Wednesday, January 20, 2010 - 11:00 AM CST
Moderator: Moderator: The chat today focuses on Entrepreneurship at Booth and the Polsky Center. We'll focus on answering questions today around this topic. If you have admissions related questions, please visit our Discussion Forums at http://www.chicagobooth.edu/fulltime/forums/index.aspx
Moderator: Moderator: The chat will begin promptly at 11:00am CST, but please feel free to start submitting questions now!
Moderator: Moderator: We'll begin the chat promptly at 11am CST. If you have any questions, please go ahead and ask them now!
Moderator: Josh: Welcome to the chat. I am a 2nd year student and one of the EVC group co-chairs. Happy to answer any questions about student-run or Polsky programming, as well as general questions.
Moderator: Welcome to the chat, my name is Seyi Fabode, 2nd Year MBA here at the Booth School of Business looking to get concentrations in Entrepreneurship, Strategic Management and Finance. I'm looking forward to answering your questions this morning.
Kurt: Seyi: Good morning and welcome. Thanks for joining us to learn more about Entrepreneurship at Booth. We look forward to answering your questions.
Waverly: Hello, chatters. This is Waverly Deutsch, Clinical Professor of Entrepreneurship at Chicago Booth. I'm happy to be here chatting with you today.
Starre: Welcome to the chat! This is Starr Marcello. I am the Senior Associate Director of the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship at Chicago Booth. I work with students and alumni interested in starting their own business, working for a start-up company, working in venture capital or private equity, or working for a social entrepreneurship organization. I look forward to answering your questions!
Joanne: Hi everyone, welcome to the chat! I'm Joanne Legler in Admissions. Looking forward to talking to you!
Irene: Hi, my name is Irene and I am a second year student at Chicago Booth, concentrating in Finance, Accounting, and Entrepreneurship. After graduating from Georgetown University with a double major in Finance and Marketing, I began my career at Deutsche Bank Asset Management. After Deutsche Bank, I spent over three years with General Atlantic, a growth private equity firm in New York focusing on the Consumer, Media, and Marketing sectors. This past summer, I interned at GTCR, a private equity firm in Chicago. I am currently involved in the Private Equity Group, Entrepreneurship & Venture Capital Group, and the Wine club.
Nivesh: Professor Waverly could you please talk a bit about your experiences with the YourCo Simulation Game?
Waverly: Nivesh, thanks for the question. I created the YourCo. simulation to mirror as much as possible the experience of an entrepreneur starting a company for the first 18 months of operation. Students comment it is as close as you can get in a classroom to having the experience of starting your own company. We deal with all aspects of execution from selecting a target market to selling to engaging strategic partners to solving a crisis. Many students work on an idea they have for a real business or for the New Venture Challenge competition in my class to refine it and really understand the execution side.
ankit: Hello All. Thanks for your time today. I was curious to know what is the the most important investment that Booth is making today, to help aspiring entrepreneurs.
Starre: This is a great question. Booth has made a number of valuable investments recently to help aspiring entrepreneurs. Today, I would say buildling our entrepreneurial network of Booth alumni worldwide is the most important investment Booth is making. We have been supporting alumni entrepreneurship networks in cities around the world, and planning speaker series and networking events to bring these constituents together. In starting a new business, networking is key. We believe our talented and experienced alumni will help aspiring entrepreneurs for many years to come.
SewookOh: Does Chicago Booth have a venture capital program for students who try to start-up business?
Moderator: Josh: Thanks for the question, Sewook. The best way for aspiring entrepreneurs to build out their business plans and attract venture capital attention is to participate in the New Venture Challenge. This is both a course that prepares you to compete in the real world and a business plan competition. In the spring, the strongest teams present their business plans to a panel of VC judges. One of last year's co-winners (Bump Technologies) was funded by Sequoia this summer and you can go to the NVC website to learn about other past success stories.
sid_1: What is the typical pre-MBA experience level of the the people have who generally join PE/VC industry post MBA? Does being from Consultancy/IB background is a must or people with technical background can also move into PE/VC industry?
Irene: Hi Sid, the PE and VC groups are quite sizable with many members. There are students interested in PE/VC with many different backgrounds. Although it is sometimes easier for students with prior PE/VC experience to return to the industry, there have been many students with consulting, Ibanking, or other experiences who have gotten great internships, and full time jobs. We have a great program called the PE/VC Lab where students can apply to be placed with a host firm for an internship during the school year, and sometimes that turns into summer internships as well. Many students have been able to break into PE/VC through this program. Also, when companies come to campus to recruit, they contact a broad set of students that may have the sector expertise they are looking for. So even though it may be easier to break in with prior experience, many students without it are successful.
