Wednesday, February 23, 2011 - 11:00 am CST
Moderator: Welcome to the chat. The chat will begin in 11 minutes. Feel free to start submitting your questions.
Moderator: Welcome to the chat. The chat will begin in a few minutes. Please familiarize yourselves with our chatters by taking a look at their bios at http://www.chicagobooth.edu/boothconnect/fulltime/2.3.11Entrepreneurship.aspx
Stephanie: Hi, I'm Stephanie, and I'm a second year MBA student at Chicago Booth. I'm excited to be here to answer your questions!
Sarah: Hi, I'm Sarah Outland, the Assistant Director of the Career Resource Center.
Kirsten: Hello I'm Kirsten Nelson, one of the Career Coaches in Career Services. I work with students pursuing VC and entrepreneurship/ start up career paths.
Laura: Hi everyone, I'm a second year Booth student. Excited to help answer all of your questions.
Scott: Hi everyone! My name is Scott and I'm a second year student at Booth. I look forward to chatting with everyone.
Bryce: Hello everyone! I'm Bryce from the Admissions team and look forward to answering some of your questions today.
Starr: Welcome! I'm Starr, the Director of Operations for the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship. I work closely with students and alumni launching new businesses, and connect them to the resources of the Center. Looking forward to answering your questions.
Waverly: Hello all. I teach a class called Bulding the New Venture and coach the New Venture Challenge competition. I am looking forward to your questions on entrepreneurship at Booth. (It's awesome by the way.)
Moderator: Thank you for joining our live chat! The chat has now begun. Please feel free to submit them anytime by entering them below.
Nikhil: Hi, I'm Nik, a 4th year jd/mba (2nd year mba student). I'm happy to answer any questions about pe/vc research, PE Lab internships, and entrepreneurship at Booth!
Rishi: Hello. How has the entrepreneurship program and the polsky center evolved over recent years?
Waverly: Rishi, Booth began making significant investments in entrepreneurship programs and curriculum in the 90's. Today we have a fully funded center, a rich deep curriculum, great student programs and conferences and a widely acclaimed business competition that launches 3-6 companies per year. Oh and you'll love all our great faculty!
Michael: How many students does Booth typically place in the Venture Capital internship program? Typically how many students from Booth pursue a career in venture capital directly after graduating from Booth?
Starr: Hi Michael. Thanks for your question. Booth runs a venture capital and private equity lab class, which places students in internships with these firms during the academic year. This year, we have approximately 60 students participating in the lab. We have a small but dedicated group of students that pursue careers in venture capital directly after graduating from Booth. Several alumni are able to move into VC positions directly after graduation, however, the field is highly competitive.
Michael: Can you detail the relationship betwen Arch Ventures and Booth? Does Arch ventures accept Booth students as interns?
Waverly: ARCH spun out from a collaboration between University of Chicago and the Argonne labs about 20 years ago. It is probably the largest tech fund in Chicago. We have a great relationship with them. They participate in judging the New Venture Challenge finals and typically take one or two interns for the Private Equity Lab and are involved in our new clean energy programs.
Michael: From your prepsective, what technical skills do venture capital firms look for in students when recruiting (e.g. advanced / engineering degrees, startup experience, etc.)?
Kirsten: VC firms will look for a range of technical skills; having domain expertise in a given industry which they invest in (i.e. high tech or healthcare) or previous operational experience, perhaps running your own business or working in start ups. Additionally, having a strong network in a given sector or in the entrepreneurial space.
Michael: What opportunities exist for entrepreneurs from both the Business, Medical. Law and other graduate level programs (e.g. computer science) to collaborate and learn from each other.
Nikhil: Lots! The most successful NVC exit to date is by a jd/mba student, and year before last the 3rd place finish was a business started at the Law School. Booth encourages recruiting team members from phd, law, and the med school. These students participate in the Venture Capital Investment Competition (http://student.chicagobooth.edu/group/evc/vcic/2011/) and the New Venture Challenge (research.chicagobooth.edu/nvc). Booth fosters this participation by organizing meetups, pitch events, online groups, and emailing members at other schools.
Allison: Hi All, and thank so much for hosting this chat! I have a question about summer internships - what kind of opportunities are available for students interested in social entrepreneurship?
Stephanie: There are many great internship opportunities for students interested in social entrepreneurship. Several socially oriented start-ups recruit Booth students for the summer. Additionally, students can apply for an Entrepreneurial Internship Program (EIP) grant and use the funds to work at smaller start-ups (including socially oriented ones). Here is some more information: http://www.chicagobooth.edu/entrepreneurship/curriculum/courses-labs/EIP/index.aspx
nikolay_kuzmin_1: What role Private Equity and Entrepreneurship & Venture Capital groups play in terms of helping students to land a job in private equity? Is there any application process students must go through in order to become a member of those groups?
Scott: Membership with student groups is open to all, but the fee to join each club varies. Both the PE Group and the EVC Group are great resources for identifying opportunities within private equity, however the PE Group tends to have a tighter focus on private equity versus venture capital. Groups also list job opportunities and hold events / conferences where students can meet with private equity professionals.
Michael: Within the arena of entrepreneurship, can you please describe any specific classes and/or internship opportunities available for students within the IT, Life Science, and Green Tech arenas? What separates Booth's program from others that also focus on these three fields of innovation?
Starr: Hi Michael. There are several classes that provide opportunities for students to intern for start-ups in IT, Life Sciences, and Green Tech. We have a course called "New Venture Lab" that brings a mix of start-ups into Booth - students work in teams directly with an entrepreneur to work on a strategic decision within the business. We also have a "Clean Tech Lab" class in which students work with start-ups specifically in clean energy/green tech. Internship opportunities are also available over the summer through our Entrepreneurial Internship Program (EIP). Through the EIP, the Polsky Center provides funding for students to work at start-ups around the world for the summer. One of the unique aspects of Booth's program related to the three fields of innovation you identified is that the school utilizes the breadth of the business community in Chicago. Chicago has strong high tech, green tech, and life science business networks.
