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Entrepreneurship at Booth

Entrepreneurship at Booth - Thursday, February 25, Noon - 1 p.m. CST

Join us for a live chat about entrepreneurship at Booth. Current students and staff from the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Career Services, and Admissions will be on hand to answer your questions. Ask about resources and opportunities that are available to students who would like to pursue careers in entrepreneurship, private equity, venture capital, and social entrepreneurship. Learn about recruiting, competitions, curriculum choices, student groups, and more!

From -> To Message
Moderator -> Everyone Welcome everyone. Thank you for participating in our chat. The chat will begin in 20 minutes. Please feel free to submit your questions at any time.
Moderator -> Everyone Welcome to our chat. As a reminder, the live chat is intended to help answer your questions about entrepreneurship at Booth.
Bhavik -> Everyone Hey everyone - my name is Bhavik and thanks for joining the chat! Can't wait to answer your questions so don't be shy!
Meghan F. -> Everyone Hi all, and thanks for joining this chat! My name is Meghan Fisher, and I work at the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation where I manage programs having to do with technology commercialization, customer development, and user-centered design. I'm looking forward to your questions about entrepreneurship!
Conor -> Everyone Hey everyone! Let's get this party started!
Erika -> Everyone Hi everyone, Erika Mercer here! I work in the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, where I manage programming and events in private equity and venture capital. Look forward to your questions!
Kirsten -> Everyone Hi everyone, I'm Kirsten Nelson, a Career Coach in Career Services. I look forward to answering some of your questions!
David R. -> Everyone Hi everyone - my name is David. I'm a 2nd year at Booth and am launching my own business this year. Excited to meet all of you and help answer your questions!
Moderator -> Everyone Our chat has now begun. We look forward to answering your entrepreneurship-related questions at this time.
Justin G. -> Everyone Hello everyone and welcome! Looking forward to answering your questions!
Katlin -> Everyone Welcome to the chat! My name is Katlin, I own Simple Mills, a baking mix company, based here in Chicago. I started Simple Mills just before coming to Booth. It's grown tremendously in the past year and a half - I can talk about some of the resources that helped me get there.
Jennifer F. -> Everyone Hi everyone! My name is Jennifer and I am a second-year. Before Booth I was a consultant and I am going into VC after graduation. Look forward to chatting with you!
JessCT -> Meghan F. Hello, thank you for taking the time to discuss the Entrepeneurship program at Booth! I was wondering whether Booth itself provides seed capital for new ventures or if it's sourced 100% from third parties? If it's sourced from third parties, what affiliates does the program have that can provide financial/technical support i.e. programmers?
Meghan F. -> JessCT Hi Jess: We have a few programs that provide funding to start-ups. Please see the: New Venture Challenge/Social New Venture Challenge, Polsky Accelerator Program, and the i-Corps program. In some cases, we work with sponsors who provide funding for us to give to students, but that money is then funneled through Booth and the Polsky Center for the purpose of our programs. The University has also developed a new fund, the Innovation Fund, to invest directly in university ventures as "proof of concept" funding. In the case of the NVC/SNVC - the program gives awesome exposure to judges and mentors who are PE and VC investors from all over the country. Oftentimes, successful completion of these programs is the first step to outside investment.
jackwang -> Conor @Conor, how did his startup take advantage of whatever resources there are in Booth and the Chicago city?
Conor -> jackwang Hey Jack! When I started Activid, the Polsky Center at Booth and Chicago's broader entrepreneurship community were both very helpful. Through Polsky, I was able to get a fair number of introductions to mentors and other people who could help me launch a business. More broadly, resources like 1871 (the big startup incubator in Chicago) are a great place to network with other entrepreneurs/mentors, pitch your idea, and get helpful feedback.
kabirimr -> Erika I was wondering if the NVC program/ecosystem accommodates start-ups intended for emerging/non-developed markets?
Erika -> kabirimr Thanks for your question! Yes, the NVC has included many companies focused on emerging markets. We offer tracks of the program for both traditional ventures and social ventures, depending on how your start-up is structured and financed. Many of the start-ups we've worked with that have focused on emerging markets have participated in the Social NVC. In fact, last year's winner of the Social NVC, Hello Tractor, rents tractors to small farmers in Nigeria. You can read more here: http://research.chicagobooth.edu/nvc/social-nvc-winners.aspx#winners!year2014.
CarolinaCamargo -> Bhavik I am interested in entepreneurship and would like to know what resources the school offers for someone who has a business idea and would like to further develop it during the mba
Bhavik -> CarolinaCamargo Hey there - that's a great question and Booth has a lot of different resources. If you have a concept but need to actually start working on it, the first year - between the EVC Group, Polsky, and Booth - offers a lot of structured ways to work on it. We also have a lot of relationships with Chicagoland groups as well as new UChicago organizations (such as the CIE) that can help you get things off the ground. Once you're up and moving, the networks and mentoring really come into play. That's the stage I'm in and being able to tap into a group of experience entrepreneurs has been very helpful
Calvin_Hohener -> Jennifer F. Question for Jennifer: from your bio it looks like you have past and current experience in the healthcare space, are you pursuing an additional cert. via the Graduate Program in Health Administration and Policy? And if so, can you speak to how that's effected your experience?
Jennifer F. -> Calvin_Hohener Hi Calvin. I am pursuing the GPHAP certificate but am likely not going to complete it due to a conflict with a required class in my last quarter. I think it is a great program to meet other graduate students interested in healthcare. Especially because healthcare is so multi-disciplinary...you can't really think about healthcare only from a business perspective, and GPHAP is a great way to connect with others interested in healthcare from a policy, medical, legal, etc. way
Jesse -> Kirsten What type of pre-mba internships are available, if any, in the venture capital or private equity industry?
Kirsten -> Jesse Hi Jesse, similar to working in the VC and PE industry finding pre-MBA internships is possible, but people will typically find these through being very proactive, networking and using their own personal network to make connections. This isn't a pre-requisite to get into the industry, but building experience can certainly help.
belen.bazano -> David R. Hi everyone! Does Booth offer opportunities/channels for people that want to explore entrepreneurship but do not necessarily have a business idea? For instance, matching students with ideas to other students
David R. -> belen.bazano Hi Belen! A lot of people come to Booth without ideas and end up launching their own businesses. Booth provides a TON of resources for this situation. The Polsky Center and the EVC group put on several types of programming that help people come up with ideas, test ideas or find people to work with. Some specific examples include our Startup Weekend and the multiple pitch events that are organized in the fall and winter. There are also opportunities to work with people in the University of Chicago ecosystem (i.e. researchers, doctors, etc.) that have ideas, but need businesspeople to help them.
Ross_I -> Meghan F. How is the Polsky Center helping students connect with Booth's diverse student body or even within UChicago's various disciplines or alumni? For example, how can a business student with an idea partner up with a computer scientist or design student/alumni to launch a business?