Sue: Dear professor Deutsch: My name is Sue. I am really looking forward to take your class “Building the New Venture". Congratulations for winning the prestigious award for Innovative Teaching. I am wondering what are some of the major obstacles that some of the students encountered when they were trying to run a company during this course and how did they succeed on overcoming these obstacles?
Waverly: Sue, if I shared all the obstacles it would give away the good stuff. But, I will tell you that many students find getting to all the operation details of actually starting a business is hard for folks who have spent their careers thinking about strategy. One surprise in the class is that each company will get a CRISIS specially prepared for that business. Students seem to love that assignment. Also, your simulated business can do everything right to land a customer or engage a partner or raise VC capital and there is an accountability mechanism in the game that brings luck into play. In the real world things fall apart for no apparent reason and they do in this class too.
Nivesh: Good Morning and thanks in advance! Please shed some more light on the Chicago Entrepreneurship for International Development Program?
Irene: Great question, Nivesh! Chicago Entrepreneurship for International Development (CEID) is a relatively new program at Chicago Booth. CEID was started through a joint partnership of the students and the Polsky Center. Our goal with CEID is to connect entrepreneurs outside of the US with Booth students. The students act as "entrepreneurial consultants" to help the worldwide entrepreneurs grow their businesses. Most of the work in this program is completed using Skype and email. Our hope for the future of this program is to raise enough money to send students to meet their entrepreneurs, wherever they might be in the world, over spring break.
George: What courses do you recommend for a first year student who is interested in a career in entrepreneurship? Are there some initial classes that every student in this category should take in their first year?
Moderator: Josh: Great question, George. The great thing about Booth is that 1st years can bid on almost any class in the entrepreneurship program (most do not have pre-requisites). I would recommend trying to take Building the New Venture to understand the world from the entrepreneur's point of view and Commercializing Innovation to understand the VC investor's point of view.
bossy: about entreprenuership.. what do you think is the key factor that leads to the success of entrepreneur? During the economic downturn, how do we enhance risk management while starting business? Tks.
Waverly: Economic downturns often parallel increases in entrepreneurship because opportunity costs are lower. Well executed businesses that create real value for a specific set of customers will succeed in any market. What can you do to increase your chances of success? Well, statistics say that going through a systematic evaluation and planning process, focusing on a single specific market, emphasizing financial controls, and NOT competing on price all correlate with greater entrepreneurial success. Oh, and by the way, so does getting a professional degree so statistically, your investment in Booth will increase your chances of success.
Vasili: Good morning, and thank you all for hosting this session. My question is for the current second year students, Oluseyi, Irene, and Joshua. Can you give me your opinion on what classes I should try and take during my first year to focus on Entrepreneurship at Booth? I will be applying round one of next year, so I am trying to get a head start on my planning. Thank you and best of luck to you all with your final year!
Irene: Vasili, there are numerous great classes focused on Entrepreneurship, and great faculty dedicated to this concentration. From the more financial side, classes such as Commercializing Innovation with Professor Meadow focus on looking at start up businesses and thinking about their feasibility and go to market and then creating financial models to model the business. Entrepreneurial Finance and Private Equity is a class focused on the finance behind investing. There are also classes such as Entrepreneurial Selling, Building the New Venture, New Venture Lab, and many more that teach you how to start a business, grow a business, or evaluate it. Please take a look at the course listings under Entrepreneurship for additional details.
bossy: Hi, I'd like to ask something about venture capital... what is your view of the growth of VC in the next 3 years, in both US and Asia? tks.
Waverly: While VC investment took a dip in the recent downturn and will never return to the pace of growth of the 90s in my opinion, we see a trend of steady growth in the US and worldwide. Asia is definitely an area of increasing interest on the part of venture investors. However, there is also a trend in the VC world to concentrate on later stage deals - leaving the true start ups to the angel community.
G-352396601: Three part Q regarding the Elfman-Wareham lab. What percentage of students applying for the Elfman-Wareham PE/VC lab are accepted? Is there a particular set of characteristics you look for in an applicant? Is it more favorable to have prior PE/VC experience?
Moderator: Josh: Participation is highly competitive, but Polsky has done a great job of adding firms to the list every year and there are now 40 sponsoring firms that should have 50 intern spots. The number of applications varies significantly each year. Most students do not have prior PE/VC experience and the most important criteria in landing a spot is to find a firm that values your background and is a good fit.
Sue: Dear Irene: How did the study at Booth add depth to what you already know about private equity and how was your internship experience this summer?