Hampus: I am taking credits at Booth and am interested of joining the full time program. Could you please tell me about the New Venture challenge
Laura: Hampus, I participated in New Venture Challenge last year. It's a competition which is intended to help both full-time and part-time students plan and launch businesses. If you want to participate, no need to wait until you enroll full time. Non-Booth students can participate as long as one Booth student is part of the team. Teams will be announced later this week - if you're interested in being part of it this year, feel free to reach out to people and get involved.
farhanahmed: I am really interested in the 'Building an Internet Startup' class being offered this Winter quarter. Learning from Brad Keywell and Eric Lefkofsky would be exciting! Will this class be offered in the future or is this a one time thing?
Laura: farhanahmed, I'm in Building Internet Start Ups right now and it's a great class! At the moment Brad and Eric haven't officially signed on for the next class but everyone here at Booth certainly wants to make that happen.
nikolay_kuzmin_1: How does Chicago Booth differentiate itself from other top-tier schools that have strong reputation in entrepreneurial studies?
Waverly: Nikolay, all the great schools that feature entrepreneurship as a competency - Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, MIT - have great faculty and classes. Booth is the most self directed with the most flexibility in the curriculum. Beyond that we offer a lot of experiential opportunities not featured at other schools. We have lab classes working with start-ups, social ventures, key new product launches and private equity. We have a funded summer internship program where students can work with entrepreneurs or building their own businesses. The strength of everything we do stems from the rigor of the University of Chicago approach which makes our business competition one of the hardest and most effective anywhere launching 3-6 companies a year that get recognition and funding on both coasts - not just in the Midwest. Oh, and my class is a completely unique award winning simulation - you won't find anything like it on entrepreneurial execution - the actual "what do you do" when starting your business (if I do say so myself).
Michael: What advice do you have for students wanting to pursue a career in venture capital - in terms of experiences to be gained before, during, and after Booth?
Scott: Venture capital firms vary in the backgrounds of people they are looking to hire. Some firms tend to favor people with more of an entrepreneurial/operating background while other firms like to hire people with more finance/prior venture experience. So it's difficult to predict, but I'm finding that more early stage venture firms are favoring operating experience among the people they are hiring.
G-255419035: Nik, what are some examples internships that you or your classmates have done, and how have they prepared you to run your own business?
Nikhil: There are three types of internships that help with running businesses: operating, investing, and advisory. In the investing bucket, I interned at a Healthcare VC fund called Seneca Partners, which showed me how investors evaluate businesses. In the advisory bucket, I've worked at Wachtell Lipton (law), Goldman Sachs and Boston Consulting Group. These internships which showed me how to value a company, value a market, and evaluate legal risk. In the operating bucket, I worked on a start-up last year (peelable paint), and this year I co-founded a start-up in October to help students pay less for the coursepacks they need for school. My friends have also interned at start-ups like Y-Charts, Groupon, and others.
dn: What do the students who are interested in Entrepreneurship and VC focus for their Internships? I see many opportunities for Consulting and Finance sectors; are there many internship opportunities for this path as well?
Laura: dn, there are lots of internship opportunities in entrepreneurship and a few less in venture capital. While companies in consulting and finance often know their employment requirements well ahead of time, start ups and venture capital firms tend to hire just in time. This means the job search tends to be the most intense later in the year, generally from March to June.
steven81882: Wow great panel! Thanks for taking the time. Can you speak to some of the successful business ventures people have launched post-Booth?
Waverly: Steven, I love to talk about this. Booth has launched companies getting national acclaim like Bump and GrubHub (many of you may have used those). But even more important than the big internet successes that everyone gets so excited about we consistently launch 3-6 companies every year that you've never heard of. Companies like ReTel, Incontext Solutions, FeeFighters, EduLender, MathZee, Future Simple, ProOnGo and many more create hundreds of jobs and build tons of value. Will yours be next?
Nachi: Hi, can you tell me how mature is the program in the field of social enterpreneurship, has there been any focus on this area
Stephanie: There are many exciting social entrepreneurship opportunities at Booth. In addition to classes offered by faculty and projects run through student groups, Booth is in its inaugural year of the Social Venture Challenge. Several speakers and events also occur on campus. For instance, tomorrow we are hosting a conference entitled "The triple-bottom line: Exploring social impact in the for-profit sector."
Diana: Hi All! I wanted to know how common is it for first-years to come in already owning their own business and is it manageable to continue that business while pursuing a Booth MBA?
Starr: Hi Diana! Several students enter Booth with their own business already up and running. One recent example of this is a company called GrubHub (www.grubhub.com). For students in this position, there are many opportunities for students to continue growing their businesses while pursuing their MBA - though you will be quite busy! You have the opportunity to apply much of what you learn in the classroom directly to your business, and see the immediate impacts. Depending on how far the business is when you enter school, you may be able to take it through the New Venture Challenge business competition, which can no only connect you with mentors and coaches, but also improve your business model and introduce you to potential funders. The Polsky Center recognizes the difficulty of running a business while in school, and we actually give out an annual award to recognize a student who has reached significant milestones in growing their own business while in school.
jtepper: Roughly, what percentage of students who graduate through the Entrepreneurship program work for a start up, vs. PE/VC or other industries such as consulting?
Sarah: Hi, jtepper. A high concentration of students focus on entrepreneurship at Booth. That being said, the Employment Report (http://www.chicagobooth.edu/employmentreport/index.aspx) will show you where students go (by industry, function, location, and company) for both full-time and internship positions.
G-255427123: What complementary coursework is recommended for all students seeking a concentration in Entrepreneurship?
Laura: The coursework that tends to go well with entrepreneurship concentrations are other areas that start ups need to focus on: marketing, finance and operations come to mind. I'm currently taking the marketing class "Developing New Products and Services" with Middlebrooks and am finding that really useful for my start up.
LaviniaP: Hi everyone! Star, in what ways can students who are interested in venture capital and private equity get engaged with the Polsky Center?
