Elevator Pitch Examples for Students

Written By Alex

If you’re a student looking to craft the perfect elevator pitch, you’ve come to the right place. An elevator pitch should be brief and concise and allow the listener to understand what idea or product you’re describing easily. This article will outline how to turn your pitch from stiff and sounding pre-rehearsed to engaging and exciting. Get the art of elevator pitching right, and you’ll be opening all kinds of valuable doors to connections, networks, and career breaks.

Whether you’re preparing for a significant networking event, preparing an elevator pitch for an assignment, or want to acquire essential professional self-introductory skills, this article will help you along the way. Take it from us; We know how the concept of an elevator pitch can fill you with dread. And indeed, a lot of the old-school notions of the ideal elevator pitch (namely, it’s an ad about you) are cringeworthy and, quite frankly, counterproductive.

In fact, if you want your elevator pitch to be a success, you should not be aiming to boast or brag about yourself, and you shouldn’t sound overly prepared or robotic (or, conversely, unready and faltering).

Don’t worry! Here, we’ll let you in on the secret formula to making an impressive, skillful, and natural-sounding elevator pitch that flows easily and makes your listener listen attentively to your skills and qualifications. You just need to take a few minutes to read this guide, practice what you’ve learned, and away you go!

This article will give you the skills and confidence to pitch yourself clearly and interestingly to anyone, anywhere. I’ll also give you some examples of elevator pitches that apply to different scenarios that you may encounter. Take these examples as reference points that you can build on to produce the ideal elevator pitch to best suit you. But first, we’re going to answer some questions you may have.

What does “elevator pitch” mean? How is an elevator pitch different for students?

An elevator pitch (or speech or statement) is a succinct, easily understandable description or introduction about a person, idea, product, or company. It aims to grab the listener’s attention in as short a time as possible and enable them to grasp what you’re presenting to them thoroughly and quickly. The ideal elevator pitch will pique the listener’s curiosity and leave them wanting to learn more.

This type of speech derives from the concept that the whole pitch should be deliverable in no more than the time it takes to ride an elevator (i.e., no more than 60 seconds). However, this idea has shifted from the speech being all about you towards being an invitation to a conversation between you and your listener.

There are various scenarios where an individual or business may use an elevator pitch. For example, pitches can be made at career fairs, job interviews, networking events, investment rounds, discovery calls, conferences, etc.

So, what does this all mean for a student asked to give an elevator pitch? You may wonder what you (a student without a business background or professional achievements under your belt) could pitch or offer to anyone. It can be challenging to think of where to start, considering that perhaps all you have is your enthusiasm, academic capabilities, and some internship experience to show for yourself. This leads us to the next question…

How can a student make the listener care about what they have to say?

In a nutshell, the one thing which will make your listener give you the time of day is if you show that you’re trying to have a conversation with them.

What makes a great student elevator pitch?

Essentially, with a student elevator pitch, you’re attempting to communicate something. However, this communication should be a two-way street. Rather than merely boasting about or showcasing your talents or ideas, you need to be initiating a conversation.

No one set script exists for a successful elevator pitch, as each situation will demand some variation and modification. But the essentials will always be the same. These vital ingredients to an outstanding student elevator pitch that you should always include are:

1. An introduction: about yourself, what you do, how you do it

Start with saying hello, what your name is, what you’re studying, and your relevant experience. Once you’ve started with the basics, elaborate a little: explain how you do what you do and why you find the subject interesting.

2. Add some fascinating facts about yourself

You should be aiming to captivate your listener, so add some interesting details about yourself to make you stand out from the rest. Quickly give some background into how you got involved in your subject. Or maybe tell your listener about an interesting discovery you’ve made that they’ll find relevant or how something in your field frustrates you that they’ll relate to.

3. If possible, talk about your past achievements and give examples

Any internships or work experience relating to your field is valuable. Tell your listener about these and what you learned from them, the skills you gained, and how you contributed to any successes or achievements. You should be aiming to help the listener see how you could be an indispensable asset to their company or a worthwhile and effective partner.

