Monday, December 10, 2012

People Are Good At Many Things Yet Choose to Do One Thing

Liz Han has been an active member of DSAC from the very beginning of the school year, assisting us with the campus visit program. She's also very involved in the entrepreneurship and venture capital community at Booth; she was a SeedCon volunteer and approached me with the idea of blogging about the resources at Booth she's found most helpful thus far. First-year students have the opportunity to pursue their passions from Day 1, which Liz describes below.


As we progress in our lives and careers, we have to make critical decisions that impact where we live, what we do, and who we are. For many of you, applying to business school is one such decision. It certainly was for me.

I came to Booth to pursue venture capital and entrepreneurship. I felt inspired on my initial visit to Booth as a prospective student. Beyond the beauty of the Harper Center, I had conversations with students that illustrated to me the opportunities and support Booth provides students interested in venture capital and start-ups, ranging from classes such as Commercializing Innovation to labs including the PE / VC Lab to venture capital and start-up competitions.

Case in point, during Admit Weekend, I stopped by the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and met with Starr Marcello, Director of Operations for the Center. In an hour-long conversation, she shared with me a glimpse into the Chicago venture capital and entrepreneurial ecosystem, and provided me with resources and contacts in VC and start-ups. This is where my journey began.

Three months later, I was helping a healthcare technology start-up that had been born out of and won the New Venture Challenge in 2011. It was founded by a couple of Booth students who were passionate about helping healthcare professionals make better decisions from symptom to diagnosis. In working with them, I not only gained insight into how start-ups think and operate, but also worked towards developing a clinical decision support tool to help providers more effectively care for patients.

When school started, I joined the D4Lab, an entrepreneurship and design-focused fellowship program dedicated to solving issues in healthcare. The program enables my colleagues and I to combine the scientific method with design principles to tackle one of the biggest problems hospitals face today: the bottleneck of hospital admissions from the Emergency Department (ED). On a weekly basis, I work with an interdisciplinary group of fellows from the medical school and the law school among others to observe healthcare professionals in the ED and other departments at the University of Chicago Medical Center, identify specific, concrete challenges and ultimately develop a solution to improve the flow of patients from the ED into the hospital. In addition, I met with second-year students who had incredible experiences as Associates in Hyde Park Angels, an angel network started by Booth alumni in 2006 that takes on select Booth students as Associates every year to source, evaluate, and close investments in early stage start-ups. After two months during which I applied to the program, conducted a deal review and interviewed with current associates and managing directors, I am excited to be joining HPA as an Associate next quarter.

A venture capitalist shared the title quote with me in describing successful entrepreneurs, and I was struck by its simplicity and relevance. Whether you are an aspiring entrepreneur or a management consultant, this quote applies to all of us. We have many options in terms of where to apply our time and skills and it’s up to each of us to choose. For me, it is to help build ideas into companies that will improve the way we live our lives. And it starts at Booth.

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