Although not geared solely to Yale School of Management students, the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute (YEI) has opportunities for budding MBAs to contribute and benefit. YEI’s mission, in part, is to identify and help develop innovative student-run ventures with compelling business propositions. Further, YEI seeks to develop a robust and durable entrepreneurial student culture by building “entrepreneurial awareness” in the greatest number of students possible. Finally, YEI demonstrates to students the norms of behavior expected in the professional world when dealing with partners, suppliers, investors, customers, and competitors. As Yale SOM strives to build leaders for business and society, its goals align well with those of YEI.
There are two programs through which MBA students can get involved with YEI: either as a consultant for student-run startups or as an advisor for companies within the Venture Creation Program. YEI Consultants are graduate school students who provide business planning, financial modeling, strategy assistance, competitive assessments, market sizing, business model creation and marketing plan development. VC Advisors help select and fund a portfolio of student ventures in the Venture Creation Program and support these early stage venture teams by guiding them through working with YEI. Whether you want to be a consultant, a marketing manager, a strategist, or a venture capitalist, YEI has great opportunities where one can contribute to the greater Yale University community.
Last year, I had the opportunity to build a financial model for a startup founded by a Yale College senior and a PhD student in the Computer Science program. They were experts in their product, their business, and their design, and I was able to contribute more general business and financial knowledge. Through my work with the team, we were able to collaborate and construct a financial model that could be used for business planning purposes as well as to show venture capitalists as they tried to secure funding. It was a great learning experience for all of us. This year, I decided to transition from a consultant role to the VC Advisor program. I had a very exciting summer at a venture capital firm in New York called Bowery Capital, and wanted to continue this experience at Yale. I have had the opportunity to recruiter, select, monitor and advance startups from within the community.
The partnership between YEI and SOM is one of many within the Yale University community that gives students exposure to many different experiences. Students can take courses at other professional schools at the University or at Yale College. Outside of YEI, there are a number of other mentorship opportunities both with MBA students and with undergraduates. I am excited to continue working within the Venture Creation Program throughout my time at SOM, and eager to continue my involvement with YEI even after I graduate.