Meghan F. -> Ross_I Hi Ross - great quesiton! One of my specific roles in the Polsky Center is to help bridge the "silos" at the university so that we can bring complementary teams together to solve problems. As a result, we run networking events between computer science students, university reserachers and technologists, etc - to try to build relationships based on common interests and needs. If you're interested, you can see that the Computer Science department has a cool job board for posting entrepreneurship and internship opportunities, too. Our students have had a lot of success posting here: https://jobboard.cs.uchicago.edu/
Jennifer F. -> Everyone Also to Calvin - from a curriculum perspective, most MBAs only take two of their GPHAP courses outside of Booth and take the other two within Booth, through classes like Entrepreneurial Selling or New Venture Strategy. So the curriculum is as applicable as you choose to make it (like many things at Booth). But I personally think the best part of the program is the opportunity to meet non-Boothies at U of C.
Alan -> Meghan F. Hi just wanted to say thanks for hosting this chat! I am interested in being an entrepreneur in the digital media space (particularly with apps), and I wanted to ask what resources does Booth provide to help someone who wants to pursue this path?
Meghan F. -> Alan Hey Alan - nice to meet you. Polsky helps run a great program: https://appchallenge.uchicago.edu/ that helps teach people about low-fidelity prototyping, user feedback, and customer interviews specifically apps. This is a really cool cross-campus program that people from all over campus (doctors, etc) compete in. We were proud a Booth student won last year. In addition to things like the App Challenge, there are a lot of mentors and entrepreneurs we can connect you with who have previously worked on (or are currently working on) application-based businesses - and we work hard to connect those dots.
Max_Rodman -> Justin G. Hi all! I was wondering if you could speak to your respective experiences balancing school work, social life, and working on your ventures? Do you find that it is difficult to devote as much time to everything as you would like, or have you been able to dedicate yourself as much as you would like to each?
Justin G. -> Max_Rodman Hi Max, there is certainly a balancing act with school work, social life and working on a new venture. While you may need to make sacrifices in certain areas, it is all doable and several Booth students successfully manage all three very well.
Norm -> Katlin Katlin, congrats on your business. You said that you started your company before coming to Booth. What resources at Booth have helped you to grow or improve your business?
Katlin -> Norm Hi Norm, I've been able to use a whole host of resources to help grow Simple Mills - from network connections to classes, to PR. The school has been immensely helpful in connecting me with potential investors and other people in the industry. My classmates have connected me to major grocery buyers too. Outside of connections, the classes have been incredibly valuable - negotiations, entrepreneurial selling, financial accounting... the list goes on - I use the classes in my work everyday.
Oscar -> Bhavik Hello, thank you for this chance to connect with all of you. I think I have a question for each of you! First of all, my background is in Investment Banking in Venezuela and my intention is to migrate to Private Equity in the short run and become an entrepreneur later in life. I believe my first question would be, how can I become involved with the Polsky Center in order to leverage my time at Booth? Furthermore, I feel that I have a lot of business ideas but are a little raw. What type of activities are available to brainstorm and build on ideas with the help of the community?
Bhavik -> Oscar Hi Oscar - you can be as involved with the Polsky center as you would like. You can either do that by attending their events (they host events almost on a weekly basis) or taking a formal role within the Entrepreneurship community such as becoming an EVC cochair. If you have a concept but need to actually start working on it, the first year - between the EVC Group, Polsky, and Booth - offers a lot of structured ways to work on it. We also have a lot of relationships with Chicagoland groups as well as new UChicago organizations (such as the CIE) that can help you get things off the ground. Once you're up and moving, the networks and mentoring really come into play. So it really comes down to what you want out of that experience and those relationships - but they're a wonderful organization that has helped a lot of entrepreneurs out in different ways!
Karandeep -> Conor Hi. I have a couple of years of entrepreneurial experience. How can I make use of the flexible curriculum at Booth to successfully apply for the Booth Entrepreneurial Internship program?
Conor -> Karandeep EIP is a program that sponsors students who work on their own startup or for a another startup during the summer. Booth's flexible curriculum would allow you to take more entrepreneurship-focused courses in your first year to learn about e-ship from an academic perspective. Or, for someone like who has prior e-ship experience, perhaps you could choose other courses that fill in some other gaps in your skill set to better prepare you for an entrepreneurial internship over the summer. That's what's great about Booth's flexible curriculum - which courses you take are really up to you!
Heather_Lee -> Jennifer F. I have a question for Jennifer. How has Booth helped you with the transition from consulting to VC investing? What resources were most useful?
Jennifer F. -> Heather_Lee Heather - I absolutely could not have made the transition without Booth. In fact, I tried to do it before applying to school and was unsuccessful! There are so many helpful resources. First - the curriculum. Taking classes like Entrepreneurial Finance & Private Equity, Commercializing Innovation, New Venture Strategy, etc. taught me about the world of VC and how to think like a VC. Second - the activities and opportunities. I've participated in PE/VC lab where I had the chance to work at a VC fund part-time, participated in SPITC (an investment thesis project), participated in the Venture Capital Investment Competition, and the list goes on. Third - the network. My job ultimately came from a professor introducing me to a Booth alumni who is starting his own healthcare-focused VC fund. The network of Booth professors, alumni, and other students is unbeatable!
rchambe1 -> Meghan F. Thanks for hosting this! Can anyone talk about the connection between U of I and Booth? I have seen some blog posts on entrepreneurial opportunities there.
Meghan F. -> rchambe1 Hi rchambe1 - Great question! Our relationship with the University of Illinois comes from a desire to strengthen the entrepreneurial landscape in Illinois and also take advantage of the opportunity to pair the best minds in business and entrepreneurship with one of the leading engineering programs in the country. This is a new partnership that is growing by leaps and bounds - but to give you an anchor, this year, we bussed booth students down to UIUC to attend a product design/electrical engineering course and pair up with students. Booth students were able to pitch their own ideas in hopes students would work on it and build a prototype (this has happened), pair of with teams to act as a business lead and do market research, and generally learn about product development. UIUC students are getting a great opportunity to learn about the start-up community in Chicago and learn how to develop engineering ideas that will make a real impact in the world.
Calvin_Hohener -> Bhavik General question: how have you shaped your course curriculum to suit your entrepreneurial ambitions, given that Booth's curriculum is so flexible?
Bhavik -> Calvin_Hohener Hey Calvin - great question. The flexibility means I get to focus on knowledge, not certifications. I've really looked at courses that will push me to not only fill general knowledge areas (e.g. corporate finance will be important at some point in my career!) but also really focus in on entrepreneurial coursework - some is tactical (e.g. Ent. Selling) and some is higher level (e.g. New Venture Strategy). Looking back, every class I've taken has made a material impact on my business and that's been wonderful to see.
Marine -> David R. Hello everyone! Thanks for taking the time to discuss the Booth Entrepreneurship program. I would like to know how Booth helped you launch your own businesses (this question is probably for Katlin and David) and I also would like to know if you had your business idea before joining Booth.
David R. -> Marine Hi Marine! I'm in both camps. I came into Booth with a business, ended up shutting it down and am now launching another business. I can't begin to tell you the myriad ways that the school helps launch businesses. In respect to the idea I am working on now, I've taken the idea through five different classes at Booth, which have allowed me to work with numerous classmates and get their help within the context of a specific class (i.e. Marketing Research, Entrepreneurial Selling, Building the New Venture). Further, my classmates and the Polsky center have helped connect me to SO many people. Since we have run the business through so many classes, a lot of classmates are aware of what I am doing and will connect me to people that might be of value.
