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Building Bridges to MBAs & Speaking @ NYU

Digging TunnelsI was invited in to speak to a swarm of NYU Stern MBAs yesterday.  The stadium seating positioned lots of eyes to stare down at the topic at hand - how to get a job in VC.  You can pick up most of my thoughts about this on this page of my blog.  

While the conversation that ensued after the talk was engaging, what was more important to me is that I left inspired by the young leaders in our midst.  Brian Shimmerlik invited me to speak and he introduced me to a half dozen other student leaders while I was there.  These folks and many others have taken up the mantle to lay bricks of infrastructure that make our ecosystem stronger.

What's so important about these efforts in MBA programs is that the pathways to VC and entrepreneurship often exist outside of the structured MBA experience.  While being a student is a license to meet anyone and the network that MBA programs can provide is invaluable, would-be startupers and VCs will find most job opportunities the old-fashioned way - by pounding the pavement on their own.  

The challenge for most MBA students that aren't familiar with the space is that looking outside of the structured recruiting channels in the program isn't easy.  It requires, doing different activities than your peers, navigating your way into events that are pushed on you and a significant amount of initiative.  When you're overwhelmed with options WITHIN the MBA program it's difficult to contemplate pursuing activities OUTSIDE the program.

The folks at the EEX club at Stern, the NYUVC and others are doing just that - bringing in more speakers & building more programs to create better channels outside of the school.  I know the same thing is happening at Columbia and I can only assume that it is happening elsewhere.  It's energizing to see.

Startupland is semi-underground, hiding in budget office spaces and corralling at non-descript dive bars.  But don't be deterred.  While we probably won't have time to come to you, if you come to us you'll likely be met with open arms.



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