4. The end of your pitch should be a conversation starter

You’ve given your pitch; now ask the listener a question. Your goal is to keep the conversation flowing to your advantage. The type of question you ask will depend on the situation. Maybe simply ask them to go into more detail about what they do. Perhaps get them to explain how you could help them. You could prompt them to share some tips or knowledge with you. You could get them to open up about some of the challenges they’ve faced in their field and how they overcame them.

So, we’ve looked at the “skeleton” of the perfect student elevator pitch. Now, let’s put the theory into practice by examining five different examples relating to different situations or scenarios. We’ll also break down each example to demonstrate how and why it works.

Student Elevator Pitch Examples

1. At a career fair

As a student, you’re arguably most likely going to be giving an elevator pitch at a career fair (either in person or virtually). Various companies will be present in this scenario, offering students potential internships (or offering graduates entry-level jobs). Chances are, you’ve already identified which employers you’d most like to work for and will be keen to show them what you can offer them.

In this example, Emily approaches one such potential employer and gives her elevator pitch:

Hi! I’m Jane, and I’ve recently graduated from CUNY with a bachelor’s in marketing and a minor in Spanish. I’m also a keen writer of amateur fiction, so I have a passion for creative storytelling. While doing my dissertation, I discovered that marketing campaigns were more than 50% more memorable if they revolved around a narrative rather than merely promoting benefits. Perhaps it’s true that features tell while benefits sell, but I’ve uncovered that it’s stories that truly sell something. I would love to take my storytelling skills in marketing as a content development intern with your company and help your business grow. Would you be able to tell me a bit about what challenges your company currently faces with digital content creation?

What makes this pitch so good?

  • She’s added some personal branding that sets her apart from the other graduates (I have a passion for creative storytelling).
  • She’s ignited curiosity right away by talking about her research that is potentially particularly relevant to the employer.
  • She’s promising to add value and not just asking for a job.
  • She finishes her pitch by asking an engaging question that invites further deep (at potentially rewarding) conversation.

2. At a job/internship interview

This setting is more formal than a career fair. During these types of interviews, you’ll inevitably be asked the dreaded question: “Tell me about yourself” by the interviewer(s). Essentially, your elevator pitch will be the answer to this question. Unlike in the previous example, there’s less room for creativity as there are particular interview “rules” that you shouldn’t break.

Here’s how Mark approached this:

I’m currently doing my degree in Communication at the University of Berkeley. I have 1 year of experience in junior Customer Happiness Officer roles at Company A and Company B. Professionally, my motivation is to give each customer tailor-made, personalized solutions. At Company A, I worked on a surveying project with eight colleagues on a cross-departmental team. We aimed to improve the user experience of the company’s mobile app. We listened carefully to customer feedback, and I was able to help boost our customer retention by 30%. I’d love to convert that experience into this role within your company and achieve similar results!

What makes this pitch so good?

  • Mark immediately states his academic qualifications in addition to his experience professionally.
  • Mark doesn’t just say what he did for his work experience; he also explains briefly how he carried out his role and what results he achieved.
  • He turned his elevator pitch into an offer to assist the employer in achieving their ideal business outcomes.

3. At a casual networking event

Some elevator pitches won’t be aimed at gaining employment or internship opportunities. Students can find themselves at conferences or networking events attended by people related to their field or industry. To give a pitch at these types of events can also be incredibly useful.

Josh was at a networking event where he spotted an editor of his favorite journal. This is how he started talking to him once he’d introduced himself:

What do I currently do? I ensure that robots aren’t taking over human jobs. How? I make friends with them! I’m a senior at Columbia University, and this summer, I’ll be finishing my bachelor’s degree in Machine Intelligence and Machine Learning. I’m guessing you’re well aware of the news articles claiming that AI writers are already more efficient than their human counterparts? I don’t think that’s entirely accurate, not to mention the high risk of entrusting robots with the task of producing highly influential information content like news pieces. However, we can use robots to our advantage with research processes for news articles, and I’ve been working on a project for the past six months regarding just this hypothesis. In fact, I’ve created a prototype of an AI research assistant that cuts research time by more than half. I was wondering if you’d like to tell me a bit more about the research process at your journal?

What makes this pitch so good?