Lizzie -> Erika Hi! Thank you for taking the time to chat. I know there's been a lot of hype around the Polsky Center. Could you explain a bit about the resources it provides? Thanks!
Erika -> Lizzie Hi Lizzie, the Polsky Center has a TON of resources, both formal and informal. We have various competitions and programs designed to help students develop their own business ideas and launch companies (check out the New Venture Challenge, the Accelerator Program, and our Entrepreneurial Essential series), and we also offer resources for students who want to join a team or work for an existing start-up (Entrepreneurial Internship Program, New Venture Lab, Social Enterprise Lab). On the investment side, we have programs to give students experience in PE or VC (PE/VC Lab, Investment Thesis Challenge, Venture Capital Investment Competition, etc.). We also offer more informal resources - for example, we have several entrepreneurs-in-residence, who offer one-on-one meetings with students to advise them on their career paths, business models, etc., and the staff is always available to meet and answer questions, as well. We see ourselves as a life-long resource, so we work with a lot of alumni, too!
CarolinaCamargo -> Bhavik Thank you Bhavik! Do you think the school is focused only on the US market or does it have resources and expertise that will help students who want to open their start up in emerging markets as well?
Bhavik -> CarolinaCamargo Hi Carolina, you're welcome! Booth's network globally is really powerful both while you're here and after you leave. The Polsky Center maintains relationships with not only alumni, but meaningful entrepreneurs and VCs in these regions as well. So no matter where you're trying to go - you're really only an introduction or so away from a connection that'll help you move in the right direction.
ScottS -> Jennifer F. Hi panelists – thanks for taking the time to chat with us today! My name is Scott, and I'm a round 2 applicant that is currently working at a sports apparel startup in VA, with ambitions to launch my own in the energy sector post Booth. I have a number of questions, but I'll start by asking what non-obvious resources the Polsky Center offers. I know there are classes/labs focused on entrepreneurship, and that the center has networking events, speakers, and provides meeting space. What else?
Jennifer F. -> ScottS Scott, see my earlier response to Heather. I think a lot of the opportunities come through the activities facilitated by Polsky center. For example, they have "collaboratoriums" where non-business entrepreneurs can meet MBAs and talk about topics they are interested in. Last fall, I went to one and met a surgeon at UC Hospital who had an idea for an operating room software. I pulled another student in and now it's become a company! Polsky offers so much, you really can't go to it all, so it's about identifying the opportunites that are most exciting/relevant for you and going for it!
c_law -> David R. Speaking to the curriculum, what courses are required to "specialize" in Entrepreneurship at Booth?
David R. -> c_law There's a long list - here are some samples: http://www.chicagobooth.edu/programs/full-time/academics/curriculum/entrepreneurship. You need to take 4 of them, but there are more classes that qualify than are listed on that site.
ssank -> Katlin This is a question for Katlin--I learned about Simple Mills muffin mix from a friend here in Seattle, before I even knew it had origins in the Polsky center. Super cool. Anyways, I was interested in learning more about some of the resources the Polsky Center or Booth may offer to individuals who already had a company, idea, or passion and just need a push in the right direction. Thanks!
Katlin -> ssank That's amazing you found out about us in Seattle! There are loads of resources at Booth for helping you grow a business. In addition to helping make connections and the classes I mentioned previously, there are some resources available specifically in connection with the Polsky Center. The Polsky Center has a number of advisers involved who can help you develop your business plan, raise money, and even grow your team. The Polsky Center also works with the school to provide an EIP (Entrepreneurship Internship Program) to support entrepreneurs who want to work on a start-up for the summer. As well, we took part in the New Venture Challenge last year. This would a terrific resource for meeting investors, building my network in the Chicago community, and developing our plans as a business.
Lizzie -> Meghan F. Meghan - In your bio it talked about entrepreneurial design courses. That sounds so interesting. Do you actually get into design thinking, or is it more about creating products? What do those courses entail?
Meghan F. -> Lizzie Hi Lizzie! We do get into design thinking. This year, we offered two courses for credit in this area. In the fall, we offered, "Entrepreneurial Discovery" - which focused on using design methodologies to help understand if you have a good idea/better understand your user - and currently this quarter, a course called, "User-Centered Design for Entrepreneurs," is teaching students the fundamental methodologies of user-centered design, and they are working in teams to practice the skills and explore the design challenge of, "What is the future of higher education." In the second class mentioned, the point is to learn the methodologies and then be able to apply them to your own start-ups in the future. There is a lot of interest in design at Booth, and students do a great job meeting with firms in Chicago (IDEO, Gravitytank to name a few).
maxessoh -> Justin G. Hello and thank you for you time. Can you descrive how you have been able to leverage your booth network to advance your ventures?
Justin G. -> maxessoh Hello, the Booth network has been a huge help in advancing the startup culture at Booth. I have found that alumni are generally eager to help Booth students with introductions, technical advice and guidance in any way they can. In addition, several alumni speak at entrepreneurship events and hold coffee chats on campus.
aditya -> Conor Thanks everyone for taking the time today! I was hoping to understand what opportunities there are for internet startups
Conor -> aditya Hey Aditya - there a lots of opportunities for internet startups. Among them are Booth's New Venture Challenge (NVC) competition every spring, the Polsky Center, entrepreneurship classes that can help grow your internet startup, etc. It really depends on what you're looking for - feedback, mentoring, intros to investors, etc. Booth's resources can help with all of those!
peterdarch -> Bhavik Is there a pre-approved list of startups for the EIP program or is there an application process for getting a startup approved for Booth sponsorship?
Bhavik -> peterdarch Hey Peter - you can definitely get a startup approved for the EIP. If the company posts with Career Services, then they're pre-approved. But every year quite a few students find their own internships and walk them through the approval process (which is pretty simple) - so if there is a company you're interested in, you can absolutely work with Polsky to get them into the program
AlejandroCL -> Jennifer F. Hi everyone!! Thanks for hosting this chat session!! My question is for Jennifer. I am a R2 applicant intending to take both finance and entrepreneurship concentrations as you are. My question is: In your experience, does taking these 2 concentrations leave you time to say work on launching a personal start up project and to explore also other fields in other concentrations? Thank you!!!
Jennifer F. -> AlejandroCL Alejandro, I may get in trouble for saying this but the entrepreneurship concentration is pretty easy to get since it only requires 3 classes! I think something like 50% of our class ends up with the entrepreneurship concentration (although don't quote me on that statistic).
In general, I think most people take the classes they want to take and then see how the concentrations end up working out. For me, I was really interested in beefing up my finance skills, so the finance concentration almost came as a surprise when it showed up on my report!
Atri_C -> Erika Hello to the Booth team and thank you very much for organizing this live chat. I am an applicant with entrepreneurial ambitions, but maybe at a later stage in my career after I build a strong framework in terms of skills and network. Just wondering if and how Booth supports alumni who go down the route of entrepreneurship at later stages in their careers?
