Why I Want an MBA to Join My Team at Drift

Announcing the Operator in Residence Role

David Cancel
3 min readJul 22, 2016


When it comes to startups and building companies, there’s one thing I’ve been pretty vocal about (OK there are a bunch of things I’ve been vocal about :) but this is one that comes up a lot): getting your MBA.

I even went as far as writing this post, and it’s a frequent topic on my podcast

But I’m writing this post today because I’m changing my tune:

I’m hiring an MBA to join my team at Drift.

I’m calling the role “Operator in Residence,” and it’s a one-year mission for a driven, clever, hard-working team player who believes in our mission and wants to learn about the inner workings of a fast growth startup.

Why an MBA?

I’ve decided to go with an MBA for this role because I want Drift to benefit from your experience while giving you a way to break into a fast growth startup.

Over the years I’ve given talks at Harvard Business School, Sloan (MIT) and other MBA programs and the one question I would get from students was how they could break into an early stage startup.

Until today I’ve never had a good answer to that question as most early stage companies are looking for people that make the things (engineers, designers, etc) or for people that sell the things (sales people and marketers).

Here’s the deal (and how to apply):

Operator In Residence

The “Operator In Residence” (OIR) position is a one-year mission in Cambridge, MA.

After one year, if you are successful, you will have either:

  1. Earned an operating role on the team (ideally in a leadership capacity but no promises).
  2. Decided to start your own company (I will be the first angel investor in your company).
  3. Decided to join a different company/stage (I will give you full access to my network to find and secure the job you want).


Drift is backed by CRV, General Catalyst, NextView Ventures, Founder Collective and angel investors from Twitter, HubSpot and other high growth companies, and we’re on a mission to transform how every business in the world communicates with their customers.

We launched our product this year and are growing quickly — today close to 4000 businesses have chosen Drift to transform the way they market, sell and service their customers.

But despite our fast growth, we’re just getting warmed up. We’re playing the long game, and we think we’re still in the first inning of our history.

This is your chance to be a part of this exciting stage of growth — right now there are only 15 full-time employees at Drift.

What You’ll Do In This Role:

  • Scheduling, arranging travel and coordinating internal and external events.
  • Nine months after starting this mission you will have recruited and trained your replacement.
  • Reading and answering my emails (personal/professional).
  • Travel with me on occasion to conferences, customer meetings, press, etc.
  • Serve as my single point of contact.
  • Maintain order in a fast and fascinating environment.
  • Create and edit presentation decks (external and internal).
  • Conduct competitive & market analysis.
  • Own financial projections & analysis as well as packaging & pricing studies.
  • Take on new projects and solve problems in real time with your own judgement.

Don’t Bother Applying If Any Of These Things Are True About You

  • You’re afraid to get your hands dirty (really).
  • You’re afraid to “carry the water” (Listen to this episode of Seeking Wisdom).
  • You’re concerned with work/life balance and are looking for a 9-to-5 job.


  • A critical role in a fast growing startup with a team who’s done it before.
  • Day to day mentorship (but you need to earn it).
  • Exposure to investors, press, and other high growth companies.
  • Access to — and a way to break into — a fast growth startup and the surrounding ecosystem.
  • This is a big opportunity to jump to the top of the ladder and build a huge network for the right person.

→ Ready for the challenge? Apply Here.

Please help me spread the word by hitting the ❤ button below.



David Cancel

Entrepreneur. Investor. CEO @Drift.