Scott: I'm going to jump in to answer this one for Starr. As a student, it is very easy to engage with the Polsky Center. In my personal experience, I walked into Polsky before school even started - introduced myself and said I was interested in entrepreneurship and wanted to be involved as much as I could. They were incredibly welcoming and remain that way to this day. I would strongly encourage you to engage with them early in your time here because they are great resources!
Jdtaylor: how hard is it to get an associate position with hyde park angels?
Starr: Hi Jdtaylor. The associate positions with Hyde Park Angels (HPA) are competitive. HPA takes 6 associates at the start of the academic year; this year they received 75 applications for these 6 slots. It is an amazing experience if you are able to secure one of the positions. Laura Shapland, who is a 2nd year student on this chat, is a current HPA associate and could tell you more about the experience she has had.
Bistra: Thank you for participating in this chat. I am very interested in Social Entrepreneurship, but could not find many Booth students who were taking some of the SE courses and labs offered at Booth. Could you comment on the various curriculum opportunities and carrer placement assistance that are offerred by Booth for students interested in SE?
Stephanie: There are two classes that are popular at Booth in the area of social entrepreneurship. One is the Social Entrepreneurship Lab taught by Linda Darragh, which combines lectures and cases with a quarter-long consulting engagement with a social enterprise in the Chicago area. The other is New Social Ventures taught by Rob Gertner, in which students work on developing their own social enterprise idea. In terms of career placement assistance, Booth's Career Services provides specially tailored programs for students seeking SE opportunities. And the Entrepreneurial Internship Program (EIP) lets students apply for funding to work at start-ups (including socially oriented ones) over the summer.
Andrew: Hello. Can anyone could share their experience with Booth's PE/VC Lab and how it prepared them for internships and/or full-time positions in PE/VC?
Nikhil: I interned at Seneca Partners (healthcare vc fund) through the PE/VC Lab. The lab prepares students in two ways for internships/full time - i) operational experience and ii) contacts/credibility. For i), what you work on is part luck based on what deals are happening at the firm, and part preparation in terms of relaying to the employer what you are interested in working on. In my internship I conducted industry research to see new avenues for a start-up to increase revenue, did a valuation of a start-up, listened to entrepreneurs pitch and reviewed plans, attended Monday morning partner meetings, and flew to the annual investor conference and capital meeting to raise money for the new fund. For ii), the PE/VC community is very small. Knowing someone in the community, like through the PE Lab, helps open doors and tap into the PE/VC network. And getting that first meeting is half the battle. It also makes internship and full-time conversations much richer with relationships you bring to the table.
imraan: Professor Deusch, could you please talk a little bit about your "Building the New Venture" class? I am really interested in learning more. Through students I have heard that the course is an amazing experience and simulates the creation and daily operation of a small business?
Waverly: Imraan, I love talking about my class because it is so fun and I think people learn better when they are having a good time. Your summary is right. We launch hypothetical business based on the student teams' interests in every imaginable industry and business model. During the quarter those businesses raise money, launch, hire people, develop products and services, select target markets, engage in selling and partnering, work on operations process - oh yeah, and face a crisis. The key is that all of this fiction needs to be grounded in solid research so that the accomplishments of the fake company could happen in the real world. Ask my students but they tell me it is as close as you can get to the experience of starting a company in a classroom. Some of them report waking up in a sweat wondering about their company making payroll or landing a big account - a very real entrepreneurial experience. [The class won a national award but I am too modest to mention that :) ]
OA: Thanks for taking the time answering questions, this one is for Laura, can you please tell about the Entrepreneurial Internship Program? what is it iexactly?
Laura: The Entrepreneurial Internship Program is specifically designed to give students the financial support to explore entrepreneurship through summer internships. Basically, you apply to the program and then either apply to start ups through school or find start up companies you want to work for on your own (you can also work on your own start up). EIP provides a stipend and students generally ask that start up companies match that.
nikolay_kuzmin_1: Hi there. Thank you for taking your time to chat with us. I have a perception that there is no typical private equity firm; hence, there is no typical interview for PE firms in contrast to interviews for consulting and investment banking jobs that are more structured and focused. How does Booth help their students to prepare for interviews with PE firms? Could you also expand a little on the specifics of recruiting process for PE firms? When does it start? Are there any time constraints, for example a student must secure his internship by XX date? What activities students usually are involved during the recruiting season?
Kirsten: Depending on the type of PE firm there can be some differences in the types of questions asked, and depending on your background the questions they focus on may vary (i.e. IB background vs. consulting). However, typically both fit and technical skills are key components firms will look to evaluate. There are a number of ways Booth will help you prepare: we offer multiple interview programs where you will have a chance to interact with second years to talk about what to expect and how to prepare, as well as practice different components of the interview; we also have sample PE Interview FAQ's, as well as offer programs where you will have a chance to conduct mock interviews with second years for both the function and firm-specific interview practice. Additionally, the PE student group will offer support through bringing in alumni, guest speakers and practicing/ talking with second year students. The recruiting process for PE is primarily network based and mainly will be off campus. We recommend starting the networking process early in the fall, although many firms will do just in time hiring and it will be common that many students won't land their PE internships until spring/early summer. There really aren't any time constraints, but the more proactive students can be in the networking/informational interview process this will increase chances of being successful in the process. There are a number of activities students can participant in, like the PE/VC Lab, being involved in the PE student group, attending conferences, etc. and activities related to the industry to keep abreast of trends and to build your network.
ktoubes: Hi, I'm working right now in consulting and I'm interested in taking entrepreneur classes. At the end of the MBA, I want to work several years in consulting, and I would like to know if recruiters would see me in disadvantage compared to other students that took more general management courses during the MBA.
Stephanie: Recruiters from consulting firms look for a variety of backgrounds and skill sets, so taking entrepreneurial classes will definitely not disadvantage you. To use myself as an example, my concentrations at Booth are Entrepreneurship and Economics, and I have accepted a full-time offer from a consulting firm.