Erika -> Atri_C Hello! Yes, we have a lot of resources for alumni. In fact, a lot of the students we work with might not be ready to launch a company while they're at Booth, but they are interested in pursuing entrepreneurship later in their career. We do our best to be a resource at any stage in your career. One program we run is the Global Launchpad, a boot camp seminar for alumni who are working on start-ups: http://polskycenter.com/globallaunchpad/. Our entrepreneurs-in-residence also meet frequently with alumni to advise them on the businesses and career paths. Also, many of our larger events are open to alumni - for example, SeedCon, our annual entrepreneurship conference.
Monica_Chen -> Jennifer F. Hi everyone! Thanks for your time today. Jennifer - this question's for you. When you applied for the PE/VC lab, did you have any control of which company/sector you would work with?
Jennifer F. -> Monica_Chen Monica, yes, I did but it varies quite a bit with who you intern with. I did my internship with Hyde Park Angels - I actually worked there for 12 months which is longer than most of the PE/VC lab internships. It is a more structured organization since they take 4 students every year, so there is a process to choose your industry preferences.
P -> Justin G. Hi all, I was wondering if admission to the PE/VC lab required prior experience in those fields or in banking? I'm asking as someone who is looking to work in those fields but currently has no experience in them.
Justin G. -> P Hello - admission to the PE/VC Lab does not require experience in those fields or in banking. There are several students making a career switch who have had success with their host-firms through the PE/VC Lab.
Suresh -> Meghan F. Hello all. Thanks for your time. Can one of you throw light on the collaborative events (specific to entrepreneurship) between departments within booth and other universities in Chicago?
Meghan F. -> Suresh Hi Suresh, Booth and the Polsky Center have relationships with the University of Illinois (in Champagne Urbana) and the Institute of Design - a leading master's granting program for user-centered design. We run networking events, and provide opportunities for students to team up and use complementary skills in design, entrepreneurship, and engineering to solve problems and build start-ups. As for departments at the University - I run programs that connect technologists, researchers, and scientists on campus to Booth students. In many cases, these people are looking for students to help them understand if they can translate what they're working on into the world through entrepreneurship. In the past, students have created start-ups based on unviersity IP from these relationships. Additionally, there are definitely ways to network with computer science, students, etc, if you're looking to build out your team.
kabirimr -> Katlin Does Booth familiarize aspiring entrepreneurs to the process of acquiring seed capital from angel investors/VCs etc.?
Katlin -> kabirimr Hi Kabirimr, Absolutely! Going into Booth, I had very little knowledge of how to raise money and the different types of investors. There are courses that can help familiarize you with the different types of capital, as well as the New Venture Challenge, which puts you through the actual process of building decks, figuring out valuations, etc.
JessCT -> Jennifer F. Hi Jennifer, did you have the opportunity to partner with VCs to evaluate real business proposals submitted by entrepeneurs seeking investors/seed capital from them or from Booth directly or is the program more case study based?
Jennifer F. -> JessCT Jess, can you be more specific about which opportunity you are talking about? In class, we do case studies but they are often based off of Booth companies and/or our professor's prior investor lives. In my internships I had the chance to evaluate real businesses! Additionally, in VCIC, you are evaluating real business plans.
Richard_Watto -> Bhavik Hello everyone! Thank you for the opportunity to learn more about Booth and the Polsky Center. I have an existing start-up. Would I be able to tinker with my current business and grow it while attending booth, or are the resources at the Polsky center geared more towards launching new enterprises?
Bhavik -> Richard_Watto Hey Richard - I came to Booth with an existing business and while there is plenty of programming geared towards new venture launches, there are a lot of resources (most of which I've used) to grow existing companies as well. From mentorship to accelerators to network connections to the New Venture Challenge, you are not on your own with your own business.
bmcnam1016 -> Conor Conor, I see that you started Activid during your first year. What specific resources helped you the most in doing this and in what order did you take advantage of these resources? Just curious about your plan of attack as I'm sure you need to hit the ground running and it can be overwhelming with how many entrepreneurial resources there are.
Conor -> bmcnam1016 Great question. Activid was still just an idea when I first came to Booth. Courses like Building the New Venture and New Venture Strategy really helped me determine whether my idea could actually be a viable business. The professors gave me very helpful (and often blunt) feedback that forced me to think about the dynamics of my business model. Once I decided to dive in, Booth's Polsky Center was great at helping me find software development resources, mentors in a similar space, and continual feedback as I started attracting customers. This Spring, I'm hoping to participate in Booth's New Venture Challenge, which is a fantastic opportunity for students who have started their own business.
Gus -> Erika Hi All - this is Gus. Regarding PEVC lab, how competitive is it to get admitted to the lab? How many students apply and how many get accepted? Would the participating firms in 2015-2016 be different from those in 2014-2015?
Erika -> Gus Hi Gus, thanks for your question! The PE/VC Lab is one of the most popular programs in PE here at Booth. We do get a lot of applications, but we try to facilitate as many internships as possible. This year, about 35-40% of applicants secured internships, and we have over 50 firms participating. You can see this year's list on the Lab website: http://polskycenter.com/pelab/internship.html. Many of these firms participate every year, but we also have new firms that join from year to year. The list for next year will be similar but not identical. Feel free to follow up with me offline for more info on the Lab!
Navita -> David R. Hi everyone, I am coming to booth to expand my current venture. However, I faced a lot of business viability issues with my existing venture. I want to have a sound business plan before its expansion so that it is financially viable. How do you think booth can help in this specific area? Also, how do students contribute to booth's culture of innovation?
David R. -> Navita Hi Navita! There are several classes that you can take to help you vet the viability of your idea. Furthermore, your classmates will be a tremendous resource once you get here, as they will all be curious about what you are doing and will give you a ton of valuable feedback! To that point, once you arrive here, you'll see how much people want to contribute to innovative ideas and how exciting the atmosphere will be around entrepreneurship.
Okestra -> Meghan F. Hi everyone, My name is Babatunde Oke and i am a 2nd round applicant to the Chicago Booth class of 2017. How would like to know if you have resources to support entreprenuership ideas outside of the US, especially in developing countries like Nigeria
Meghan F. -> Okestra Hi Okestra - it's nice to meet you. At Booth, the business and entrepreneurship courses are taught in terms of the United States market, however, we have had several successful startups built to serve or operate in other markets. As example, the winner of last year's Social New Venture Challenge, Hello Tractor, works in Africa, and the co-winner of the New Venture Challenge operates in Peru. Through both of these programs, the students were able to work with faculty, mentors, and coaches who had expertise specific to these markets and find the support they needed. Here is the link to Hello Tractor's website if you're curious! http://www.hellotractor.com/
Marine -> David R. David, thanks for your response. Your experience is very interesting. I heard that there are great mentorship opportunities at Booth. Do you have a mentor that helped you through your entrepreneurial experience?
David R. -> Marine Hi Marine - I can't point to one specific person, but there are a handful of people (Polsky staff, Booth alums and industry folk) that have been acting as mentors throughout the process for me.
Diana -> Katlin Hello! I’m Diana and I interviewed and visited Booth recently. Simple Mills was actually mentioned during our info session. Could you tell us more about the resources that were beneficial in getting started, and about the steps you took to get from where you started to where you are?