  • Josh starts off with an emotional and engaging introduction about robots versus humans—an alarming, interesting, and thrilling subject…
  • He makes the topic relatable to his listener (i.e., the editor would be aware of the sensationalist headlines about robots taking over human jobs).
  • Using data from his own research, Josh clearly shows the editor how he has the knowledge to support and facilitate the working process at the journal.
  • He demonstrates a desire to ask more about the journal and talk about experiences with the editor in a two-way conversation and not achieve anything immediate or concrete from their chat.

4. No experience

In an ideal world, you’d have had at least a little work experience or completed an internship in the relevant field towards the end of your college studies. However, some students find that this always worked out to be the case. And that’s okay!

Even if you’ve no experience or just starting out with your studies, you can still deliver an impressive elevator pitch. In cases like this, all you need is to demonstrate your passion and enthusiasm. Let’s take a look at Clara’s pitch:

Hi! I’m Clara, and since I was about 11 years old, I’ve been nuts about programming! It all started when my dad, a software engineer, taught me how to write a basic algorithm, and ever since then, I’ve been hooked! I couldn’t believe that I could take a simple code and get a computer to do what I told it to. Now, I can take my passion to the next level as a sophomore studying Computer Science at Stanford. I’ve been following recent developments in healthcare mobile apps, specifically your TeleHealth app. It would be great if you could tell me a bit more about its development and how you see it being utilized in the future…

What makes this pitch so good?

  • Clara starts off with a personal story about how her interest in this field was sparked. This is a great way to engage with people by adding a human touch.
  • She also highlights her strong interest and passion in this field by using this personal story.
  • She then talks about specifics, i.e., developments in healthcare mobile apps, showing how she’s genuinely into this niche.
  • This elevator pitch shows how Clara wants to take the conversation and use it as a learning opportunity. She’s showing the listener how she wants to learn from their experience and expertise—and there’s no way the listener can deny her that!

5. The semi-personal introduction
You may need to do an elevator pitch in a less formal setting. For example, you might want to introduce yourself to a peer at a university event and get them to quickly grasp what you do and get them to tell you a bit about themselves. Look at his type of elevator pitch as more like how you’d introduce yourself to someone at a party. Here’s how Nick did it:

I’ve been working on some National Geographic documentaries with David Attenborough. I’m kidding—I wish! But in the future, maybe! Right now, I’m doing my BSc in Marine Biology at UPenn (where I’m a senior). My central focus of research is whale song melody patterns, and I would love to be able to eventually make a documentary about it (with Sir Attenborough would be my absolute dream!). And you, what’s your passion?

What makes this pitch so good?

  • Nick immediately sparks interest by referencing David Attenborough—a much-loved figure in popular culture.
  • He talks about his professional interest in an understandable, informal way that the listener can easily listen to and grasp as a concept.
  • At the end of the pitch, Nick asks his listener a creative question that avoids a more generic type of conversation between students getting to know each other (i.e., “I’m a student at X, in my Y year, with a minor in Z. How about you?”

Before you go…

I’ve got a list of some more tips that should get you delivering an awesome student elevator pitch:

1. Keep it natural

Try your best not to come across as if you’re reciting a rehearsed script or formula. By all means, use an outline as a guide (and to keep your thoughts coherent and cohesive). However, you should adapt to your listener and the particular scenario each time.

2. End with a creative, engaging question

Your aim at the end of your pitch should be that it’s the start of a meaningful conversation with your listener. If they just answer with “Nice to meet you” and move on, your pitch hasn’t been a success!

3. Passion is important

Never feel as if you need to tone down your passion or enthusiasm. In fact, a genuine and keen interest in your field is one of your most valuable assets as a student (and in the years to come).

4. Cliches and buzzwords are a no-no

Avoid overused, generic words and phrases such as “go-getter,” “attention to detail,” “team player,” etc. These will make your listener glaze over and won’t make you stand out from the herd.

5. Practice with a friend

You can go over your pitch with someone familiar with your “normal” way of speaking. If they tell you that you sound stiff or rehearsed, change your tone and the wording of your pitch until it sounds more natural.

And there you have it—my handy guide to creating and using the perfect student elevator pitch for any given scenario. I hope you’ve found it inspiring and useful and that the whole notion of giving this type of pitch seems less daunting. Remember to stay true to yourself and your passion, and you can’t go wrong. Good luck!

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