Irene: Hi Sue, I have had the opportunity to take many classes that expanded my knowledge greatly in several subject areas such as Finance and Accounting. For example, classes such as Footnote Accounting, M&A Accounting, and a class dedicated to Taxes have really given me a much deeper undersanding of accounting that I can apply in my PE job. I would say the same thing for classes in Entrepreneurship and Finance such as Entrepreneurial Finance and Private Equity and Commercializing Innovation. As for the summer internship, it was a wonderful experience. It was very busy and I had the opportunity to engage in several live deals. I felt that my classes at Booth helped me get higher depth and clarity into the deals we were evaluating - for example one transaction had complicated tax structures and I was better able to understand them having taken the Taxes course.
sid_1: Dear Waverly, first of all I would like to thank you for taking out time for this chat. I am a R2 applicant for 2Y MBA prograrm at Chicago Booth and Entrepreneurship is my intended major. I wish to know more about the possible career opportunities in the PE/VC industry and what are typical qualities do employers look in the candidates?
Waverly: Sid, I am not an expert in PE for sure but what I can tell you about the VC community is that they look for a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences. Depending on the firm and stage of the deal the fund may need people with specific industry or operations experience. Many funds like people who have worked in growth companies or started companies so have familiarity with the start up process. PE firms are definitely interested in financial modeling and engineering experience and often hiring folks with banking backgrounds. The important thing to remember is that the investment community is small so there aren't that many jobs available for associate level candidates and you may have to take a different career path out of school and network your way into VC/PE.
MSajanlal: How often do ideas developed in the NVC that do not win go on to find funding and succeed?
Starre: Quite often ideas developed in the New Venture Challenge (NVC) that do not win do in fact go on to find funding and succeed. One team from the 2008 NVC that did not win just closed on its first round of angel financing, and is ramping up operations in both Chicago and San Francisco. That company's angel financing came in part from Hyde Park Angels, our angel investment network comprised largely of Chicago Booth alumni. There are many other examples of companies like this. One company from several years ago that did not win the NVC went on to great success and was acquired for over $100M.
cshehadi: How large is the Booth Entrepreneurship & Venture Capital Student Group (EVC)?
Moderator: Josh: Thanks for the question. The EVC group is the 2nd largest student group, with 150 first year members. At around 300 total members next fall, the group is large enough to support a variety of programming, but still small enough to get to know your fellow classmates.
Sue: Dear Joshua: How was your experience to compete in the Venture Capital Investment Competition? How much time does it take to prepare? Are there criteria that you were required to meet in order to qualify for the competition? What are you resources in case you have questions on the subject?
Moderator: Josh: Hello, Sue. Thanks for asking about the VCIC. I was lucky enough to participate last year and this week (The competition starts tonight!). The competition itself is 48 hours of non-stop activity, but you can also expect some group preparation meetings and faculty coaching for the teams that are chosen to compete. There are no individual requirements to compete; the only guidance I can give is to try to build a well-rounded team of 5-6 people (ie., different industry backgrounds, experiences, skills). The VCIC has its own updated website this year and you should be able to find the link from either the EVC group website or the Polsky center website.
Gaurav: Hi, thanks for holding this online chat. I would like to know, what makes Chicago Booth's a great place for developing skills for pursuing Entrepreneurship?
Waverly: Gaurav, that is one of our favorite questions. First, while all good business schools have a decent set of classes around the basics like oppportunity identification and business plan writing and funding, at Booth we have developed unique offerings around entrepreneurial execution and sales that you won't find at other schools. Second, we have a very strong emphasis on experiential learning with several lab classes including one in VC/PE that is unique to Booth. Finally, the Polsky Center provides students with the support for networking entrepreneurs need in the form of student lead conferences, one of the top business plan competitions around and an in center incubator to support student created companies.
Heather: According to Booth's career report, ~70%+ of students obtain jobs in finance or consulting. As someone interested in working at a startup, realistically what types of support and career options will be available to me?
Starre: Hi Heather, The Polsky Center and the Career Services team work together to provide strong support for students who are seeking employment with startup organizations. There are career coaching sessions, startup research sessions, networking sessions, etc. One program the Polsky Center runs that might interest you is the summer Entrepreneurial Internship Program (EIP). Through this program, the school provides financial stipends to students who wish to pursue a summer internship with a startup anywhere in the world. In addition, students in the EIP take a seminar course in the fall of their second year to write case studies of their entrepreneurial experiences, and to network with their peer students. One other item to note is that the Entrepreneurshp and Venture Capital student group on campus is one of the most active and also provides strong support through lunch-and-learns, conferences, and social gatherings.