Katlin -> Diana Hi Diana, Very neat! I would say the most important thing is getting started! As soon as I decided that I wanted to launch Simple Mills, I immediately started networking with other people around me who had done something similar. They helped me understand the first steps to get started for my particular business (finding a co-packer, registering the business, working on recipes, creating nutrition facts, etc.). That made the process much easier!
Kai_Sun -> Bhavik For students who intend to spend the summer working on their startup instead of intern at other companies, is there financial assistance from Booth available? What other help can they get from the school?
Bhavik -> Kai_Sun Hey Kai, there are two options available - both through the Polsky Center. The first is EIP where you can apply with your own business and they provide a stipend and office space to work on your business. The other is the Accelerator Program where, instead of the money coming to you, a larger amount is invested in your company and you are given space along with mentorship, resources, etc. Both are wonderful options and which is best for you depends on your personal requirements. I, for example, took advantage of the EIP program!
Jainesh -> Meghan F. I'm currently in the Booth waitlist, and if admitted, aiming to realize a social impact start-up that I've been planning. What would you say is the level of enthusiasm in the Impact Investor community in Chicago? Additionally, my idea is one with a long-gestation-period (concrete results in 5+ years)... how has the investor response been like for such startups, in your experience?
Meghan F. -> Jainesh Hi Jainesh - the level of enthusiasm in impact investing in Chicago is very high. Our partners at Booth's Social Enterprise Initiative (http://research.chicagobooth.edu/sei/) do a lot of awesome work in this area, and they also partner on the Social New Venture Challenge with the Polsky Center. Regarding your second question having to do with gestation - that's certainly someting that's difficult to answer in general and very often depends on the idea, team, and the market targeted. The SNVC would definitely help you refine a business model that makes the most sense and can be succesful!
Rafael_Guerra -> Jennifer F. Hello everyone. I'm a Mexican R2 applicant (already had my interview) I have a question for 2nd year students: Has anyone here taken courses within a U of Ch School different from Booth to take advantage of specialization opportunities across disciplines to help develop your business plan? If so, how did it work for you?
Jennifer F. -> Rafael_Guerra Hi Rafael - I am part of the GPHAP (healthcare certificate) program and took a class through them at Harris School of Public Policy. For me, it was especially helpful because healthcare is so interdisciplinary. You can't just think about it from a business perspective, you have to understand the underlying policy and regulatory environment so it was great to meet policy, law and medical students.
Monica_Chen -> Justin G. Do you have any specfic course favorites/recommendations to a career-switcher into private equity?
Justin G. -> Monica_Chen Hi Monica, my course recommendations for a career-switcher into private equity include: Entrepreneurial Finance and Private Equity, Private Equity Lab, Cases in Financial Management, Financial Statement Analysis and New Venture Strategy. I'm sure I'm forgetting a couple but I found all of those to be terrific.
Dean -> Katlin Hi and thanks for speaking with us. I was wondering what (if any) preparation you did in the lead up to attending Booth to make sure you got the most out of your time there?
Katlin -> Dean Hi Dean, I think the most important thing that you can do before coming to Booth is spending time reflecting on what you want to get out of your time at school. Do you want to launch a business? Do you want to build a strong network? Do you want to sharpen your analytical skills? And then once you get here, go after it!
Donnacha -> Conor Thanks for taking questions everyone. I am curious to know what each of you wanted to do after graduation and how your experience at Booth has solidified or changed your initial goal.
Conor -> Donnacha Coming into school, I wanted to either work on my own business or work for a medium-sized tech company after school. Now that I've started a business while at Booth, I've learned a lot about what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur. For me, it will be beneficial to learn more about how to grow a startup by working for a medium-sized company after school, so that's what I plan to do. At the same time, I will continue working on Activid.
nikhil -> Erika Hello team, thank you for the time today! At the NYC interview day, one of the alums mentioned that several of her entrepreneur friends participated in the Search Fund Group and found it to be a great experience. Could you tell me more about this group - is it an actual fund run by students?
Erika -> nikhil Hi Nikhil, thanks for your question! The search fund group has been growing in recent years and adding new programming and events each year. This year, they launched an annual fall-term conference, and they will be holding an "Investor Summit" in the spring, where several searchers from Booth will present to a room of search fund investors. The group itself does not have a fund but has connections to many investors in Chicago and beyond. The group hosts events to help searchers get resources and support as they search for, acquire, and operate a business. Also, we have a new course that is being offered this spring on Entrepreneurship through Acquisition, which will cover the life cycle of a search fund.
Richard_Watto -> Bhavik Thanks, Bhavik! Another question, how easy or difficult is it to obtain funding to launch a new enterprise? I know there are competitions and funding opportunities, but what are the odds of actually being awarded funding? It is important to me to be able to launch a business under the guidance of qualified mentors, and I want to make sure I have a good chance of doing so.
Bhavik -> Richard_Watto Hey Richard - you're very welcome. There are numerous resources available to help you as you navigate the funding landscape - from seminars to one-on-one sessions with VC professors. As for how easy or difficult - it's a very difficult thing to raise capital but it's certainly possible. Katlin, who is also on this chat, used Booth resources to raise her first round. Took some hard work but she got it done!
joshw -> Erika Hi all! Thanks for taking the time to chat. I currently work for a startup and want to spend 3-5 years in consulting before transitioning back to tech and launching my own company. Can you speak briefly about the opportunities/support Booth offers to alums looking to launch companies several years after graduation? Thanks!
Erika -> joshw Hi Josh! A lot of the students we work with are looking to acquire skills to start a business down the road (3-10 years after graduation). We offer resource at any stage in your career. Check out our program, the Global Launchpad, a boot camp seminar for alumni who are working on start-ups: http://polskycenter.com/globallaunchpad/. Also, our entrepreneurs-in-residence and our staff meet frequently with alumni to advise them on the businesses and career paths. We are a lifelong resource!
abhatt -> Meghan F. I currently work in healthcare finance and am hoping to use my Booth experience to join a team focused on making early stage digital health investments? Based on my conversations with current Booth students, there is a growing interest in digital health. How is Booth nurturing the growing interest in digital health and, more specifically, what opportunities are available for someone interested in data analytics?
Meghan F. -> abhatt Hi Abhatt, There are a lot of opportunities at Booth in data analytics. Certainly everyone here loves data-based decision making, so the culture here is very strong in that sense. Based on your interest specifically - we have student groups specific to technology, healthcare, and entrepreneurship - so you can quickly find a community of people interested in the same areas. Additionally, the Polsky Center runs programs to help introduce you to sciences on campus (some working in computation, others from the hospital. physical sciences, biological sciences, social sciences..etc) so that if you see IP or a research idea of interest, you can jump on the project. I know of several teams comprised of first-year students at Booth currently interested in this same topic - so whether you have your own idea or want to join a team and contribute your unique skill set - you will find many opportunities here.
Karandeep -> Jennifer F. How difficult is it to get the opportunity to work with Hyde Park Angels in case one is not looking towards a career in angel investing or PE/VC?
