4 Reasons to Pursue Entrepreneurship in College

By Julia Peng W’17 and Erica Polle C’17

Entrepreneurship Preceptorial:

Come join Management Visiting Lecturer Henry Han and student entrepreneurs, Erica and Julia, at 4:30pm on August 27th at the Entrepreneurship Preceptorial (location TBD), supported by Penn Wharton Entrepreneurship. We will cover the various resources, classes, and opportunities available to students.

College is stressful—balancing exams, extracurriculars, social life, OCR, and family time is no easy task, especially at Penn. Despite these pressures, the best time to start a company is during these 4 years. Whether you’re an incoming freshman or a senior, Penn offers you a unique set of resources to experiment with your ideas and build something impactful.

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The Stories vs. The Realities

By Ronald Angsiy WG’17, Cofounder of InnaMed

As startup founders, we tell stories.

We tug at the heart strings of our audiences when speaking to their pain points. We make you ache for nostalgia, or itch your temptation for something new. We promise the hockey stick. It’s natural to tell our stories to audiences unfamiliar with the vision we see. We grew up on stories as kids after all; we closed our eyes and dreamed about fairy tales. Once upon a time. The glass slippers. Prince Charming. The happy ending.

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My MBA, An Experiment

By Divya Narayanan WG’17

INTRODUCTION: FACING RISK

I left my first job in Bain’s Toronto office three years ago bright-eyed and ready for change. I’d followed the traditional path from undergraduate business school to consulting and felt ready to take a big risk. Sure, I liked my time in consulting, but I had dreams of that perfect job out there. The problem was that I had no idea what perfect really meant. So, I applied to wildly different jobs across the world – from nonprofit to tech, from San Francisco to Thailand.

Divya and her teammates at CommonBond

Divya and her teammates at CommonBond

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Startup v. OXO

By Eric Tepper C’17/IPD’18

Over the past year, I interned at two very different companies: a medical device startup that I interned at part-time at Penn, and OXO, who make carefully designed cooking tools and housewares, that I interned at this summer. These experiences highlighted for me what I truly value in a company.

OXO product testing

OXO product testing

In the startup world, offices can be nonexistent and hours can be fluid. There are not always set times or locations. While interning for Daylight OB, the medical device startup, during the school year, my tasks were assigned and completed during my free time. A significant portion of the work was done independently and the team came together for small amounts of time to integrate the information. Working in an office with teams during business hours is different.

Working at OXO has much more structure—and actual regular business hours. Most of the business day is spent on completing projects, researching, meetings, or new explorations. But there is also time for social interactions. Many Oxonians (as OXO employees are called) eat lunch together in the kitchen and talk about their lives outside of work. There are also different email groups ranging from rock climbing to gaming nights for Oxonians to spend time with one another after work.

OXO is a well established company with 100 employees in its main office and tens, if not hundreds of times, the revenue of many startups; but it has a startup-like feel. Oxonians work in shared coworking space; whether you’re the president or an intern you sit at a desk in a long row of employees in a bay with your team. The president rides a scooter to get around the office, and typical corporate hierarchy is nonexistent.

There’s no typical day at OXO, even for Oxonians who have been there for more than 20 years. Some days, I spent most of the time researching a product or product category; other days, I might have tested a product or mocked up a concept in the engineering lab. Startups often work in similar fashion, but at more established companies, most of the daily structure is more similar day to day.

Most of the work Oxonians perform is focused around a mission of making products that abide by universal design, which means that products should be easy to use by a broad spectrum of individuals. Startups often focus on one product or narrow method, such as Daylight’s medical device, but with over 1,000 active products, OXO has much more happening. I felt the difference between these two functions while interning at OXO and it helped to give me insights on how to be able to handle many tasks and work on efficiencies wherever possible.

As my time at OXO came to an end last week, I look back at all that I have learned and the relationships I have formed. I realize that it’s not just company size or stage, or even the job description or tasks that are important for happiness at a job, but coworkers and culture as well. Even if I’m not working at a startup, I like one with a startup-like feel. And awesome coworkers.

etepper_headshotBio: Eric is a rising senior studying Health and Societies and first year Integrated Product Design student from northern New Jersey. He has experience in product design and product development interning at medical device startups. At Penn, he is on the Undergraduate Assembly, PRISM, and involved in Hillel.

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Authentic Tours in Latin America

By Andrea Vidler WG’15, Founder of LocalAventura

While she was a student, Andrea Vidler received an award from the M&T Innovation Fund to help found her company, LocalAventura, with fellow Penn students Eugena Brown WG’15 and Cait Breslin C’15. She was also a member of the Venture Initiation Program. We checked in to find out how her startup is doing today:

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IoT and the Wide Open West

By Nichin Sreekantaswamy, GEN’17

Barn Owl LLC was the last place I imagined myself working this summer. Yet, here I am in scenic Colorado Springs, slogging away from 8 to 6 in a downtown coworking space.

Josh and me at the ranching trade show in Steamboat Springs, CO

Josh and me at the ranching trade show in Steamboat Springs, CO

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Rare Individual, Unique Fight: David Fajgenbaum

David Fajgenbaum M’13/WG’15 is battling a little-known, extremely deadly disease as a researcher, a physician, an advocate, an entrepreneur and a patient. When he realized the obstacles in the way of a cure were business problems, he came to Wharton to gain new skills.

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Why I [heart] the Wharton Innovation Fund

By Ashwin Baweja, ENG’15/GEN’15/W’15 Founder of HashFav

There are an abundance of firsthand accounts that document the uncertainty that mires the entrepreneurial experience, but written words alone cannot fully capture the doubts that entrepreneurs face when building a startup. Luckily, the Wharton Innovation Fund is a pillar of support for early entrepreneurs and helped me and my startup when we needed it most.

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Mentoring a Penn President’s Innovation Prize Winning Team

By Hoag Levins, Editor of Digital Publications at the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics (LDI)

It’s almost the stuff movies are made of.  A young professor charged with teaching a new university course in health care entrepreneurship meets a brash sophomore interested in taking the class. But then, quixotically, the undergrad decides to skip the course and asks the professor to mentor him and his fellow sophomore business partner as they figure out the complexities of entrepreneurial practice on their own.

Three years later, the two students win the University’s highest award for inventiveness and marketing savvy. And to complete the circle, the two are invited back to their mentor’s classroom to lecture his pupils on entrepreneurial chutzpah.

Wharton School Assistant Professor and LDI Senior Fellow Matthew Grennan (center) has been mentoring Penn seniors Aaron Goldstein (left) and William Duckworth (right) for three years. The two students just won a Penn President's prize for entrepreneurial achievement.

Wharton School Assistant Professor and LDI Senior Fellow Matthew Grennan (center) has been mentoring Penn seniors Aaron Goldstein (left) and William Duckworth (right) for three years. The two students just won a Penn President’s prize for entrepreneurial achievement.

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The missing piece of the VC gender inclusion puzzle

By Karin Klein, Wharton BS and MBA, Annenberg School of Communications BA, Founding Partner, Bloomberg Beta

Women invented windshield wipers, the first computer program, life rafts, wireless transmissions technology, the paper bag, Kevlar, fire escapes and, mind you, chocolate chip cookies. If good ideas had only come from people who looked like the founding fathers, then a wealth of advances and joys might have been delayed or missed entirely.

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