Adventures in Venture Capital:
Over the next two weeks my entire life will center around two words. Venture Capital. First off a group of fellow students and me are ditching the fertile plains of Ohio for the sunlit shores of California. Every spring the Fisher Entrepreneurship Society, in cooperation with the Center for Entrepreneurship, sponsors a trip to Silicon Valley. Once there we will meet with 7 different Venture Capital firms over a 4 day period. It’s my first chance to move from the classroom to the board room and learn more about the Venture Capital world. This opportunity represents an amazing chance to gain exposure to a world that has captured the mind, and pocket books, of people the world over.
The following Wednesday I join a team of top MBA students participating in the 15th Annual Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC) north east regional.
“At the core of the event is a creative turn of the tables. Unlike business plan competitions in which students pitch their own ideas to investors, at VCIC the students are the investors, and real entrepreneurs pitch to them. It is a very powerful learning experience for both parties. Add to the mix a dozen VC judges, and you have what the VCIC website describes as a “win-win-win.” Students learn (and win cash), entrepreneurs connect with investors and VCs get an early peek at some viable deals.”
This competition is invite only, and is the first time that Fisher has been invited to participate. Our team has spent the last two weeks in deep preparation for the event. After the win in the fall at Maryland’s Mergers and Acquisitions tournament, our team is hungry for more success.
Silicon Valley Firms List: Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Canaan Partners, Band of Angels, 500 Startups, The Halo Fund, Angels Forum, Horizon Ventures, Sand Hill Angels, Andreessen Horowitz
If there is one absolute truth in business school, it’s that you will most definitely be In da club. Fisher’s Clubs give B-Schoolers the opportunity to obtain additional information and skillsets beyond the classroom. During their first month on campus, students gather information on any and all clubs, associations, or projects of interest, weigh any interest against their available bandwidth, in some instances fill out applications, and finally make their choice. Sound easy?
Gathering Information boils down to two methods of Information collection:
- The Info Session: The info session typically occurs between morning and afternoon core classes on Tuesdays or Thursdays. They are run by the officers of the club in question, and always include food. Most of the time its pizza, but occasionally you’re provided with something stellar like Piada. (Innovation Fisher knows how to Club!)
- The Career Foundation Seminar: Career foundation seminars focus on either a specific majors or career track. They are substantially longer than the info session and span between 6 and 8 hours. During this time The Office of Career Management works with student organizations to bring a wide array of information about the major or concentration. For instance, the Fisher Graduate Finance Association included keynote speaker Kenneth R. Kent, speeches by senior executives from The Limited, and two panels consisting of leaders in the finance industry. When you attend a seminar you’re provided every opportunity to do a deep dive into a major. They also include the all-important networking opportunities during, and after the event. Why is this relevant to joining a club? It’s strongly advised that you become a member of the club or association that pertains to your particular major.
Still sound easy? The hardest part of the whole process isn’t attending enough events. In fact, that’s the simple part! The challenge is identifying your available time, and with that in mind whittling down the plethora of choices to ones that achieve your MBA strategic goals. For me, I knew before setting foot on campus that I wanted to be an active member of the Fisher Graduate Finance Association , take part in the Fisher Professional Services consulting project with a local client (Huntington Bank in this case), and work with a Corporate Mentor to improve my leadership skills. In addition to that I have signed on with Innovation Fisher, the Fisher Consulting and Strategy Club, and I am considering the International Business Club to round everything out. My participation levels may vary, but I know going in that I will get something special and different out of each.