NicolasE: Hi all. I wanted to ask you about PE recruiting opportunities for International Students at Booth. I understand many shops don't hire internationals as a policy but wanted to hear on this directly from you. Many thanks!
Irene: Hi Nicolas, I am not aware of this policy. We have many international students at Booth and there were a number in the PE/VC lab class that placed students with internships at firms during the school year. Also, many of the large PE shops have a very diverse employee base and definately hire international students. I believe this issue would be case specific by firm, and would probably be more of an issue for very small firms.
Morgan_1: How often do students have the opportunity to hear from experienced professional entrepreneurs through seminars or round table discussions - I'm trying to get an idea of how frequently this type of activity occurs and with whom.
Moderator: Josh: Hello, Morgan. There are a variety of ways to hear from successful entrepreneurs through Booth programming. The EVC group sponsors Lunch&Learns approximately once a month, the EVC conference is an all-day event with a variety of entrepreneurial panels and keynote addresses, and the EVC trek also visits startups in the Bay Area.
ankit: Hello Irene, Which aspect of Entrepreneurship or Entrepreneurial resources were you most surprised by at Booth?
Irene: Hi Ankit, I was most surprise by the wide array of Entrepreneurship classes available and all the extra curricular activities. The Polsky Center is dedicated to Entrepreneurship. Please check out this website http://www.chicagobooth.edu/entrepreneurship/. There is a listing of all the courses, competitions, and conferences. A great program is the New Venture Challenge which is in part a competition in part a class where students submit business plans for a new business and then work to launch it and get VC funding. There is also the PE/VC lab for those interested in investing.
Harsh_1: My next question is for Joshua. With reference to the Booth Venture Capital Investment Competition, do you feel it provides the right forum to take your entrepreneurship idea to an actual realizable goal, if yes how, or is it limited to a B school competition ?
Moderator: Josh: Hello, Harsh. There is a little confusion here with the programming options. The Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC) is geared towards a team's ability to evaluate a business plan and negotiate with entrepreneurs. You seem to be referring to the much more entrepreneur-focused New Venture Challenge (NVC). This is a true business plan competition, combined with a course component that involves faculty and peer mentoring.
kellyg: For someone interested in both consulting or entrepreneurship, what can you advise are some of the benefits to getting an Entrepreneurship degree? For example, they both focus on learning all areas of a business - why is Entrepreneurship more/less useful?
Waverly: Kelly, we don't offer a degree in Entrepreneurship per se. Students choose to concentrate on business areas and entrepreneurship is one of those areas. What is the benefit of doing some coursework in entrepreneurship for the consultant? The dynamics of consulting to small companies are very different than with large companies so it is very useful to understand the challenges of start up and growth companies directly. Entrepreneurship classes help our students understand how to modify the tools they learn in other classes which were designed for large companies and use them in other settings. Finally, consulting is often more strategic than operational. Entrepreneurship will help balance a students view with an understanding of how great strategies get executed so they don't just sit in a binder on a shelf. Hope that is helpful.
RD123: Is it possible to get in touch with faculty / on campus clubs even before starting at Booth (after being granted admissions)? Would like to engage with the Booth entrepreneurial community as early as possible.
Joanne: The best way to connect with our students, both before and after admission to Booth, is to start with our website; you will notice that all of our student groups have individual websites, and all the co-chairs of those groups are listed with their contact information, and you should feel free to contact any of our students that way (http://www.chicagobooth.edu/fulltime/beyondacad/FTstudentgroups.aspx). Faculty are quite busy with class schedules, so do not always have the time to always answer questions from our prospective students, which is why we offer these wonderful chat opportunities, along with events like Admit Weekend for admitted students. Starr Marcello, who's on our chat today, is also a wonderful resource for all things Entrepreneurship and Polsky Center related.
rislam: Hi Irene, my name is Rahsaan. I was wondering, what inspired you to concentrate in entrepreneurship? Is it something that can be taught? And how was your experience in private equity in shaping your skills (leadership, analysis etc.)?
Irene: Hi Rahsaan, the Entreprenurial concentration has great courses that I felt helped me as an investor. By learning to analyze how businesses start and what it takes to succeed i can be a more effective investor. Also there are several finance focused classes in the Entrepreneurial concentration that focus on private equity instruments, partnerships, and fundraising efforts. Private Equity really helped me shape my analytical skills, the ability to multi-task, and to critically evaluate businesses.
Moderator: Moderator: We're over halfway through the chat and we've had lots of great questions so far. We're eager to continue the dialogue so please continue submitting your questions!
