Jan JaroIndustrial Engineering, Economics
What sparked your interest in entrepreneurship?
I've always been passionate about social issues, but at first, I wasn't sure how to best pursue them. During my sophomore year, I joined a startup nonprofit called MIMO that focuses on waste reduction on college campuses by collecting unwanted items when students move out of dorms, thereby keeping reusable things out of landfills. It was a really rewarding experience and it got me really excited about startup life, especially social entrepreneurship. In fact, I've had such a good experience that I'm staying on as Director of Growth at MIMO while looking for other social enterprises to get involved with- it's an addicting (and fulfilling) way to get involved with the local and national community!
What was your favorite entrepreneurship course?
Selling & Scaling (Entrepreneurship 395) with Jay Goldstein is full of learnings that will stay with me for the rest of my life. Professor Goldstein describes the class as a "leadership course" and it's absolutely true. You get to learn scrum, which is a really useful way of organizing teams to accomplish goals. It's applicable in almost any setting and it teaches you how to work with other people, prioritize tasks, and adapt to change. Scrum is used in both startup and corporate environments and it's a good framework for managing a group of people. I encourage you to enroll in the class and take the lessons to heart- you won't regret it!
What has been your greatest takeaway or lesson-learned from an entrepreneurship course?
Iterate quickly and don't be afraid to fail! Our first instinct is to shy away from ideas that seem risky, but the process of trying things out until something works is what helps us become successful in the long run. You don't have to be an entrepreneur to do this: you can start by taking courses outside your comfort zone or by doing a part-time internship during the school year in something completely different from your normal set of activities. Just find something that you're really passionate about and take a chance on it- I guarantee that you'll learn something new about yourself.
What advice do you have for future certificate pursuers?
Pick classes that build your entrepreneurial toolkit and put in the effort to make sure that those skills are fully developed. It sounds cliche, but the value you get out of the certificate really is proportional to the effort that you put in. Make sure that you get exposed to the ideas that you're truly interested in and take the time to engage with the material through other avenues, whether that's other coursework or extracurriculars.
What are your next steps after graduation or what are you currently doing now?
I will start as a Consultant at Strategy& (formerly Booz & Company) after graduation. In the long term, I hope to lead nonprofits that focus on education and sustainable economic development- all while starting a few social enterprises along the way!