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The Summer Fellowship Program at Columbia Business School encourages and enables MBA students to contribute management expertise to growing startup organizations.
The Summer Fellowship Program supports internships that have a high probability of success for the employer and the student. Employers are expected to invest time and resources into structuring and managing the activities of the summer fellow.
At the end of the summer, each employer will be asked to provide feedback about the Entrepreneurship Summer Fellowship Program and the student’s impact on the organization via a short online survey.
Summer Fellow Spotlight
Lauren Amery '16
- “I had a lot of people tell me to go work with a big fashion brand over the summer, but if you really want to learn how to run a fashion company and have an impact on things from day one, work at a startup. Working at a big company gives you a narrow view within one role. At a startup you step into different roles every day and really get a sense for how all of the roles work together,” says Lauren Amery ‘16 who interned at the beach-inspired clothing company Faherty Brand this summer.
Lauren drew upon her background in finance and fashion to help Faherty analyze historical sales for finance, merchandising and planning purposes. “I learned the importance of being adaptable,” she says, “I came on to work in marketing, but the skills I developed over four years in finance were more useful.” These valuable takeaways will continue to play a role as Lauren grows her own venture Dagny Scout, a women’s athletic apparel company specializing in fashionable golf, tennis and après sport wear.
Over the past year, Lauren has taken advantage of many resources at the Lang Center to help her launch her company. She was involved in Lion’s Lab and the Summer Startup Program with Entrepreneur in Residence Barbara Roberts, while also working from the co-working space AlleyNYC. In her second year, she plans to apply for the Entrepreneurial Greenhouse Program and take other entrepreneurship classes, as well as continuing her involvement in student clubs. “The community at CBS has been so much more supportive than I ever could have imagined,” she says, “being an entrepreneur can be discouraging, but people here are excited for you and interested in your ideas and that’s really inspiring.”
Diego Cuenca '16
A Q&A on interning at Raptor Technologies
- Tell us about your internship at Raptor Technologies.
Raptor Technologies is a visitor management system that screens out unwanted visitors and provides a safe environment for students. This summer I completed several projects at Raptor to drive engagement with existing customers, as well as increase the number of schools using the visitor management system.
My first project was organizing data on Raptor’s CRM systems that are vital to sales and customer support. This data will also lead to effective coordination with other business functions such as accounting. I also led efforts to select a learning management system to enhance online customer training. Finally, I conducted ROI analysis on email marketing campaigns and analyzed account and market data that will help inform sales territory strategy going forward. These efforts will lead to further use of Raptor and move the company forward in its mission to uphold school safety and protect students.
How did your first year at CBS prepare you for your responsibilities at Raptor Technologies?
The two classes that helped me most were Introduction to Venturing and Entrepreneurial Finance. As I am pursuing entrepreneurship through acquisition, they were vital in understanding the context of what I was doing. Marketing and Business Analytics during the core helped give me a basic understanding of how to approach and complete my summer projects.
How did this position help you grow?
I had never worked for a SaaS company, lived in the south, conducted marketing analysis, or undertaken a massive data project. While many things were new, I was given a lot of freedom to approach each task and supported the whole way.
The culture at Raptor is very open and collaborative. I was given feedback regularly and met with multiple departments as needed. I also had the opportunity to work directly with the CEO Jim Vesterman on several initiatives. Through this experience, I saw the importance of clear and concise, goal-driven communication. It is vital in communicating with investors, making collaborative decisions, and motivating others.
What is your plan for the future?
I come from an entrepreneurial family. All three of my brothers own and run their own businesses. My parents worked for decades in their respective family businesses. I feel it runs in my blood to operate and own a company. CBS has helped me to better express myself as an entrepreneur. The access to world-class faculty, an amazing alumni network, and a plethora of entrepreneurial career resources have all contributed to my decision to pursue my path.
I am committed to raising a search fund in my second year and will begin searching for a business in the fall of 2016. My entire second year will be devoted to building my skillset and networks to successfully raise a fund to purchase and operate a business. Ultimately, I am determined to be a CEO of a fast growing company, with a great culture and a happy growing customer base. It will be a long and difficult path, but I have seen what success looks like and I am motivated.
Lindsey Sanders '16
A Q&A on interning at Sir Kensington's
What have you been working on at Sir Kensington’s?
