Full-Time MBA Student Profile Sara Raffa, ’16
Working in the startup space, New York
Hometown: Potomac, MD
Education: Georgetown University, Bachelor of Science in Accounting & Marketing
Before Booth: Risk Assurance Senior Associate
2015 Internship: Working on my startup, Eislee, through The Polsky Center Accelerator Program
Sara Raffa: 00:03
I always wanted to start my own company. I saw business school as a great opportunity to get the mentorship I needed to be able to launch my own startup. When I came to school, I had a list of probably a dozen different ideas that I wanted to explore. I went to Polsky Center and talk to some people there. They gave me some very concrete steps as to what action I should take. It was important for me to have social impact intertwined within whatever business I did. The Peru idea specifically came up last May when I was there with my family. I realized it was a really cool opportunity to not only introduce alpaca to the US market, but also to really help the people there. One of our Booth friends who’s from Peru, he knew someone that happened to work in impact investing, and is working with an alpaca cooperative.
Sara Raffa: 00:45
He made that connection. Eislee creates scarves and other apparel made from alpaca yarn, which is sourced from low-income communities. I’m really happy with my decision here because I think the entrepreneurship resource has been amazing. Everyone at Booth has been incredibly supportive of everything we’ve done for our business. I actually met my partner for Eislee the first day, and became really close friends pretty immediately. We applied to Polsky’s accelerator program. That’s basically a summer-long, 10-week program where we work on our idea every single day. We have coaches and mentors to help us through. No matter what stage of your business you’re in, there’s people there that can help you. The mentors, the network, it’s really invaluable to have a connection to literally anything you could possibly imagine. If there’s ever a different career path that you wanted to explore, there’s someone you could reach out to you to help you get there.
Professor Waverly Deutsch helped me take my start-up idea from conception through its first hypothetical 18 months in her Building the New Venture class.
My Advice to Anyone Considering Business School
Pursue what you are interested in, not what everyone else is doing, even if it may be riskier.