Himanshu: Hi Everyone!!! First and foremost, a big thanks to all of you to provide this opportunity to interact with the Chicago Booth faculty. I am from India,a budding entrepreneur who dreams big & a prospective student to the Chicago.I recently initiated my small venture in the education industry. I love what I am doing, but I am unsure how the Booth will take my experience - partly because I am too new to entrepreneurship & partly my company is still not well-known. Please guide me in this
Waverly: Himahshu, I have an Indian education entrepreneur in my class right now. What he hopes to get out of the class is an understanding of how to increase his chances of success with his venture and put it in the best position for growth. The fact that you have started a small company means you will have your experience to reflect on as you go through the program to increase your learning. You can see where you made common mistakes and avoid others. You can use the frameworks you learn here to improve your chances of success. Booth values non-traditional backgrounds in its students so the fact that your company is small and not yet really established certainly will not count against you in anyway and your Booth MBA will come early enough in your company's development to make a real impact on how you move forward. Best wishes.
Nacho: This question is more for Seyi and Irene. With the tough economic times, have you two had a tougher time with the full-time recruting process than students from Booth at years past? Has there been fewer opportunities?
Moderator: Hi Nacho, as is the case with every industry things have not been 'as usual' in terms of recruiting. I am not currently recruiting for full time opportunities but I do know that the situation is looking a lot better than this time last year. Seyi
Moderator: Hi Nacho, the economy does affect the recruiting cycle an the hiring needs of firms. However, students that are focused on PE/VC and continue to build their networks and look for opportunities, are successful in any economic environment. Last year was unfortunately a poor time in many industries, but things have been steadily picking up this year. There have been several offers given out from top firms so far, and we are optimistic about the next few months. Irene
Sue: My second question: Dear Starr : Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions! I am a round two applicant and am planning to pursue entrepreneur focus. I am interested in participating in two of the labs offered through the Polsky Entrepreneur Centre, New Venture Lab and Entrepreneurial Internship program. I found some similarities between the two programs but would like to get more details regarding their differences. Can students participate in both?
Starre: Hi Sue - Thank you for this question! Students can participate in both the New Venture Lab and the Entrepreneurial Internship Program.
Starre: The New Venture Lab (NVL) runs during the academic year, in the winter and spring quarters. The students in the NVL act as part-time small business consultants, working with entrepreneurs in the Chicago-land area. The students meet in class to discuss their projects, and conclude the lab by giving a presentation to the entrepreneur recommending next steps for the start-up.
Starre: The Entrepreneurial Internship Program (EIP) is a summer program. The school provides stipends to students in this program to supplement their compensation at a startup company anywhere in the world. Students have the flexibility to intern with an entrepreneurial organization in any industry, in any location, that they desire. Some students also use the EIP stipend to work on launching their own businesses over the summer. In these cases, the Polsky Center often provides office or cubicle space for the student over the summer, in addition to the financial stipend. In the fall quarter following their summer internship all of the EIP students take a seminar class together.
Nick: Hi, this question is for Josh. I see that you led the Bay Area EVC career trek. Who were some of the companies you met with? What other EVC career treks are there?
Moderator: Josh: Hi, Nick. The EVC website has the full list of 24 companies visited in Dec. 2008. (Including Sequoia, Azure, Granite Ventures and startups Cooliris and Panologic). To that great list, in 2009 we also added VC firms KPCB and Opus, among others. Start-up additions included Retel Technologies, Bump, and Mercardi. I should also mention that we tacked on a 2-day Tahoe ski trip to this year's trek, which proved to be a great way to get to know fellow EVC members. There is interest in east coast treks (Boston, NYC), but those are still in the planning stages.
Jon: What activities does the EVC club do?
Moderator: Josh: Hi, Jon. Thanks for your interest in the group. I suggest you check out: http://student.chicagobooth.edu/group/evc/
Moderator: Josh: There, you can find info on the EVC conference, VCIC, Chicago Startup Factory, EVC trek, lunch&learns, social programming, and more.
G-352382724: Hello, and thank you for hosting this chat today! Question for the panel: in your experience, what discipline is of primary importance for an entrepreneur, e.g. finance, marketing, sales, creativity, etc.? I ask in the context of planning my course selection.