Jennifer F. -> Karandeep Karandeep, being honest it is a very competitive opportunity. Over 100 students apply for 4 positions. If you aren't very motivated to work in PE/VC, it will be tough to stand out among the crowd. That being said, most of the associates in my class at Hyde Park Angels are not pursuing PE/VC after graduation (for many reasons) - but they were very excited about it as a potential opportunity when we started.
lin.ji -> Meghan F. Hi, I'm interested in a career in clean energy investment. Are there any resources specifically focused on clean energy startups?
Meghan F. -> lin.ji Hi Lin.ji: Absolutely! Check out this awesome class full of experiential learning opportunities: http://www.chicagocleantech.com/
Marine -> David R. Hello again! I would like to know if most of the students who are interested in launching a business spend their summer working on their start-up or intern at other companies.
David R. -> Marine Marine - I think most of the students who are interested in launching their own business spend the summer working on that business. However, there are certain cases (like myself and a classmate of mine) in which the students will take traditional internships.
CarolinaCamargo -> Katlin I would like to know how studying/living in the chicago are has impacted the entrepreneurial opportunities you have had while at booth
Katlin -> CarolinaCamargo Carolina Camargo, Chicago is a wonderful place to be an entrepreneur. There are many, many investors in the area, great talent for when you need to grow your team, and many other entrepreneurs you can relate to. Within weeks of getting here, I was even able to join a small group of natural food entrepreneurs. I would also add that Chicago is quite affordable, which matters quite a bit when you're an entrepreneur!
Grace_(Naijun)_Yang -> Conor Hi Booth students and staff, thanks for hosting the chat. My name is Grace and I came from a finance background, and have recently transitioned to an entrepreneurship position doing strategy and business development. I wanted to ask about Chicago’s (the city) entrepreneur community. Could you talk about the opportunities to learn from active entrepreneurs in Chicago? What about visits to startups in other cities?
Conor -> Grace_(Naijun)_Yang Hi Grace! Chicago has a phenomenal entrepreneurship community, and many consider 1871 to be the hub. 1871 is a startup incubator that houses dozens of startups, hosts distinguished guest speakers, and can be utilized to network with other entrepreneurs. Booth has a very strong presence at 1871. Regarding your second question - each Fall, the Entrepreneurship & Venture Capital Group (EVC) sponsors a Startup Trek to San Francisco, where students get to meet with some of the biggest startups in the Bay Area.
Akshay -> Meghan F. Are there any experiential learning programs at Booth that help aspiring entrepreneurs learn the nuances of setting up and scaling ventures?
Meghan F. -> Akshay Hi Akshay - Absolutely. Experiential learning is one of our highest priorities and one of the best ways you can learn about entrepreneurship. As a first year student, we'd encourage you to attend extra-curricular sessions in a program called "Entrepreneurship Essentials" that happen weekly and discuss common issues and topics in entrepreneurship. It's a great way to build community as a new student. As your interest becomes more specific or you join/found a team - the New Venture Challenge, the Accelerator Program, and the i-Corps program are just a few opportunities that provide great learning opportunities. Additionally, there is a great course called "Building the New Venture" that teaches you about all of the steps to start a venture.
Grace_(Naijun)_Yang -> Kirsten Hi everyone, I also wanted to ask about summer internships at startups? I am interested in working in an early stage startup to gain more experience before starting my own venture. Could you describe the path in getting an internship and possibly a full time position at a startup during and post Booth?
Kirsten -> Grace_(Naijun)_Yang Hi Grace, there are many opportunities to connect with and find internship and full time opportunities at startups. Career Services and the Polsky Center host two Startup Networking Nights, one in the fall and another in the spring with 50+ startups that have specific interest in hiring students for internships, part-time opportunities during the school year, as well as full time opportunities. We also continuously have start-up opportunities that get posted and shared with students via our job postings system (GTS) as our employer development team is constantly meeting with new firms, startups, etc. that are interested in hiring talent. Additionally, many students will identify opportunities on their own through being very proactive and getting involved with the entrepreneurial community at Booth; this may include being a member and being involved in the Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Group which hosts speakers, events, etc. and will share opportunities with startups, attending Polsky events, other startup events in Chicagoland, etc.
Matt_N -> Bhavik Hi Bhavik, What type of training material does your education firm focus on?
Bhavik -> Matt_N Hey Matt - we're an admissions consulting firm - founded back in 2012!
ondrej.cabejsek -> Katlin Hi, I assume that the typical student goes into Booth knowing that he/she would like to do something entrepreneurial but are there many stories of people who were determined to go one direction but then just somehow joined one of the ventures in the making by being close to the scene? Where I am getting at - I know this is a growing community at Booth but is this a very open one? Thanks, Ondrej
Katlin -> ondrej.cabejsek Hi Ondrej, I'd say most of the booth companies have multiple booth students working for them that all met in school. I met our CFO in school and have watched many other businesses do the same thing. It's definitely the kind of environment where people mix, mingle, and start businesses together!
apz1107 -> Conor David (or others with early stage businesses) - What kind of advice do some of your mentors give regarding sticking with your start-up versus recommending a more 'corporate' path? Are there any classes/conversations regarding responsible risk taking?
Conor -> apz1107 There are definitely classes and professors who address the topic of responsible risk taking. Waverly Deutsch teaches a class called Building the New Venture where this exact issue is discussed at length. The advice professors give students is unique to each case, but they always help students think through their idea and their risk tolerance to determine if entrepreneurship is the right path. In the end, it really comes down to how passionate you are about your business, and how much effort you're willing to put in to make your business successful.
Kait -> Katlin Hi All! Thank you for taking time out of your day. Question: are there certain workshops or classes that address the tough decisions about working with a business partner, raising capital, developing business plans to scale a product/service, etc?
Katlin -> Kait Hi Kait, there are several that come to mind, but probably the best one would be "Building the New Venture." In this course, many different business problems are thrown at you and your start-up on a weekly basis - and you have to figure out how to solve them! It's a neat class.
nikhil -> Erika Thanks Erika! One more question: how many ventures started at Booth remain in the Chicago area versus relocating elsewhere? For those that relocate, how strong are the entrepreneur communities of Booth alumni in, for example, San Francisco and New York City?
Erika -> nikhil Hi Nikhil! Quite a few of our successful start-ups have remained in Chicago post-graduation - there is a really robust start-up community here with lots of resources for entrepreneurs, and it's a great city in terms of cost of living and quality of life. Some of our start-ups have also migrated to San Fran or NYC (some for personal reasons, some based on investor preference or specific company needs), and Booth has a strong alumni base in both of those cities. In fact, the Polsky Center holds dinners and other events for alumni in those geographies - we love to stay connected to our alums and get updates on their ventures!
Calvin_Hohener -> Conor Conor, you mentioned the Polsky Center facilitating you finding software development resources, can you speak a bit more to how that process worked?
Conor -> Calvin_Hohener Hey Calvin - it was really just having conversations with people at Polsky to understand what resources were available to me, both within University of Chicago and in the broader community. Once I identified my options, they were able to help make some introductions that eventually led to me finding a great partner.
JChen -> Bhavik Hello everyone, thanks for hosting the chat. As a follow-up to the questions about Chicago, can you also comment on the startup/venture ecosystem as it relates to funding/networking opportunities/talent, etc and what you think are the advantages/challenges? Did a lot of people who launched their companies at Booth end up staying in Chicago?