Flower: what characteristics do you consider important students should have if they are thinking about entrpreneurship?
Scott: Flower - this is a tough question, because great entrepreneurs come in all shapes and sizes. I think a few of the most important are taking initiative without being told, humility and desire to take risks. Building your own business or pursuing more of an entrepreneurial opportunity is likely going to require setting your own schedule and taking your own initiatives. Additionally, you'll probably be told your idea isn't any good plenty of times, so you've got to have a bit of humility to get through the tough patches. Finally, pursuing an entrepreneurial path requires taking more risk than a traditional career route. Most people pursuing entrepreneurship don't secure jobs until the last quarter, while students pursuing more traditional career paths secure jobs many months earlier.
chriskun: do most students who pursue entrepreneurship stay in the chicago area ? How many go to the west coast/bay area post graduation?
Sarah: Hi, chriskun! It's tricky to break out entrepreneurship from the location information we track with our students and recent alums. That being said, you can see where students go post-graduation (as well as for internships) on our Employment Report (http://www.chicagobooth.edu/employmentreport/location.aspx). A lot of students stay in Chicago, but more leave Chicago than stay, in general.
G-167051061: Hello guys! I am very interested in the Entrepreneurship track, focused on Social Impact. I have read that this year, the first Social New Venture Challenge will take place. Can you tell me a little bit about it
Starr: I'm happy to tell you a little about the Social New Venture Challenge. This year is our pilot year of running this track of the New Venture Challenge. We selected 12 teams to advance in the Social NVC, and to take a class with Professor Rob Gertner on launching new social ventures. These teams will also be coached by Linda Darragh, Director of Entrepreneurship Programs in the Polsky Center. Professors Gertner and Darragh will be working with each of these teams to determine their viability and launch their ventures. We have prize money (at least $25K) that will be awarded out to the best social ventures to come out of the competition this year.
G-255431708: For current students...did any of you enter entrepreneurship with a reservation such as, "I might not really need an MBA for this," and end up very surprised by something you found/learned/discovered at Booth? If so, what is that thing/what are those things?
Laura: I had exactly that thought and that's partly why it took me so long to return to school to get my MBA. In the end, I decided to get an MBA primarily because I wanted to have time to focus exclusively on it (as opposed to my day job which kept distracting me) and I really wanted to get access to the entrepreneurial community I knew was available. The thing that's surprised me the most is how willing everyone is to go out of their way to help me in my entrepreneurial pursuits. From Polsky staff to other students to faculty to alumni, I have gotten enthusiastic support, great advice and ever so helpful introductions as I pursue my passion.
Mark: Nikhil: Can you please talk about the jd/mba program, and how it is percieved in the marketplace by PE/VC firms and Investment Banks?
Nikhil: I blog regularly about the jd/mba program at uchicagojdmba.posterous.com. For investment banking, check out this post: http://uchicagojdmba.posterous.com/im-going-to-law-school-and-getting-a-jd-to-be
Nikhil: For PE/VC firms, the jd/mba program is not going to be necessary or sufficient to get a job. But it can greatly enhance a skill set you already have. You'll find someone with a legal background in almost every PE shop you look at. The founder of Carlyle, for example, is a University of Chicago Law alum! http://uchicagojdmba.posterous.com/rubenstein-donates-to-uchicago-law
Nikhil: Ibanking, pe, and vc are transaction related fields. Having the business skills to evaluate a deal, and the legal skills to understand the risks a deal creates is highly valued by firms that do transactions.
chriskun: Are there specific classes or events that help students form teams to inccubate ideas; in my particular case, I don't have an idea yet for a business but want to work with other students on developing different business ideas.
Laura: chriskun, that's a great question. The Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital (EVC) student group has a specific set of programming called Start Up Factory which is designed to do exactly that. The programming is timed with New Venture Challenge: in the fall you meet with other students and exchange ideas to form teams; in the winter you do market research and write business plans; in the spring you execute on the plan and launch the business. In fact, I met two of my three New Venture Challenge teammates in the first week of classes - we came up with the idea together.
Mike: Hello. Those interested in growing existing family run organization. What does booth offer as far as classes and labs? Thanks
Starr: Hi Mike. Booth has a student group that focuses on providing programming related to Family Businesses. The Polsky Center sponsors this group and helps them develop additional educational opportunities (lunch and learns, speakers) related to issues that family businesses uniquely face. At this time, we do not have a specific course that focuses on family businesses. However, several of the "host firms" that participate in our lab classes, such as the New Venture Lab, are family businesses.
Moderator: There are 30 minutes left in the chat. Please continue to submit your questions and we will answer as many as we can!
G-255415894: My passion is social enterprise and corporate social responsibility but am ridiculously frightened of launching out on my own. Is there recruitment at Booth by larger non-profits and the public sector (ie: dept of Ed)? Does the social venture student have to seek out these companines? And can the Polsky Center help me become bold enough to actually launch a venture?
Stephanie: I'm glad you asked -- I actually spent the summer working at the U.S. Department of Education! Several larger non-profits and public sector agencies do recruit through Booth's career services. A few examples are Chicago Public Schools, the Civic Consulting Alliance, and Bridgespan (where I am headed after graduation). In terms of working up to being "bold," there is a great community inside the Polsky Center and within student groups to help you make that the best choice for you -- lots of people here are in the same boat!
Phil: Hi all - thanks for taking the time for the chat today. I come from a more traditional finance background. I've worked with tech companies for six years as an investment banker and am planning to transition into a career in entrepreneurship. How feasible is it for someone with my background to utilize Polsky's resources to make that transition? Does the Polsky Center have a history of helping students lacking VC or entrepreneurial experience successfully making that transition? Thanks.
Kirsten: It is absolutely feasible for you to utilize resources both from Polsky Center and from Career Services. You will have a chance to learn about all the resources both offices provide in the fall and we work closely to provide student programming and support with the Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital student Group. Students with diverse backgrounds/experience are successful every year transitioning into roles in start-ups and in the entrepreneurial space, through identifying your strengths and value proposition and identifying companies/ opportunities where there is a good match with the skills and background you bring.