Waverly: Hi. Great question since an entrepreneur must be a jack of all trades at the beginning. In my opinion, all entrepreneurs must know how to sell. When you are dealing with the vision of a great product or service more than the reality it takes commitment and passion to convince customers to take a risk on you. Only the entrepreneur or founding team members can really do that at the beginning of the venture. Marketing is critical too because selecting the right target market can make your early selling a lot easier. None of the disciplines are unimportant - emphasing financial controls early definitely correlates with success but there are certain areas of expertise that are easier to hire for. Sales is one of the hardest so be sure to get exposure to that process as a hopeful entrepreneur.
cshehadi: How large in the Booth Entrepreneurship & Venture Capital Student Group (EVC)?
Moderator: Josh: Some may have seen this answer before, but the EVC group has approximately 300 members, making it the second largest group on campus. This allows us to support a variety of programming, while still being manageable enough to get to know your entrepreneurship and venture capital interested classmates.
rislam: What are the difficulties that entrepreneurs face and what does Booth teach that prepares one to accept those challenges?
Waverly: Rislam, that is a question better answered over the two years that you are here since it is pretty broad and very important. But, a quick answer is that every entrepreneur starts his or her business with limited resources - capital, people, time and information. One thing that Booth will really help the new entrepreneur learn how to do is focus those resources for the best impact and prioritize based on what the company has to accomplish at each stage of development. This is true for thinking about raising capital, developing your product or service, spending your marketing dollars, hiring a team, etc.
Jen: Josh, can you talk about the EVC career treks you have led? What sort of companies did you visit and what are the largest takeaways for students?
Moderator: Josh: Hi Jen, I just answered a question about the companies we visited on the Bay Area EVC trek (you can also check out the EVC group website), so I will talk a little about the takeaways. Participant learn about how VCs/Entrepreneurs broke into the business, how they have worked to be successful, how they have dealt with setbacks, and how they develop and analyze new business ideas.
George: Is it possible for students to concentrate in Entrepreneurship and another area? Or are students only able to focus on one area? Is two the norm? What do stduents typically choose as their second concentration - if Entrepreneurship is their first?
Irene: George, you can focus in as many areas as you are able to complete during your time at Booth. I am concentrating in 3 - Finance, Accounting, and Entrepreneurship. It depends on your interests. Most students concentrate on anywhere from 2 to 4 areas depending how complimentary they are. There is more overlap between some concentrations than others. Each concentration requires beween 3 - 6 courses. You will have the opportunity to focus on what really interests you.
vtandon: Hello Starr! I'm a recent admit to Chicago Booth, and was wondering if you could speak to Booth's alumni network in VC and how students at Booth position themselves to enter VC?
Starre: Chicago Booth has an alumni network for both private equity and venture capital alumni called CPEN (Chicago Private Equity Network). CPEN has chapters in Chicago, Boston, the Bay Area, and Asia, and regularly runs events for its members. Here at Chicago Booth, we run several programs for students interested in pursuing careers in VC. These include the PE/VC Lab course, which provides students with internships during the academic year in private equity and venture capital, the Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Conference, the Venture Capital Investment Competition, and the Venture Capital trek in San Francisco. These programs expose students to the venture capital industry and instruct students on positioning themselves for entering VC. In addition, both Career Services and the Polsky Center staff meet with students individually to review their background, evaluate their strengths and weaknesses, and discuss how they might be able to position themselves specifically for VC.
EricJ: Hi All and thanks for your time at this event. A question for the students; in terms of academics and faculty, what would you say has had the greatest impact in terms of preparing you for an entrepreneurial venture and why?
Moderator: Hi EricJ, thanks for the question. There are points in working on the venture when it's the practical (and tested) advice from faculty that is most required for the day to day running of the business. At other times there is the need to refer to academic text to develop strategy (for example). I can't point to either of the two being more important but I can say that you get as much out of taking advantage of either resource as you ask of it.
Sandy: Question for Oluseyi: can you share your experience working with the New Business Incubator? Did you already have your business idea prior to joining Chicago Booth?
Moderator: Hi Sandy, thanks for the question. I did come into Booth with the crux of my idea for the venture. The model has changed several times since I came in based on market feedback.
Moderator: I took the idea through the New Venture Challenge, worked/working with some colleagues out of the Arch Venture Incubator at the Polsky Centre. Continually getting feedback and advise from the Professors has made the experience very fulfilling. The facilities provided by the Arch Venture Incubator have also enabled me to self fund the venture without having to worry about rent/office supplies/phones etc; costs that tend to be impeding overheards for a new venture. It has been, and continues to be, a good experience.
Moderator: Moderator: The chat will be closing in 10 minutes. Please submit your final questions.
DanielB: Hi all, I'm Daniel from Israel. Josh, excuse my overly focused question, but I was wondering how you ended up working with a venture firm investing in Israeli companies? How was the experience of working in the field of VC for someone interested in entrepreneurship?
