Imagine this: As you’re driving along in your car, you notice that the school bus in front of you has made several consecutive stops, yet no passengers are getting off. Sitting in traffic behind this bus not only frustrates you, but it makes you think about how much fuel, time and energy is being wasted.
By making unnecessary stops where students don’t need to go, the bus is wasting unnecessary amounts of fuel and time. If only some kind of technology could improve the system. Well, this exact issue presented itself to Northeastern freshman Keith Corso just last year, and he sought to find a solution once and for all.
After contacting “a buddy of [his] who’s a computer scientist studying at the University of Pennsylvania and a fellow entrepreneur…at Northeastern,” Corso dreamt up the idea of creating an app called BusRight.
“BusRight is a software that pinpoints the location of buses in transit and calculates optimal routes using GPS technology,” Corso says. “[The] goal is to limit carbon emissions, reduce transportation costs for bus companies and alleviate stress for drivers, passengers and parents.”
As for the actual functionality of the app, BusRight’s proprietary software keeps track of where passengers need to go, and then uses this data to calculate the most efficient bus route. Parents receive real-time alerts about the location of their children’s bus and its expected arrival time.
Not only are parents and children happy with this development, but the entire bus system benefits as well; the data collected from each individual bus route helps improve the functionality of the entire system including the broken routing tables.
Corso’s app proves that the ambitions of college students are not to be trifled with, especially in a world where young people are thought to be more apathetic than ever. After creating BusRight, Corso says that the invention “has opened up a world of opportunity” for his career.
“From attending the nation’s cutting-edge conferences to developing curriculums for Northeastern’s entrepreneurship programs, I have been fortunate enough to work alongside industry leaders and the brightest students in the country,” he says.
More specifically, Corso and his team were selected as one of the top 25 business pitches at E-Fest, the largest national business competition for undergraduates in the country. After placing second in the competition, Corso and the BusRight team won $40,000 in grant funding to further their company.
Corso cites E-Fest as “a dream for all aspiring student entrepreneurs” and “an experience of a lifetime,” further driving home the magnitude of this accomplishment.
As for how a full-time student is managing life as a company CEO, Corso says: “I would be lying if I said I had a balanced life [during] my first year at Northeastern.” For an entrepreneur whose company is still in the early stages, “there is no such thing as taking the ‘weekend off,’” according to Corso. He almost never takes a moment’s respite, stating that he only went out for one night of one weekend out of his entire spring semester.
Though “there were many sleepless nights” for Corso, he acknowledges that this level of hard work is necessary to achieve his goals. “I don’t regret not going out because I love this company and the work we’re doing,” says Corso. “If you are genuinely passionate about a project, it doesn’t feel like you are sacrificing anything by pursuing it.”
But Corso didn’t become a businessman overnight; his desire to become an entrepreneur runs deep, stemming from his earlier childhood. He credits his parents as two of his greatest influences, as “their experiences as a lawyer and tech startup businessman [have] helped me shape my interests and turn it into a project of my own,” says Corso.
Even in elementary school, Corso’s parents taught him and his brothers an extremely valuable lesson. Upon receiving his first report card, “the only thing that mattered to [my parents] was the teacher[‘s] comments. Were we kind to other students? Were we passionate and engaged? They claimed to never look at our grades,” Corso says. Having been trained to see the true value of education, Corso gained the confidence to follow his passions and acquire valuable skills from a young age.
“We aren’t graded on how well we do on a test, but rather on the way we treat others and on the impact we have on society as a whole. In other words, kindness goes a long way, especially in the business world,” he says.
Corso is deeply thankful to his parents for gifting him this advice, calling them “the most incredible family in the world.” He goes on to say that “My family has always served as my role models. From my parents’ strong work ethic to my older brothers’ competitive nature, I have been blessed with the best family.”
Because he values education so earnestly, Corso considers himself truly lucky to have ended up at Northeastern. He describes what he calls the university’s co-op program, which “allows students to work three times for six months each while studying during their undergraduate education.”
Such a model echoes Corso’s beliefs almost to a T since real-world experience is of the utmost importance to him. He even goes as far as to say that “there is no better education than the one offered at this institution.”
Corso is also thankful for Northeastern’s support while starting up BusRight, since their resources got him going in the first place. Not only will “the school pay for students to work on their startups,” but “Northeastern devotes its resources to [students] too.” From trademark applications to revenue models, Corso was able to find assistance every step of the way.
Though he isn’t entirely sure what the future has in store for him and his company, Corso definitely won’t be slowing down anytime soon. Just recently, Greenwich Public Schools CIO Phillip Dunn and President Nona Ullman of the edtech consulting firm Improve were recently added to the BusRight team; after bringing on these two prominent industry leaders, Corso suspects that they will “help propel BusRight moving forward.”
Corso confirms that his only upcoming plans are to attend summer courses in Silicon Valley to further his business education, but anything is possible. From working on a book to investigating the industries of virtual and augmented reality, his “primary goal in the foreseeable future is simply to learn as much as [he] possibly can, and the rest will follow suit.”
As his parting words, Corso offers a piece of advice to aspiring entrepreneurs: “When someone tells you no, it’s not a destination — it’s motivation.” If he had simply accepted past rejections as the end of his journey, Corso wouldn’t be where he is today. Rarely does anyone succeed without a struggle, so perseverance is key, especially as a young business owner.
“Entrepreneurship is another way of describing individuals with a creative mind and passion to improve society,” according to Corso. Because he was stuck behind that school bus one day, this freshman undergraduate could create an entire company from scratch.
Something as simple as an idea had the power to create change for the better, allowing an invention to go beyond the scope of its creator. Keith Corso is living proof that innovation is alive in everyone — all you need to do is nurture it to create something great.