Clearline: With the recent attention Chicago's (the city) start-up industry has gotten (groupon, lightbank, etc), has Booth begun to see more students going the start-up route?
Waverly: Booth is certainly attracting a lot more students because of the entrepreneurship education you can get here and many of our graduates do pursue their own ventures or go into VC and PE. I have mentioned that we launch about 3-6 companies straight out of the New Venture Challenge every year. But, it is a relatively small percentage because many of our entrepreneurship students think (and rightly so) that industry, management, operational experience will make them a better entrepreneur so they first take jobs. We get dozens of alum every year contacting us to report that they are now leaving jobs to start their firms and we love hearing that. Entrepreneurship skills are useful in any career - large companies are actually looking for entrepreneurship concentrations because of the holistic look at businesses it involves - and they never expire.
valleyboy: How soon can a new student get involved in Entrepreneurial activities if he/she comes in with some background and/or ideas ?
Laura: valleyboy, you'll find that people come to Booth raring to go. In the past two years entrepreneurial-minded students have organized informal drinks and get-togethers well before the first classes are in session. The EVC student group also organizes events as soon as school is in session.
Paul: Could you briefly explain the steps students must take in order to receive consideration for the Entrepreneurial Internship Program (EIP)? Is there a cap on the number of students who can receive these subsidized internships?
Starr: Hi Paul. There is a cap on the number of students who can receive subsidized internships with start-ups through the EIP program. This year, we have funding for 40 students. We have an application (very simple) for students to submit if they want to gain entry to the EIP. Applications are evaluated by members of the Polsky Center, Career Services, and the Dean's Office. We will often request to meet with you in person to learn more about your entrepreneurial goals, both short and long term, to make sure the EIP is the right program for you.
G-255423951: What networking opportunities does Booth provide within the PE/VC sectors?
Scott: There are numerous networking opportunities through Booth for both PE and VC. The PE Group and EVC Group both hold conferences every year where students can meet investment professionals in either PE or VC. Additionally, there are a plethora of Booth alumni working in PE and VC who regularly come speak on campus at Lunch and Learns. I've also been able to meet a number of VC professionals through the Venture Capital Investment Competition which is held at Booth every year. Students participate in the event and the winning team moves on to regionals and potentially nationals.
G-255466260: If a student wants toi start a soccer venture such as consultancy or a magazine , is there aan environ ment at Booth to start such offbeat ventures apart from the usual ones ?
Laura: Absolutely! In fact, the winner of New Venture Challenge a couple of years ago, Captain U, helps high school athletes find the right colleges to play their preferred sport. Guess where they're starting? You got it - soccer!
jtepper__Guest_: Would you encourage a first year MBA student interested in Entrepreneurship to do a summer internship program through a larger corporation or to gain direct start-up experience?
Kirsten: It can depend on your background and what your goals are for working in the entrepreneurial space (i.e. interested in starting your own business, work for a start up, etc.)but typically going and getting that experience over the summer and working for a start up, etc. can be extremely valuable to gain experience, and ensure this is something you want to do long term.
G-254480459: What is the teaching method for Entrereneurship - I assume a mix of case study and theory is applied, correct? Are classes tailored by the student's interest or are these driven from a set curriculum? I have an idea for a social enterprise in the education/housing space. Can I tailor my studies in order to fulfill this venture? How many students at booth have a joint degree?
Waverly: First, Booth is the school with the most self driven curriculum of any of the great schools. Nearly everyone graduates with multiple concentrations and entrepreneurship is the second largest next to finance. You are absolutely right in thinking we use a variety of teaching methods - all of the classes use cases and often live cases with visits from entrepreneurs. We have a wide variety of lab classes. We use simulation, practice and theory in a blend designed to reinforce all the critical take-aways. Most of the classes allow students to focus on their personal interests in projects. In my class, several of the hypothetical companies have a social aim or are international in focus to support the student's own learning aims. Hope this helps.
valleyboy: Is the internship through the PE lab during the summer or does it overlap with the academic year ? How are students selected for the same ? Thanks
Nikhil: PE Lab internships usually happen during the winter or spring quarter. Some internships run for both quarters, and some internships turn into summer internships.
Nikhil: Students are selected for the PE Lab by submitting an application to the class. Over the winter break, two TAs and I, along with the Polsky Center match students with PE/VC firms based on what the firms are looking for. What firms want can be all over the map. A PE firm may want a student with marketing experience to evaluate a consumer foods company currently being sold. Or a VC firm might want an engineer to evaluate the IT systems of a healthcare business. Many people have the perception these firms only want students with previous finance experience and that is actually not true -- they want a fresh perspective!
Nikhil: This year every student was viewed by at least 5 PE/VC firms, and this year because so many firms participated that number was even higher.
Matthew_10: Is it difficult for a student to balance their interest between Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital? I'm interested in exploring both while in school--should i take multiple labs or is there a recommended grouping of electives to take to be able to maximize both fields?
Scott: Matthew - that's a great question and while it is tough, it can certainly be done. There is a tremendous amount of overlap between VC and entrepreneurship and there is a single student group dedicated to both areas (Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Group). As for classes, there are a number of classes that explore both topics including Commercializing Innovation and Entrepreneurial Finance and Private Equity. The PE/VC lab is a great opportunity to get some VC experience while your in school and some folks either parlay that opportunity into a full-time position or pursue an entrepreneurial internship. The Entrepreneurial Internship Program (EIP) helps to place students with entrepreneurial opportunities and funds part of their salary for the summer. So you could do both the PE/VC lab and EIP to get exposure to both areas by the time you're done with first year.
G-255427123: Is it possible to launch multiple ventures while at Booth? Is a single launch too time-consuming given the rigor of the program?
