Thursday, February 28, 2008

Change of plans?

Been interviewing with a startup here in NYC. Sort of stumbled upon them and it looks like they are a strong fit for my background, and are very early stage (I'd be employee #7, or something like that). This is the first startup I have seriously considered (since I have been so focused on VC), but it has an incredible core team and great investors. Anyways, we will see where it goes. Hope to see some of you at open house tomorrow (if you're not already here).

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Open House for Admitted Students

This Thursday and Friday CBS is hosting several hundred admitted students for Open House.

There is a full schedule of events and I'm going to be at a couple of them, so if you're going to be there as an admitted student, come up and say hello. I'll be wearing my nametag and a Hermes Society vest.

The events are both on Friday :

Entrepreneurship Open House: 2p @ Lerner Hall
Club Fair and Coffee Break: 3p @ Low Library Rotunda

Hope to meet a couple of you in person. If not, there is another Open House in April - so maybe our paths will cross there. Drop me a message here if you think you'll be there so I can keep an eye out.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Going public

Not that people couldn't have figured out who I am by looking at my recent blog post to CBS's site, or by other hints I've dropped along the way, but I figured now was as good a time as any to add some more transparency to my blog. To that end, I have added a LinkedIn badge on the upper right of the blog, which if clicked on will take you to my public LinkedIn profile.

Originally, when I started the blog, I wanted to remain as anonymous as possible, but now I'm interested in seeing how opening the kimono a bit more will change the level and type of interactivity on the site. Plus, I'm almost done with business school, so I'm running out of time to do this little experiment.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Social Enterprise Fellowship Program @ CBS

This email just came in related to the social enterprise program at Columbia. Basically, the school helps to subsidize students who spend their summer working with non-profits, NGOs, etc. Pretty cool...

Are you interested in working for a nonprofit, NGO or government organization this summer? How about with a social entrepreneur or a social venture capital firm?

Join us to learn about the Social Enterprise Summer Fellowship Program which provides support to students pursuing internships in these fields. First-year and second-year students graduating in the spring can apply for summer fellowships, and J-term students can apply for full-time 2-week mini-internships. This program is available to all Columbia MBA students. To learn more about the program please visit

Last year we supported 37 students in the US and around the world. Students have contributed their business skills to organizations including:

Acumen Fund | Agora Partnerships | Alzheimer’s Association | Ashoka | Asian Development Bank | Blue Ridge Foundation | Clinton Global Initiative | Committee to Encourage Corporate Philanthropy | Community Development Venture Capital Alliance | Community Resource Exchange | Dalberg | Department of Health and Human Services | Echoing Green | Education Pioneers | Endeavor | Environmental Defense | Fate Foundation USA | Freedom From Hunger | Investors Circle Foundation | National Resources Defense Council | New York City Economic Development Corporation | Planet Finance | New York Philharmonic | Nonprofit Finance Fund | Robin Hood Foundation | Sesame Workshop | Terra Nova Advisors | Teach for America | United Nations Development Program | United Way | Women’s World Banking…and many more!

If you have any questions about the program, are considering applying for funding, or are in the midst of pursuing other opportunities but might consider a social enterprise internship please contact Larcy Cooper at

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

questions from an applicant interested in VC

I thought this question from a prospective student interested in VC would be helpful to the audience, so I am reposting here.

...From what I gather, VC recruiting is heavily based on networking. Are there any opportunities to work with VC firms through course work or projects? Do VC firms actually try to recruit MBA graduates or is it pretty much a one-way traffic that relies on contacts? Does Lang Center offer any help to obtain a job in VC? Realistically, how many students get an offer in this industry?...

My response:

There are opportunities through coursework to meet VCs. It's fairly one way in my experience - you reach out to them and try to get them interested in sponsoring you for a project, internship, etc. There are very few that post opportunities publicly.

Be prepared to work very hard in building a strong network both in the VC and entrepreneur communities. Ideally, you want to develop one or two areas of market expertise, find unfunded companies in those spaces that have potential, and use this as a pitch when you talk to VCs. If you really want to do VC, I would recommend starting all of this NOW - before going to school. You might even consider lining up a VC internship in the months prior to starting school, to give you a head start.

