‘Should I drop out of school to pursue full time?’, ‘What will I tell my parents if I fail?’, ‘Is this a side hustle or can it turn into something big?’, ‘How do I convince people twice my age to join?’
These are all the questions that ran in my head while I was building Mila, an app to curate matches based on real compatibility, while still in my pre-final year of undergrad. I struggled hard to find the right mentor whose advise I could rely on to get answers to these questions. Over the next few years, I want to build my knowledge base, leadership acumen and professional network to eventually start a startup accelerator focused on mentoring and shaping hundreds of thousands of student entrepreneurs like me – ‘Y combinator for Students’. Channelizing the innovative ideas of these young minds and empowering them to succeed in their venture building journey by fostering a collaborative community of founders, and alumni is my long-term goal.
My internship experiences thus far have helped me understand the importance of thorough primary and secondary research, analysis of micro and macro trends, and extensive due diligence, in sourcing startups and making prudent investment decisions. In the years leading up to the MBA, as a PE analyst, I intend to participate in the entire lifecycle of investments, from meeting various managers to evaluating opportunities and monitoring performance post-investment. Post the MBA, I want to take up more of an operational focused role of an Entrepreneur in Residence with a firm such as Accel, Sequoia or portfolio company of a PE firm. Here, I will work closely with the founders to unlock growth strategies, to hire for leadership roles, to identify and fill gaps in product/service offering.
I have narrowed down on Chicago Booth Scholars program due to multiple reasons. Firstly, a deferred admission will allow me to focus solely on professional career building and maximize the learning. Secondly, Booth’s approach of teaching wherein students are encouraged to question all assumptions and applying analytical frameworks to problem solving resonates with my educational background in statistics and economics. Thirdly, the program’s flexible curriculum will allow me to one hand enroll for courses such as New Product and Strategy Development and get a clear view of product development process in tech, and on the other hand, learn the art of effective decision making from Noble Laurette Richard Thaler, whose best seller Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness, was a key part of my early self-education in behavioral science and economics. Fourthly, through active participation in the New Venture Challenge, I will gain the best practices of building accelerator ecosystem – essential to my long-term aspirations. Lastly, the inside and outside classroom interactions I will have with my cohort as part of LEAD, will sharpen my interpersonal and team skills.
Conversations with David Brett, partner, and head of co investment team and my immediate manager Paul Capelli at Adam Street Partners, both of whom are Booth alums, have further convinced me that I am an academic, professional, and cultural fit to the school.