Moderator: Josh: Hi, Daniel. Thanks for the question on my work with Amiti Ventures in the PE/VC lab. Last winter I applied for the PE/VC lab through Booth and found a good fit with Amiti, based on my varied background in healthcare, software, and semiconductors. There was no personal connection with Israel. I think a lot of b-school value to entrepreneurs is to provide them with an invaluable VC-investor perspective. The analytical frameworks will help them narrow down their own business ideas and pursue the ones that are most likely to succeed, while highlighting the content and style that will help them raise funding.
John_1: For the current Students: How applied do you find the curriculum in the Entrepreneurship courses? Do you feel that upon graduation you will be able to hit the ground running -- with the skills to produce business plans capable of receiving funding? Or do you find it academic and plan to gain more practical skills upon graduating?
Moderator: Hi John, good question! There are actually classes that are all about the application of theory to entrepreneurship.
Moderator: Waverly Deutsch's class involves weekly deliverables that involve you working on a 'business' as you would in real life (you have to take the class!) and Entrepreneurial Selling also has you working on developing a sales plan/strategy for a real venture (I used my own venture in the class and still refer to the tools in the day to day operation). Refer to Josh's response on the PE/VC Lab.
Moderator: You get both practical skills as well as theory.
ryt: I have been by a few people that in order to break into the PE/VC industry post MBA, that it is vital to have been in the industry post undergrad or in the least come into the MBA program with a strong network in the industry. How much of this is true? And what types of programs/classes does Booth provide to help overcome any initital barriers to entry for students looking to use the MBA as a pivot into PE/VC?
Irene: ryt, while it is true that prior PE/VC experience and a strong network are very helpful in getting into PE/VC after the MBA program, there are many students who are able to break in without these aspects. The degree of success depends in part on the firms you are interested and the dedication with which you pursue PE/VC. There are some firms that are fairly rigit in their hiring and will only recruit students with prior experience, but there are many firms who are looking for diverse backgrounds. PE/VC recruiting is time consuming and usually takes longer than other recruiting, therefore successful students need to be persistant. The best course Booth provides is the PE/VC lab which gives students the opportunity to intern at a host PE/VC firm. All students can apply and while the host firms ultimately choose who to take, many students with non PE/VC backgrounds are chosen. I participated in this program last year and had a significant number of classmates who had technology, banking, or consulting backgrounds and not PE or VC. Hope this helps.
iHarel: Last question: I hear that the Chicago Booth MBA program is more quantitative-focused compared with similar programs. How does this trend influence the entrepreneurial culture Chicago Booth establishes? Can you share with us information concerning the main industries that Chicago-Booth-graduates dominate (start-ups)?
Waverly: That is a great question. What I would say is that in many ways entrepreneurship is as much art as science so a lot of quantitative methodology is less relevant for the start up. For example, running a good regression analysis on the feature set that most matches the market need requires a lot of good data - something that the entrepreneur is often in short supply of. What the entrepreneurship team at Booth does have that reflects the overall Booth culture is the emphasis on rigor in thinking and analysis. An example from my class specifically is the YourCo. simulation that allows students to imagine starting a business for the first 18 months. In that experience, you will be required to do substantial research and networking to support your assertions about your business. You will be called to defend your company's accomplishments. You will receive multiple rounds and levels of feedback on your thinking to push you to new levels of insight and understanding. The New Venture Challenge is the most rigorous business plan creation process you can imagine. Your quantitative tools learned at Booth will definitely come into play in your entrepreneurship classes but you will learn how to adjust and supplement quantitative thinking for the start up environment that is a lot less certain.
G-352383381: Can you tell me more about the Midwest Alternative Energy Venture Forum?
Starre: The Midwest Alternative Energy Venture Forum is an annual event run by the Polsky Center in collaboration with several partnering organizations from industry, government, education, NGOs, etc. The Forum gives top entrepreneurs in the clean energy industry the opportunity to present their businesses to an audience of potential investors and strategic partners. Take a look at the website for the Forum to learn more! http://www.chicagobooth.edu/maevf/2009/
Jen: How does the broader Chicago environment impact Booth's entrepreneurial offerings? Is there added benefit to being in Chicago?
Moderator: Josh: Hi, Jen. Good question. Although the Chicago-based entrepreneurial/VC community may be small compared to the Bay Area, we do have the added benefit of being a very tight-knit community. The network of alumni, faculty, and general Booth fans in the city is very supportive of student efforts. This comes in the forms of mentorship and internship opportunities, participation in EVC programming, and willingness to coach students on their job search/business ideas.
sid_1: A question for student members here. How rigorous do you find the MBA program? Do you find enough time for outside class activities starting with various conferences on PE/VC, NVC and several other hobbies clubs available?