Starr: While it is possible to launch multiple ventures while at Booth, if you get significant traction with one of the ventures, your time will be very limited between moving this venture forward and completing your academic coursework. Oftentimes, students with more than one idea for a new venture will submit several entries to the New Venture Challenge and see which one scores highest for viability with the faculty and judges.
makkivelli: How is Chicago Booth competing with Stanford when it comes to Social Entrepreneurship?
Stephanie: Booth has some tremendous offerings in social entrepreneurship and continues to develop more every year. In the classroom, the two most popular course offerings in this area are the Social Entrepreneurship Lab and New Social Ventures. Outside of the classroom, student groups like Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital (EVC) and Net Impact provide consulting project opportunities and support for developing your own social enterprise. They also put on several events, such as a conference we are having here tomorrow entitled, "The triple-bottom line: Exploring social impact in the for-profit sector." Also, for the first time this year, Booth is holding a Social Venture Challenge.
Michael: Are there any curriculum changes that have recently occurred? If so, can you detail?
Waverly: Michael, our curriculum is changing constantly. In the last couple of years we have added an excellent social entrepreneurship lab/class, a unique class on entrepreneurial selling (you won't find a great sales class at many schools), a terrific new class by two of the founder/investors in Groupon on launching internet ventures, a clean tech lab... We are very active in responding to demand and innovating in our curriculum.
G-254480459: Good Day and thank you for hosting the chat. What is the % of students that "major" in Entrepreneurship and can you elaborate on the services Booth provides for students looking to develop an idea at Booth?
Starr: Hello - entrepreneurship is currently the second largest concentration at Chicago Booth. Approximately 50% of the graduating students earn a concentration in entrepreneurship. Booth's resources for students looking to develop an idea are housed at the Polsky Center and through the Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Student group. The New Venture Challenge (NVC) is a great way to develop an idea and turn it into a real business. We have had several successful companies launch through the NVC, such as GrubHub, Bump Technologies, ReTel Technologies, etc. Both the Polsky Center and the entrepreneurship student group have very practical, useful workshops throughout the year on topics such as finding the right technology team, mastering digital marketing, and acing customer acquisition.
farhanahmed: Do students manage to find internships at up and coming tech startups in the Chicago Area or the Silicon Valley during the summer break? How many end up joining a nascent startup after graduation?
Sarah: hi farhanahmed! Great question. The way we track our students' internship and full-time employment information, it's tricky to provide this information without being able to 'look behind the numbers' right now. That being said, my role at Chicago Booth encompasses meeting with students and helping them find start-ups (be they tech-related or not) based on their criteria of interest, which is typically location, industry, and founded or funded by Booth alums. So, though it's hard to quantify this number right now, there are myriad resources to help you find start-ups based on your specific interests. And a lot of the students I've met with to help find start-ups, as well as those who I've worked with on other projects, have successfully pursued internships and full-time opportunities in start-ups, when they've been committed to the search.
SKurn: Hi, my question is mostly tailored toward Laura and Stephanie. As people without much direct prior entrerpeneurial and venture capital experiences, how has Booth guided you toward these fields? Also, from a career perspective, have you found the venture job market welcoming to those with your background? Have Booth's resources and alumni network helped tremendously?
Laura: SKurn, I came in knowing I wanted to get experience in both entrepreneurship and venture capital. When I got here, I made sure to let everyone know what I was interested in - faculty, staff and other students. Once I did that, people were more than willing to provide introductions to really knowledgeable people and they also gave me plenty of advice. The venture job market is competitive and the desired skill set really depends on what each firm is investing in at that time. If you do your homework on the firms to learn what they are up to, you can start to understand how your background applies specifically to each case. For example, if a venture firm were investing in a company that sells to commodity traders my background as gasoline trader with BP would be a perfect fit. In addition, persistence helps. I know people who were turned down for venture jobs initially but implemented the feedback they were given and then managed to secure an internship in venture capital.
Clearline: If you look at the largest or most active private equity funds in hiring Booth grads over the past few years, can you name a few that actively recruit graduates?
Sarah: Hi Scott. I can do even better. Each year we track where our students have gone for full-time and internship opportunities (by location, function, industry, and other criteria). Within this Employment Report, we also keep a master list of all the companies who have recruiter Chicago Booth talent. You can find that list here: http://www.chicagobooth.edu/employmentreport/employer.aspx If you select the "View all 2009 employers" link, you'll be able to see the full list. Note that the data is dated 2009 - noting the end of the 2009 academic year. Information for the 2010, charting where our recent grads and current second year students went, is still being finalized.
backtoschool__Guest_: Do many startups recruit on campus? How does Career Services make Booth students available to these companies?
Kirsten: Given the nature of start-up hiring, typically just in time and given they are often looking to hire only 1-2 interns recruiting on campus typically doesn't make sense or is the best option, most will recruit off campus. However, we do have many relationships with start ups both through Career Services and Polsky so there will be start ups that will post their position through Career Services which students can access/ apply to (and will interview off campus). Additionally, there will be start up firms interested in identifying students interested in working for a start up with a particular background/experience, etc. and we will do resume referrals of candidates that meet their qualifications. There is also an Entrepreneurship Resume Book that students will include their resume in and we will market and provide to firms.
G-255408469: Proffesor Deutsch, how competitive is registration process for your new venture lab class? Do all students who want to join the class have the opportunity to do so?
Waverly: One of our weaknesses here at Booth's entrepreneurship program (yes, we do have them) is naming classes. We have a New Venture Lab where students work directly with small companies on a critical business challenge taught by Professor Linda Darragh that is not application based - you bid for it and send in your preference for project. My class, Building the New Venture is taught five times a year by myself and several additional times by Professor Craig Wortmann. While it is not cheap in terms of bidding points, you will have every opportunity to get into either or both of the classes during your two years here at Booth.
EG: How important is it for someone applying to Booth to have had prior experience in an entrepreneurial venture?
Bryce: Good question! Having prior entrepreneurial experience is certainly not required to apply. We look at your overall application holistically and don't rely only on prior work experience. If that's an area of interest to you, I think it's important to show your passion and drive for those types of ventures and link that to our program offerings. Hopefully this is helpful!
dn: What are the payoffs of being in the VC and entrepreneurship track? What is the career growth? What are the risks?
