Start-up Networking Night, hosted by Booth Career Services, was a packed event featuring 59 start-ups seeking to hire new talent. With over 17 industries represented, those in attendance met with start-ups from the technology, real estate, advertising, healthcare and non-profit sectors, amongst others.
Many of the students in attendance were exploring the possibility of working at a start-up for the first time, and the room was alive with energy and enthusiasm. When prompted, all the organizations represented knew exactly why they were present, to specifically recruit Booth talent. These organizations want to bring aboard “Boothies” because they have the business focus, expertise and deep commitment to analytical and data-driven approaches needed to help their organizations thrive and grow exponentially.
I spoke with several Booth alumni who were founders of the start-ups present, including the founders of Rumi Spice, an international corporation that can only be described as mission-based, which their certification as a B Corp underscores. They’ve seen their products line the shelves of Whole Foods this past year, and have been featured in Blue Apron – growth that is creating jobs in Afghanistan which are some of the highest paying agricultural jobs in the country. Another Booth alum, Trista Li of KitcheNet also marries the mission of the corporation with responsible business practices. KitcheNet got its start in The Rustandy Center’s Social New Venture Challenge in 2016, and is now delivering fresh fruit to unserved neighborhoods in the Chicago area. With a “1 for 1” model, they are contributing to the reduction of food deserts in Chicago by catering to higher margin downtown corporate offices. In the words of Trista, “I am thrilled to be working with Booth students who are able to apply classroom concepts from Managerial Decision Modeling, and Digital Marketing to the day to day work at a startup.”
Booth offers numerous resources to students with entrepreneurial aspirations. Hands-on classes and labs such as Developing New Products and Services help hone student skills, while student clubs such as Built@Booth organize chats with notable venture capitalists and facilitate networking for students. The Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation hosts the New Venture Challenge, which is recognized as the number one university accelerator program in the country and has launched additional challenges for alumni and social innovation. As Entrepreneurship continues to be the fastest growing concentration at Booth, this is just a small taste of the many exciting things on tap for budding entrepreneurs in the Evening Weekend Program!
Julia Peaslee is an Admissions Manager, Operations for the Evening MBA and Weekend MBA Programs.