The Lang Center won't directly help you get a job in VC but it will give you the chance to work with startup companies, develop your own business plan, etc. The entrepreneurship resources at the school are great.

I know this sounds like a lot of work - and it is - you'll be busting your butt a lot harder than your classmates who are able to leverage on campus recruiting (banking, consulting, etc).

Anyways, I hope this helps. Keep looking at the blog, I have numerous posts tagged 'venture capital' that are relevant. And if you have questions, please feel free to let me know, or better yet, post them on my blog so the commnuity benefits.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

PE/VC conference report

Friday I spent the day at Columbia Business School's annual Private Equity & VC conference. The conference was pretty good, and there was a diverse set of attendees, not just business school students (although, we did make up the majority).

Alan Patricof (CBS alum) opened up the conference and spent his time talking about entrepreneurship in the developing world. He is involved with a variety of initiatives in that area, and seems pretty passionate about it. He's also currently the founding managing partner of Greycroft Partners, which is a media-focused VC firm he started recently. He's also known as the "father" of VC - a very accomplished guy, no doubt.

I attended a couple of panels. One was about VC's and networks - not the wired kind of networks, but social networks. I didn't think this was a great topic to begin with, but it might have been useful for people new to VC who don't understand how important relationships are in the business.

The second panel was much better, and was focused on the globalization of venture capital. Lots of advice was given about pursuing venture capital careers, and one of the panelists mentioned she was hiring interns as well! (I should probably drop her a note, anyways). I also found it interesting how the panelists responded to a question about the tax treatment of carried interest. One panelist said in not so many words that taxing carried interest as income would not dissuade people from getting into the VC business. Meanwhile, another panelist looked like they were squirming a bit :) I dunno, carry looks like income to me, unless someone can convince me otherwise...

There were non-VC related panels as well, including one that focused on limited partners.

I was really happy to see attendees (and alums) at the conference who were working in industry and coming for the educational experience. I also met a couple of Masters candidates in the engineering school who came to learn more about PE/VC. From what I understand from one of those guys, the event was not really promoted within the engineering school, which is a shame. It would be nice to get the MBAs and the engineering folks working together more often, or even just mixing informally.

Afterwards, there was a social reception w/wine and beer as well as nice passed hors d'ouveres. Nice! Anyone who knows me well knows I am a passed hors d'ouveres junky...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I'm featured on the CBS school blog

The folks who run the new CBS blog asked me to do a posting. Here it is.

The sarcastic emails from my classmates have already begun (Tim!) :)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Starting to see the fruits of the networking I've been doing over the last 9 months (has it been that long?)

Three different folks that I've been talking to referred me to a recruiter who is conducting a search for a firm in NYC looking for an associate with datacenter software expertise.

I had a great call with the recruiter and now have to meet the recruiter's partner. Assuming that goes well, I should be able to start interviewing.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Damn it feels good to be a banka...

This must be how it feels to be a banker right about now - fat signing bonus in hand, not caring about classes...what a life (at least until the 80 hour weeks kick in :)

By the way, J-term 'bankas' Gina and Kabir are in the video...rock on dudes..!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Blogging hiatus has ended

I feel like I have to apologize to my massive readership (you know who you are) about this blogging hiatus, but alas, it has ended.

I have begun to crank my job hunt into high gear (OK, warp speed). I just booked a ticket out west for a follow up interview with the venture firm I spoke with in January. I will be meeting one of their senior partners, and if that goes well, I'll be meeting other key folks at the firm. I'm going to be out there for about three days, so I'm hoping to get some other meetings scheduled as well.

I've also been doing a ton of networking calls. Tomorrow I am talking to a couple of firms in Boston, and I just set up an in-person meeting for later this month with a firm in South Jersey. I am starting to get what I would call "luke warm" leads, which is nice, but certainly not where I would like to be (multiple offers :)

It's a really good thing that I only have 10.5 credits this semester. This is well below the norm, but because I took extra courses over the last two semesters, I now have some breathing room. And let me tell you it has been very helpful. I still feel like I am swamped - a full five classes would have been positively asphyxiating.

This weekend I'm off to Montreal with some college friends. One of them is getting married in the next couple months, so we are seeing him off in style. Unfortunately the exchange rate is not any where near where it was when I first went to Montreal during college. :) Oh well, I'm sure we'll make the best of it!