Scott: In order to pursue a VC or entrepreneurship track, you really have to be committed. While most students pursuing consulting or banking get internships during the winter quarter, students pursuing entrepreneurship or venture capital usually don't secure an internship until the spring quarter. In pursuing these areas, you'll have to be comfortable taking the risk of not having an internship or full-time position until later in the year. Additionally, it's difficult to pursue both entrepreneurship/VC as well as more traditional career routes. From my personal experience, I can say that pursuing the entrepreneurial route has been extremely rewarding and while my career may have less line of sight on a year-to-year basis, I will be a part of growing businesses for a long time to come.
Bistra: Post-MBA, I am interested in working in non-profit management for a few years and then, hopefully, start my own social venture at some point. I know that the Management Consulting Group at Booth provides a lot of recruitment support to students interested in consulting jobs. However, does it also cater to students specifically interested in non-profit consulting? Thank you.
Stephanie: Yes, there is definitely support for students looking to work in non-profit consulting. I am actually headed to work full-time at The Bridgespan Group after graduation, and another popular non-profit consulting firm for students here is the Civic Consulting Alliance. The Management Consulting Group helps by helping to connect students with these firms, as well as with the social practices within for-profit consulting firms. They also provide interview preparation.
John: Do you know anyone pursuing a joint MPP at Harris and MBA at Booth?
Nikhil: Yes, I know a number of students pursuing dual degrees with Booth and another professional schools. If you are specifically interested in hearing what MBA/MPP students have to say, read through a past chat with Adam Cox here: http://www.chicagobooth.edu/fulltime/chat/transcript/2010-02-23.aspx
backtoschool: Does Booth approach startups to take part in the EIP or do companies approach Booth looking for students?
Starr: This is a good question about the EIP; the answer is both. We do approach start-ups to bring on interns from our EIP program, however, many start-ups (particularly in Chicago) are aware of the EIP program and call us to post opportunities to our EIP students. Students also have the flexibility with the EIP to source their own internship. Most entrepreneurs are thrilled to have an MBA intern for the summer whose compensation is subsidized by their school!
SUV: Professor Deusch, this one's straight at you :). I work in consulting, and plan to launch my own social venture after my MBA. My questions are - Are there any prerequisites to taking your class? and How difficult to obtain are interships in social enterprises?
Waverly: Right back at you, SUV. There are two pre-requisites for taking my class - basic marketing and basic finance. If your work experience warrants, I will waive them. As to your second question, we have two great opportunities for you. One - we have a social enterprise lab class with Professor Linda Darragh in which you do a ten week consulting project with a social venture. Two - we reserve spots in our Entrepreneurial Summer Internship program specifically for students who want to do that the summer between first and second year.
SUV: Sorry about that earlier post, lost my connection mid-way. I'd like to know how involved Booth alumni are in guiding/mentoring those with entrepreneurial ambitions?
Laura: SUV, Booth alumni have been really responsive in helping me with my start up ventures. As you might expect, e-mails from unknown people often get lost in the shuffle, so getting a reference from a Polsky staff member or faculty member really helps. In the process of launching my New Venture Challenge business my team and I spoke to over 100 experts in the field, and about half of them were alumni. In fact, one alumnus agreed to serve on our advisory board and spent hours a week with us honing our business model.
andrewevans: How strong are Booth's connections with startups outside the Chicago area?
Waverly: Andrew, while most of our community investment is in Chicago and the Midwest region, our entrepreneurial alum are everywhere. I spoke recently at a meeting for our entrepreneurship alum in DC, for example. That keeps our contacts fairly robust. We have built a database of all our entrepreneurial alum in the Polsky Center. Our summer internship program allows students to work with any start-up anywhere and we can help you network to people in the geography you are interested in. Finally, we are in the process of building a "Polsky Center West" incubator in the San Francisco area.
nikolay_kuzmin_1: Hi, I have a question to Starr, if I may. I have read in your biography that you had organized Alternative Energy Venture Forum in 2007. Could you, please, provide some information about entrepreneurial opportunities in clean tech sector in Chicago? How Booth assists students interested in clean tech sector?
Starr: Hi Nikolay - great question. We are actually just a week away from our 4th annual Midwest Energy Forum (the name has changed slightly) and graduate student Energy Forward conference. At this year's Forum we will be awarding over $130,000 in prize money to the top clean tech entrepreneurs (the finalists are in a range of sectors including solar, smartgrid, and energy efficiency); the governor of Illinois will be presenting the awards. The clean energy sector in Chicago is really taking off right now, and Booth is highly involved in the community. We have direct relationships with start-ups, NPOs, NGOs, and policymakers who are working in this sector. Many of our students get greentech internships during the school year or over the summer through our Clean Tech Lab or through the Entrepreneurial Internship Program. The energy student group is also a great resource at Booth and holds very valuable speaker events and lunch and learns. One quick additional thing - the University of Chicago manages Argonne National Laboratory where innovative clean technology research in a variety of sectors is being done.
G-255423951: Hi. I am wondering about the typical post-mba career path of students graduating from the entrepreneurship program. Ultimately I want to be an entrepreneur but realize that I will probably not have the wherewithal to do so. I am hoping to land a position with a top VC firm after I obtain my MBA and then become an entrepreneur. Is this typical of students within the program?
Kirsten: Students who are interested in entrepreneurship will pursue multiple career paths depending on their long term goals, etc. Some will decide to start their own business, go work for a start up, work in PE or VC, or take the more traditional path and work for a corporate firm in a given industry, consulting firm, etc. to continue to enhance their skills and expertise in a given area. I would say that more typically students will do the opposite of what you are indicating, they might get an internship in VC but then realize that getting more experience working in the entrepreneurial space, either for a start up/ their own business or getting further domain expertise in a given industry will help them transition into VC long term and be a more effective venture capitalist.
flyguy: Can anyone help me better understand what it means to study Entrepreneurship? How does one (Booth) go about it?