My work over the summer has supported Sir Kensington's mission to provide an all-natural condiment alternative for consumers. I am helping to increase our sales and brand exposure by scaling our sales operations in the restaurant and hotel space. This has included forecasting revenue and analyzing distributor reports, as well as developing partnerships, sales processes, and customer pricing.
I considered a few offers for the summer, but decided to go in this direction because I was passionate about Sir Kensington's products and the impact they are having on long-standing ketchup and mayonnaise monopolies in our country. I also knew this role would give me the opportunity to leverage the new skills I had learned at CBS! It has been very refreshing to get involved and make an impact on a company over the course of the summer.
How has Columbia Business School prepared you for your responsibilities at Sir Kensington’s?
The core curriculum has definitely provided me with the framework needed to analyze a wide array of situations and present recommendations. I have used a lot of Finance and Strategy when analyzing data and making revenue projections. I have also leveraged the Operations and Marketing core courses to understand everything from supply chain to branding, both of which are very important at Sir Kensington's.
How will this experience inform the remainder of your time at school and your career path?
In the upcoming year I will focus on more entrepreneurial classes (e.g., Entrepreneurial Selling and The Complete Financier). I plan to stay plugged into the entrepreneurial food scene at CBS through the Gourmet Club and the Food Lab. I also hope to stay on at Sir Kensington's throughout the year.
Business School is a perfect time to pursue entrepreneurial opportunities, whether that means starting your own company or joining an existing company. It has definitely been an important time for me to explore entrepreneurial opportunities on-campus, through networking and internships. First semester, I was an engagement manager for the Small Business Consulting Group and completed a consulting project for a local restaurant. This spring, I interned at a gourmet food subscription box company called Try the World, which was founded by CBS and SIPA alums. I also took advantage of being in NYC and our alumni network by speaking to many past students about their experiences in food entrepreneurship.
What are some of your long-term goals?
My long-term goal is to have a senior role at a growth-stage food company that is impacting the way that consumers eat and changing food culture. I would also like to have the expertise to advise other start-ups and help them grow sustainable food companies.
Rob Terrin '16 (SIPA '17)
On Divising a Better Strategy for BETTER Mobile Security
When Summer Fellowship recipient Rob Terrin applied for a dual degree at CBS and SIPA, he envisioned his path leading to a role at an international development financial institution. The following months, however, would prove to have some surprises in store. “Right after I submitted my application to Columbia, I did a project at a Multilateral Development Bank, and I found out it wasn’t for me. I thought to myself, if I’m not enjoying this big corporate experience, what are my alternatives?
The dual degree track includes two summers, which Rob knew would give him the opportunity to take more risks and explore his options. “I knew I wanted to do something entrepreneurial. New York City is becoming a tech town – people are excited about the tech scene here and it’s growing quickly. There are a lot of opportunities because there is capital and people looking to invest.”
Rob was visiting the enterprise technology growth accelerator, Work-Bench, on a CEO Tech Trek last fall when he learned about BETTER Mobile Security, an all-in-one security platform dedicated to protecting data on mobile devices for enterprises. The Summer Fellowship Program enabled Rob to join the BETTER team as an intern this summer, with the key responsibility of developing their strategy and pitch for VC funding. “Right now we have a great product that makes mobile phones safer for companies, and makes the mobile environment safer in general,” says Rob. He has used this opportunity to hone his market research skills and better predict future trends. Rob’s first year of classes has provided a solid foundation to answer what he describes as the key question: “where is this model heading in five to ten years, and how can BETTER fit into it?”
In the long term, Rob plans to launch his own company. “This internship has taught me that I still have so much to learn about what that entails,” he says. The experience has also reignited Rob’s interest in taking courses geared toward statistics and technology, and has enabled him to lend his efforts to helping BETTER improve mobile security.
The application deadline for next summer will be announced in early 2016.
Summer fellowships must meet the following criteria:
- The internship description should be well-scoped, have clearly-defined expectations and deliverables, and identify a clear supervisor.
- Deliverables should be challenging yet realistic and have a meaningful impact on the host organization.
- Student must have mid- and end-of-summer reviews with the supervisor.
- The employing organization must provide a sufficient commitment by funding the internship to the maximum of its ability. (Employers are asked to contribute a minimum of $600 per week.)
Application details will be announced in early spring 2016.