Moderator: Hi Sid_1, good question. As I'm sure you've heard, the program is rigorous but it equips you immensely for life after the two years. Involvement in the student groups is time consuming but very rewarding and you'll be amazed at how well your time management skills develop from having to handle all you have to do at Booth. Outside of school you create time for the things that are important to you and so I (like most of my colleagues) still make sure I do things outside school that are important to me (spend time with my wife, play/watch some soccer, read a novel etc).
Austin: Also, some ideas I may want to pursue while at school focus on socially-minded ventures, does Booth approach/foster these types of ideas differently? In what way?
Starre: Hi Austin - although Chicago Booth does believe that traditional business practices can be applied successfully to socially-minded ventures, we do run several programs specifically for students focused on socially-minded ventures. Professors Linda Darragh and Robert Gertner teach a social entrepreneurship lab course each year, which enables students to work with a socially-minded startup in the Chicago area for 10 weeks. The Polsky Center also supports students who want to intern with socially-minded startups over the summer by providing summer stipends through the Entrepreneurial Internship Program (EIP). We have a track of this program dedicated to students pursuing social entrepreneurship. In addition, Chicago Booth has created a fund to cover travel and living expenses for students working in public service organizations over the summer.
IG: Hi Professor Waverly. I was wondering if you could speak to how professors strive to bring a global perspective to entrepreneurial studies?
Waverly: In my opinion, entrepreneurship is fundamentally a local activity. You start a business to serve a market that is narrowly defined. You will no doubt leverage global resources - development teams in Eastern Europe, manufacturers in Asia, etc. - but the act of starting the business is local. That being said, entrepreneurship is happening everywhere and our students are from the global community. So, for example, in my class I start with an overview of entrepreneurial activity world wide. I allow my students to work on YourCo. companies that they would start in other countries and I try to learn things specific to that country in terms of start up challenges or legal constraints. The idea is to teach a useful framework that a smart students can apply in any local context. We are also developing our global entrepreneurial network and have hosted trips out of the Polsky Center to China and India for our students and alum. You won't find a class called "Global Entrepreneurship" here but you will find the subject integrated into many of our classes and activities.
rsimms: current students: as best you can, what would you say is the defining characteristics of booth entrepreneurship programs that separate it from other business schools that have built stalwart reputations in the concentration?
Moderator: Josh: Great question. I think what differentiates the entrepreneurship concentration at Booth is an extension of what separates Booth in general...the amazing, hands on faculty. With David Booth's gift being highly targeted towards faculty retention/addition, the school remains focused on this goal. The entrepreneurship courses are highly interactive and highly focused on producing term-long projects with significant professor mentoring. The goal is to prepare you to launch your own company or to evaluate business plans. To follow up on my comments and not accept them as platitudes, I would encourage you to look at the faculty directory and read about the backgrounds of professors Kaplan, Meadow, Schraeger, and others who offer courses you are interested in.
G-352347599: Hi Professor Deutsch, I just wanted to thank you for proctoring this discussion. In light of the recent credit crisis, has Booth adjusted its curriculum to incorporate the challenges now faced in the PE and VC industries?
Waverly: Great question! What kind of great institution would we be if we didn't. Our professors publish their most current thinking to the Booth community on economic and investment issues in light of the current economy in an email series called "Chicago On." Professor Kaplan's research is looking at the impact of the crash on PE and VC fund raising and performance. The fact of the matter is that economies cycle so most classes deal with the difference between boom and bust periods in cases and lectures already and can certainly apply strong analysis to the current situation.
Moderator: It's been fun chatting with you and thanks for all the questions. Hope we provided some insight into the Entrepreneurial experience at Booth. All the best as you think things through and consider your options!
Irene: Thanks everyone for joining! Best of luck with everything.
Joanne: Thanks to everyone for your participation today. The Admissions staff is more than happy to answer questions at any time.
Starre: Thank you for all these great questions about entrepreneurship at Chicago Booth! I hope we were able to provide helpful feedback. For those who have not done so, please take a look at the Polsky Center's website, which contains a wealth of information about our programs, classes, conferences, and competitions! www.chicagobooth.edu/entrepreneurship
Waverly: Really great questions, everyone. It was fun chatting with you and I hope to see you in my classroom someday in the future. Best wishes. Waverly Deutsch
Moderator: Josh: Goodbye, all. Thanks for the great questions and your interest in entrepreneurship and VC.