Waverly: One of the most common questions asked in academia is "Can entrepreneurship be taught? Aren't people just born entrepreneurs?" Entrepreneurship is a process - opportunity identification, resource acquisition, value creation, sales, growth - and like any process it can be taught. We teach it through cases, frameworks, theory, data, and a lot of experiences. But, not everyone will be a great entrepreneur just because they study it. There is a capacity, talent, inclination, drive element to entrepreneurship just as there is in any career. You can teach basketball. You can't make someone a great basketball player. How come no one ever asks "Can you really teach accounting? I mean isn't someone just born with an affinity for numbers and seeing the world in dollars and transactions?"
John: Does social entrepreneurship including those looking at public sector focused ventures, not just non-profit or NGO work?
Stephanie: Absolutely! Students interested in social entrepreneurship work in non-profit organizations, for-profit companies, public sector agencies, foundations, and other places where they find they can use apply their business skills to have social impact. Specifically with regard to your question on public sector focused ventures, a good example is the Renaissance Schools Fund (RSF), a $40 million venture fund in Chicago focused on improving the city's public schools. We do consulting programs for them as part of the Social Entrepreneurship Lab class, and RSF also recruits for full-time jobs at Booth.
kw: Hi all, I would like to pursure Entrepreneurship in the longterm but would need a job prior to that to pay off loans, build capital etc. so how would you recommend balancing entrepreneurial studies at the Polsky center with the traditional finance and startegy courses ?
Laura: kw, a lot of students are interested in entrepreneurship longer term (in fact, a study of Booth alums showed a peak in entrepreneurial activity about 6-8 years after graduation). The good news is that it's easy to get involved at whatever level fits you best. Since you'll be pursuing finance, you'll be busiest during the winter quarter. One thing you could do is participate on another person's New Venture Challenge team, which is most intense in the spring quarter. This will let you experience entrepreneurship firsthand without spending all your time on it. In addition, once you are ready to move into entrepreneurship full time, the week long Hapak Alumni seminar exposes recent Booth graduates to all the best entrepreneurship-related information.
G-255427123: Are applicants with Entrepreneurship as a focus evaluated differently than candidates who intend to study more traditional concentrations?
Bryce: No, an applicant's prior work focus is only one component of the entire application. We review all materials holistically and compare that to the overall competitiveness of the applicant pool. Certain concentrations are not weighed more heavily than others.
Michael: Given that a large part of Venture Capital involves counseling and advising startups, Nikhil can you talk about your experience of being a Teaching Assistant in terms of how you obtained such a position, what you have learned, etc.
Nikhil: VC does involve counseling and advising start-ups, however my role as a TA is a little different. I ensure that students have a basic toolkit to do well in their PE Lab internships. This involves creating review sessions so students understand how to value a business, how to research an industry, and how to put together a investment deck for a partner. I obtained the position by enjoying the class, and I spent a lot of time preparing for the final presentation to VC partners defending an investment. I also showed interest!
Mike: Hello everyone, are there any classes geared for students who are trying to grow web based companies?
Laura: Mike, Groupon investors Brad Keywell and Eric Lefkofsky are teaching Building Internet Start Ups this quarter, which is a new class and sounds like it would be a perfect fit for you. Technology Strategy is another one you might want to check out.
nikolay_kuzmin_1: How challenging is to get into private equity without having prior experience in investment banking or consulting? How one can increase chances of getting invited for interview with PE firm and secure summer internship?
Sarah: Nikolay, without investment banking or consulting experience, you can tap into what experience you do have when searching for, networking with, and applying to PE firms. i.e. if you've worked in high-tech firms in the past, finding PE firms that invest in high-tech firms is a great place to leverage your experience and use the knowledge you have.
Justin: Can you talk more about Polsky Center West?
Starr: Hey Justin - good question! Polsky Center West was started by a group of young alums who are all launching companies in San Francisco. They went in on a joint lease for office space, and several other start-ups have moved in to the building since that time. When entrepreneurship faculty are on the west coast to speak or meet with alumni, they stop by Polsky West. In addition students usually make Polsky West a destination during the start-up trek organized by the entrepreneurship and venture capital student group.
Doruk: Hi everybody. Which concentration is preferred generally by students with VC related goals? Finance or entrepreneurship?
Scott: Doruk - I would say it varies, but you're intuition is correct. That being said, there are a number of ways to secure a VC position and you wouldn't be limiting yourself by pursuing other concentrations. Both finance and entrepreneurship provide a good base to work from however.
Stephanie: Thanks for all of your great questions today! Good luck to all of you, and please don't hesitate to reach out if I can help by answering any other questions.
Waverly: What a great set of questions you all brought to the table today. I look forward to get such thought provoking inquiry in my classes over the next couple of years.
Bryce: Thanks so much for all your questions today! Hopefully you found the session helpful!
Diana: Hi! How feasible is it for students who don't come from a very finance-driven background (more operational) to get into VC/PE? Will these firms consider different backgrounds and even those who have experience with family/own business?
Kirsten: It can depend on the firm and depending on if you are pursuing VC vs. PE there are different backgrounds/ experience firms will value. However, having strong operational skills or strategy experience, domain expertise and working for your own business are qualities valued especially with VC firms.
Scott: Thanks everyone for participating in the chat! I hope you make your way to Hyde Park!
Starr: These were great questions! Thank you for participating on the chat. I hope to see you in the Polsky Center in the future!
Laura: Thanks all, great chatting with you today.
Sarah: Thanks, everyone. Great chatting with you today.
Kirsten: It has been great chatting with all of you and let us know if you have further questions to help in your decision process.
Moderator: Thank you for participating in our live chat! The chat has now ended. You can read a transcript of this chat within 48 hours at http://www.chicagobooth.edu/fulltime/chat
Nikhil: It was great chatting with all of you. Hope you all enjoy Booth as much as I have!