Entrepreneurship in Action at Tuck & Dartmouth
This post was written by our friends at tuck.dartmouth.edu
Joaquin Villarreal T’08 is executive director of the Entrepreneurship Initiative at Tuck. Mathias Machado T’09 is an associate director of the Career Development Office.
Q: What entrepreneurial resources are available at Tuck?
MM: Let’s talk about the entrepreneurial resources here at Tuck that students should know about.
JV: They should know that the support we provide to entrepreneurs really mimics the support provided to any other career path here.
MM: We support entrepreneurs in different ways—for example, there’s a difference between wanting to work at a startup and wanting to work on your own startup. If you want to go work at a startup, there’s funding we provide for summer internships. Every year, we partially fund approximately six summer interns who want the experience of working at a startup.
JV: Also, we want aspiring entrepreneurs to know that if they can’t find a resource, knock on someone’s door and ask. We probably already have something for your needs but if we don’t, we can most likely come up with it.
MM: Do you have a good example of that happening?
JV: Social entrepreneurship has been particularly popular in the last few months. It kind of falls between the Entrepreneurship Initiative and the Center for Business & Society. When someone comes to us and wants help, we get together with the folks at the other centers and talk about how we can specifically support them.
MM: There’s also the helpfulness of alumni, right? The Tuck network—from people here now to those who have already graduated—wants to help. It’s just a matter of getting pointed in the right direction.
JV: If you remember one thing, it’s this: a good place to start is with the Entrepreneurship Initiative. We’ll do our best to lead you to a tree of possibilities.
MM: I hear that there’s a new program, too, right?
JV: We are piloting a mentorship program that involves alumni from Tuck, Thayer, and Dartmouth in general. It’s called Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Network Access (DENA). We’ve created this whole online system where people can access advice on specific items on entrepreneurship and related skills.
MM: That’s exciting.
JV: It’s really a new paradigm of providing mentorship. Until we launched, students were limited geographically—you knock on someone’s door and that’s your mentor. Students can still do that but they also have a new option to access resources across the country or world. It’s all about leveraging the relatively small but very effective global Dartmouth network.
Q: Do you have examples of entrepreneurs in action at Tuck and Dartmouth?
MM: Joaquin, what are some of the cool ventures that Tuck students have been a part of that have reached across campus?
JV: There are a ton that people use to experiment, which is great, because you learn as much failing as in succeeding. Two of the most recent successfully launched ventures come to mind, however. First, there’s Latitude six-six.
MM: It’s very cool adventure travel company started by two T’14s, Sam Alexander and Jordan Melcon, with an important social impact side to it.
JV: Yes. Another one is The Box food truck. Eric Winn D’04, T’14 and Mike Parshley T’14 crafted their business model around including undergraduates to work with them. They’re able to teach undergrads some of the management skills they learned here at Tuck.
MM: That’s great that those undergrads can get a feel for what it’s like to work at a startup.
JV: That’s so important: to really know what it’s like, you have to be in one or start one. That’s the core of entrepreneurship learning.
MM: The Career Development Office actually provides the chance to work at a startup with the Maynard Entrepreneurial Internship Program. That’s a great excuse for students to devote their summers to working at a startup.
JV: Definitely. Without the risk of being a founder, students can learn what the startup environment is like while receiving a salary.
MM: Plus, students who have their own ideas have a little time to work on their own startup as well. The entrepreneurial path is set up in such a way that if you come in with an idea, you can really solidify the business plan behind it during your first year.
JV: It starts with a course called Entrepreneurial Thinking and then goes into the First-Year Project. Then, there’s a whole path of courses.
MM: You can basically iterate on your idea working with other team members that are part of the MBA curriculum. Plus, there are the incubators.
JV: The summer incubator is called the Summer Startup Award and then there’s the campus-wide incubator, which is year-round. It started just being Tuck and Thayer, but now we’re integrating with the Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Network (DEN) for a truly cross-school program. It will be really cool to see the first test run of our campus-wide incubator.
(Photo by Rob Bossi.)
January 23, 2015