with 30-minute presentations by each team. Scholarship stipends were awarded to members of the team with the best pitch, selected by a panel of judges consisting of Gotra and other members of Alliance’s leadership team — Chief Operations Officer Eric Patrick, Chief Financial Officer Ricardo Diaz, Chief Strategy Officer Eric Polson, and Vice President of Operations Jake Murray.

During the presentation preparation process, students had direct access to support and guidance from Alliance’s executives and management personnel. The insight-filled competition challenged the MBA candidates to apply technical knowledge and creativity in an innovative environment that integrates the needs of both students and employer.

URI Professor of Practice, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship Diane St. Laurent worked closely with Alliance Security on its concept and design. While URI has established numerous partnerships with businesses, this competition-style initiative with Alliance Security was the first of its kind for her MBA students.

“We knew that Alliance Security’s needs were immediate and that’s why we created an expedited program specifically to address them,” stated St. Laurent, who added that the MBA program emerged from a redesign in 2012 with aggressive goals, and is grateful for Alliance Security’s role in helping URI achieve them.

“This collaboration offers the students a chance to develop ideas using methods such as design thinking, lean startup, and the innovator’s method,” said St. Laurent. Students were required to submit white papers on their projects, as well.

St. Laurent first came in contact with Jay Gotra in 2006, when she rented out property to Alliance Security, which was then a three-year old startup company with only 15 employees.

Business performance for Alliance has since been nothing short of impressive. A repeat contender on Inc. magazine’s list of fastest growing companies in America, the company has created over 500 jobs and protected over 250,000 homes in 46 states.

According to St. Laurent, Alliance Security’s culture — one centered on learning, teaching, and growing among its employees — makes the company a perfect environment to cultivate the future business leaders enrolled in URI’s MBA program. “Seeing the students learn and grow everyday while developing a business case was an amazing transition to witness.”

Dr. Maling Ebrahimpour, Dean of the College of Business Administration at URI, agrees. “Our students worked hand and hand with Alliance Security and utilized the knowledge they had acquired to help Alliance make more informative decisions about their business and products. This was truly a mutually beneficial experience for both Alliance Security and URI.”

Furthermore, the experience offered an opportunity for students to showcase their talents to a company looking to recruit the best and brightest grads. Some standouts were actually offered contracts by Alliance to continue developing their ideas.

“We look forward to strengthening our relationship with URI and continue developing a talent pipeline for Alliance Security that is aligned with career pathways of their MBA students,” concluded Alliance Security CEO Jay Gotra.

Discussions for another installment of the business case competition to take place later this year are already underway.

Alliance Security is hiring. To learn more about the company and opportunities to join its fast-growing and dynamic team, visit

About Alliance Security

Alliance Security is a leading provider of home automation and security solutions. Over the past 13 years, the Rhode Island-based company has established an expanding presence — operating in 46 states with over 500 employees. Dedicated to offering the latest smart home technology, security products, and award-winning service, Alliance Security has protected over 250,000 homes across America.

Leave a comment

Avatar About the Author: The Rhode Island Small Business Journal is a printed monthly magazine and an online resource for the aspiring and start-up entrepreneur and small business owner.

previous arrow
next arrow