Bhavik -> JChen Hey JChen - there are three things I love about Chicago when it comes to entrepreneurship. For one, the scene is growing - quickly. This is one of the most exciting cities to be in sheerly because of the growth! But, despite that, it's still a very close knit community where you're only an introduction or two away from everyone. And lastly, UChicago is a center of gravity here and the network you can tap into is really strong both here as well as on either coast. So a journey that starts here doesn't need to stay here. But a lot of folks do choose to say because a) you stay close to UChicago and b) Chicago is a great city!
Navita -> Meghan F. Another question... On paper/website, most of the entrepreneurship labs of various schools look quite similar and offer similar courses/experiences. However, on softer touches, what do you think makes booth's entrepreneurship center special/ better than other esp kellogg's kiev/ other programs or other competitive schools
Meghan F. -> Navita Hi Navita - that's a great question. Some of the things that I think set us apart: 1) Entrepreneurship is tied with finance as the most popular contentration at Booth. There is a really strong culture not only led by the Polsky Center - but by the students themselves through clubs like the Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Club. Additionally, our clinical faculty have real experience in the field and teach what they know. Their connections to real-world entrepreneurs, alumni, and investors are incredibly strong. 2) Our entrepreneurship center (Polsky) does not compete with other entrepreneurship-focused centers from other disciplines at UChicago. We are fully integrated throughout the university, and we work closely with our partners across the university to provide a robust pipeline of programs and opportunities. 3) We've just opened an awesome incubator space in Hyde Park to specifically provide resources for later-stage startups: https://cie.uchicago.edu/ and 4) We have fantastic success stories from our graduates - certainly Grub Hub and Braintree are the best known due to their recent exits - but our alumni are very in touch, come back often, and given back to our current students. 5) The New Venture Challenge will celebrate it's 20th year next year. I don't think many other schools can point to such a robust program with a duration of proven success. Thanks for the great question, and good luck with your decision!
Johnny -> David R. Hello all, thank you so much for putting on this event. So UofChicago has definitely made quite the push toward expanding its student body to include more individuals interested in entreprenuership, and I think that's awesome! How does Chicago play into the greater entreprenuer scene? In particular have you all noticed a specific genre of start-ups that are particularly better-off in Chicago than anywhere else; or does the market there tend to favor more energy,tech,social initiatives, etc?
David R. -> Johnny Hi Johnny,

Thanks for the question! What's great about Chicago's entrepreneurial scene is the sense of community here. Whenever I meet entrepreneurs working in Chicago, they are ALWAYS supportive and want to make sure that other entrepreneurs succeed and stay in Chicago. If I was to highlight one particular industry, I would say that businesses that rely on sales forces (i.e. Grubhub, Groupon, Belly) tend to be more focused in the Midwest. Other than that, though, it seems like every industry is well represented in the startup community here.
kabirimr -> Kirsten Hi all, thanks for doing this, it's been really informative! I'm not sure what immigration issues arise for international graduates starting their own businesses in the US. Would anyone know anything about that, and how Booth supports them?
Kirsten -> kabirimr There are currently immigration issues in the US if you do want to stay in the US long term, and Booth like many other universities are continuing to lobby and trying to help change this within the US. Booth has many resources to help in connecting you with identifying a co-founder that can help in this process if they are domestic, as well as Booth can help you grow your business and connect with investors, etc. which if/ when your business hits a certain threshold then the immigration isn't as much of an issue. Currently it is very difficult, but there are a lot of people and resources here to help you make connections, grow your business and find ways to succeed.
werlson -> Erika Hi. Thank you for taking your time to chat with us. The comments have been very helpful. I'm interested in expanding my family business and I wanted to know what kind of resources there are specifically for family businesses and how large the community is at Booth interested in this particular sector.
Erika -> werlson Hello! Thanks for joining the chat. Yes, there is a student group at Booth focused on family business. They offer events throughout the year to help students who are planning to return to their own family business or join a family business. Their most recent event was a lunch session with Amy Schuman, a family business consultant. In addition, our entrepreneurs-in-residence at the Polsky Center have done some advising on family business issues.
Matt_N -> Conor Hi Conor, you have an interesting educational background. Why did you decide to switch from a career path in private equity & investment banking to pursue operations, statistics & entrepreneurship?
Conor -> Matt_N Matt, great question. I really liked working in PE, but ultimately I came to the conclusion that finance wasn’t the place for me. I wanted to actually help build something and directly impact a company’s growth, not indirectly from an arms-length investing role. With that said, tech companies today look for MBA's who have a quantitative educational background. Since my major in undergrad wasn't STEM, I decided to concentrate in Ops and Statistics in addition to Entrepreneurship at Booth. In the long run, if I ultimately decide to work for another company, this will help me stand out as an MBA.
bscher87 -> Meghan F. Hi all. Thank you for taking the time out to speak with us. My question is regarding the how University of Chicago's Urban Education Institute fits within Social Entrepreneurship Lab courses at the Polsky Center. It seems like an awesome opportunity to make a real impact with struggling regional schools and I was hoping you could please discuss some of the ways Booth MBA students have historically interacted with the UEI so far as entrepreneurship is concerned.
Meghan F. -> bscher87 Hi bscher87: Great question. UEI is a fantastic resource at UChicago, and there is a lot of work and research that comes out of the Institute with which we get involved. I run a program that allows scientists and researchers on campus who are interested in creating a start-up based on their work to pitch to Booth students as a way to build a team and add complementary skills to their efforts. Just a few weeks ago, we had an event like this specific to social enterprise, and we had multiple pitches that came out of UEI. Additionally, there are a ton of Booth students interested in education - many have backgrounds from TFA. If this is a passion of yours, you'll find many like minds here! Check out the Net Impact student group: http://student.chicagobooth.edu/group/netimpact/
Jesse -> Justin G. Hi Booth students and staff! Thanks for hosting this chat! I am applying to business school in the fall and was wondering how difficult it is for engineers to break into private equity or venture capital?
Justin G. -> Jesse You're welcome, Jesse. Based on my observations, the path to private equity or venture capital as a career changer is difficult but doable. I would encourage engineers to focus on their analytical ability and any deep industry/product expertise as selling points. Venture capital, in particular, probably values a solid engineering background more than a banking/PE background because you may be able to understand the technology behind potential investments more effectively than a strictly "numbers" person.
Norm -> Conor Conor, you mentioned in a previous answer that you are planning to work for a medium-sized tech company after school. Do you have any specific companies in mind? Do smaller tech companies recruit at Booth? I have very similar aspirations for my time at Booth - to start a company, or work for a small to medium size tech company. Thanks!
Conor -> Norm Norm - if I decide to work for a tech company after school, I'd like to target companies with 500-1,000 employees that are growing super fast and have significant VC backing. I think this is a great environment to learn from the best and really launch my career into technology. Some smaller tech companies do recruit at Booth, but many just don't have the resources to actively recruit MBA students (at Booth or any other school). So it takes a lot of research and networking if you want to be successful in working for these types of companies post MBA.
Robyn -> Kirsten Know Booth has a really active career center. Does the school see a lot of startup-turned-successful tech companies participate in on-campus recruiting? Or do more traditional industries typically recruit on campus, while reaching out to these type of companies is left mostly up to the student?
Kirsten -> Robyn Hi Robyn, yes we certainly do have tech firms (once startups) participate in campus recruiting. Student interest and the number of tech firms Booth has strong relationships with has grown tremendously. It really can depend on a firm's individual needs whether participating in campus interviewing makes sense, or if posting their opportunities with Booth, doing interviews via Skype, participating in campus events and via student groups, hosting students on startup and tech treks, etc. is the best way to connect. There are a TON of opportunities Booth offers to connect with tech firms and with startups. We always encocurage students to be proactive as well in their own search and depending on the type of firms, etc. you are interested in, but there are a ton of opportunities and resources to help you in connecting with firms.
ConorD -> Meghan F. Hello, and thank you for hosting this forum! Can you talk about the duration that Polsky center services are available for Booth grads? I plan to spend 2-3 years working in the industry of my intended start-up after I graduate. Would I still be able to take advantage of the Polsky Center resources a few years after graduation?
Meghan F. -> ConorD Hi Conor - really important question. We absolutely find that students may study entrepreneurship while in school, but due to responsibilities, risks, loans, etc - they may work in industry first. I always tell them not to feel bad if they aren't committing to entrepreneurship from the get go. Some of our most successful entrepreneurs are alumni who have worked for 5-10 years after school and really gained a good understanding of the needs or problems in a field. They realize they can solve that problem through a start-up. Therefore - you can always contact the Polsky Center with questions, requests for connections to alumni and mentors - etc. We would recommend that you get as much experiential learning as possible while a student - whether you join the New Venture Challenge with your own idea or just support a friend - as the experience will help you no matter what down the road. Please also check out our awesome new facility, the Chicago Innovation Exchange, which would also provide resources to you as an alum: https://cie.uchicago.edu/
Moderator -> Everyone We have less 15 minutes remaining in our chat. Please send any final questions you have so we can answer them before the chat ends.
moniquenyc2 -> Meghan F. Which national (or multi-school) start-up competitions do Booth students compete in?
Meghan F. -> moniquenyc2 Hi moniquency2: There are a ton of start-up/business plan competitions out there, and our students have the opportunity to participate in any of those in which they are interested. In some cases, we have sponsored travel for teams representing Booth. Of note, we have had students compete in and do very well in the Rice Business Plan Competition - and last year, we had a team win the California Dreamin' Competition. Oftentimes, these are teams that have already successfully completed the New Venture or Social New Venture Challenge and are looking for additional mentorship or money. The Polsky Center can help students evaluate these opportunities - but we also try to make sure they're not spending more time applying to competitions than they are working on their business. It's always a balance!
Fred -> Jennifer F. If one doesn't have PE background, then what resources are available in booth for the student to network with people who are in this career trajectory?
Jennifer F. -> Fred Hi Fred. The off-campus search for a PE internship is one that you have to drive, but you won't be at it alone! You can get to know your classmates pursuing PE internships (with or without PE backgrounds) through classes (PEVC lab, Commercializing Innovation, EFPE, Buyouts, etc.) and through activities on campus like PE Group, SPITC Investment Thesis Competition, the LBO competition, etc. Alumni and professors are also always willing to help! Professor Kaplan (who teaches EFPE) made the introduction for me to my full-time job.
Fred -> Bhavik I am weak in data analytics. How will booth help me to hit the ground running in this field?
Bhavik -> Fred Hey Fred - that's a rabbit hole you can go as deep into as you'd like! Whether you're looking to fill a gap or really build up expertise, there are various courses and paths you can pursue. If it's the former, stats and a combination of most other courses will help you really look at data in different, and challenging ways. If it's the latter, you can go into regressions and follow that up with advanced data mining or pricing strategy! Speaking with 2nd years and academic advising is a great way to figure out how to hit the goals you have for yourself when it comes to data analytics.
D_B -> Kirsten Hi everyone. I've spent a few years to launch a tech enterprise and am now looking to build my knowledge and network. while I want to launch a business right after MBA, I know it is not easy and I need to work for a few years to extinguish the MBA loans. In this scenario, what industry(ies) would you advise me to focus on for the short term, and how do you recommend I balance my entrepreneurship focus and my short term goals, both with the curriculum as well as activities of networking & collaborations.
Kirsten -> D_B As you mention many students come to Booth with interests in starting their own business, and whether for financial reasons, lack of an idea, and/or needing to build skills/ credibility this is more their long term career plan than immediately post Booth. If there is a particular industry that you are passionate about and have a long term interest in working in this would be an industry to explore, as well as identifying firms and career paths that lend themselves to enhancing skills you may feel you lack in currently and need to build while at Booth and in the short term to help you build your business long term. There are many different paths to take on this front it really can depend on what you feel you need to gain, etc (finance, business development, etc.) and finding opportunities that will help you build skills on this front. Given Booth's flexibile curriculum you really have the opportunity to take classes related to the areas you want to build skills in, as well as taking entrepreneurial classes and participating in entrepreneurial activities that you want to given your long term interest. It can be a bit of a balancing act, but there are plenty of networking opportunities and events to get involved in to build your network and help you pursue both your short term and long term goals of starting your own business.
Rafael_Guerra -> Kirsten While talking to students on campus, they shared with me their experiences during the Recruiting Period. Apparently, this is a very intense, time consuming but important phase where they get a chance to refine in detail their career plans. What happens with students who pursue the entrepreneurial path? Is there a similar prep period designed for people who plan to be their own boss?
Kirsten -> Rafael_Guerra Students who pursue their own entrepreneurial path conduct more of a specialized search and although timing can be different there are still resources, coaching, and overall individual support for students pursuing these paths. In terms of being your own boss many of the entrepreneurial classes, activities, and leadership courses will also help you in this regard.
Jennifer F. -> Everyone Thanks everybody for all of the great questions today! I look forward to meeting many of you at future Booth events.
David R. -> Everyone Thanks for joining everyone! So glad we were able to answer your questions and hope that you'll be in Chicago in no time!
Bhavik -> Everyone Thanks for joining everyone - feel free to reach out to me or any of the other EVC group co-chairs if you have any other questions or want to chat about Entrepreneurship @ Booth!
Conor -> Everyone Thanks everyone for all the great questions!
Justin G. -> Everyone Thanks for joining us today! Hopefully we were able to answer your questions and provide you with a sense of what the entrepreneurship, startup, venture capital and private equity paths are like here at Booth!
Kirsten -> Everyone Thanks everyone for the great questions and joining the chat!
Erika -> Everyone Hello, group! Thank you for such great questions. It was a pleasure to "e-meet" you, and I hope to meet you in person on campus this fall! Feel free to follow up with me offline with any additional questions.
Meghan F. -> Everyone Wow! Thanks for all of the great questions. Best of luck to everyone making big decisions in the coming weeks, and I hope to get the chance to work with you next year. Please come say hi at the Polsky Center!
Moderator -> Everyone Thank you again for participating today - our chat has now ended. The chat transcript will be posted within 48 hours.
Katlin -> Everyone It's been terrific talking to everyone! Have a great day!