Before class, I met up with my start-up co-founder and CTO, Tim, to prepare for tomorrow’s team culture meeting. We discussed our hiring/firing practices and future employee growth plan to make sure we agreed on these matters. I will be scheduling a professor meeting to discuss our results in more detail along with reading “Founder’s Dilemma” by Nonen Wasserman.
Hometown: San Jose, CA
Pre-MBA: Propulsion Engineering at LM Skunk Works
Post Graduation Goals:
Continue working on the aviation start-up I founded while at the GSB
Favorite GSB Memory So Far:
Attending our new GSB Aerospace Business Club's first career trek to LA visiting Virgin Orbit, PhaseFour, and SpaceX with 19 other classmates.
We often do not have classes on Wednesdays, so this week the Student Life Office scheduled New Leader Workshops. At these workshops, the new MBA1 club leads learned how to run student clubs and the various campus resources. This event in particular was an orientation for Career Clubs. Puneet, an MSx student, and I helped found the GSB Aerospace Business Club with a few other MSx and MBA1 classmates and currently serve as co-presidents.
I attended the “Meet the CMC” workshop to learn what resources the Career Management Center provides and how to run a trek. A trek is any time a club takes MBA students outside the Bay Area for a trip, most often to tour companies. Our club is planning an LA Aerospace Trek to see Virgin Orbit, PhaseFour, and SpaceX, so this workshop is very relevant.
I attended the final New Leaders Workshop, where we learned about different funding sources and had a really great lunch at the Vidalakis Dining Hall. We also heard from MBA2s about their lessons learned and motivations for leading their respective clubs.
Tim and I headed over to the StartX office to hear our feedback for why our Round 2 (final) interview round was unsuccessful. StartX is a great non-profit accelerator on campus that supports student start-ups with mentorship, resources, and its vast founders’ network. Every Stanford student team receives feedback, which is a great opportunity to learn where to focus on improving next time. This is our second time applying and first time making it to the final interview.
I’m taking a compressed course called “Persuasion,” where we have MWF 3-hour classes for two weeks. Compressed courses make those two weeks pretty intense but they’re great ways to learn a lot in a short amount of time. In today’s class, we learned about how to build credibility when presenting. I incorporated some of these techniques for tomorrow’s pitch for the BASES 100k Startup Challenge.
After class, I headed to the FT3 or “Fewer than 300” career fair, which hosts companies with <300 employees, usually start-ups. I talked to Ralph Ewig who was an MSx Fellow and currently the CEO of Audacy, a space communications service provider satellite company. We exchanged a few start-up stories, which was really helpful since our companies are both in aerospace. He also gave me feedback on my BASES Challenge slidedeck and shared with me how to pitch capital-intensive, long-term start-ups. He and his company won when they competed in 2015.
After attending FT3, I headed over to Window Wars, which is a once-a-year GSB cooking competition. Teams of MBAs cook and serve free food from the Highland Hall Residences first-floor windows to fellow hungry students. I took a shot with fellow MBA1s Pat Schnettler and JZ, who served me their bibimbap dish! The cuisine ranged from KBBQ tacos, pork buns, sous vide steak, spicy bananas fosters, fried oreos, and many other delicacies -- all paid for by the MBA Student Association and GSB!
I ate my fill of awesome food from Window Wars, and headed over to the time-honored GSB tradition named TALK. At TALK, two MBAs share with our class their life stories, with each presentation being roughly 40 minutes. I was attracted to the GSB in part due to this experience. Students share deeply personal stories, some stories that their closest friends and parents do not even know. It’s been very impactful to hear our classmates “origin” stories; they have given me new perspectives on living life, my own personal values, and the diversity in backgrounds and experiences our classmates bring.
I procrastinated on today’s cases for class. I read over the cases, answered the questions as best I could, and prepared my oatmeal breakfast to eat in class.
I’m taking the Formation of New Ventures class, where we focus on evaluating early stage start-ups. Today we talked about how we evaluate if a start-up is good and if we’re fit for leading that start-up. Our case provided four short stories on four different companies, ranging from shoes to alternative fuels.
After class, my team and I met for our Culture Meeting. We reviewed the company values I wrote over Spring Break to ensure we all agree with them. We also added any values we thought were missing. This meeting was important since we’re going to hire and fire people based off these values. We also discussed some new routines we’re starting now to better get to know each other outside of start-up life. It’s true when they say running an early-stage start-up with a new team is like dating.
I went to edit my BASES 100k Startup Challenge pitch and practice it. I’ve given this pitch before but, this time, I added a bit of the Persuasion class teachings into the start of my pitch to build a bit of extra credibility. I often book a study room to help me focus. I went back to my dorm in Quillen to eat lunch and headed back on campus for class.
Operations was pretty fun today, learning about climate change and how the atmosphere is like a warehouse of CO2 with outflows and inflows of CO2. One classmate suggested we send the CO2 into space, which was quite novel; however the cost to send a pound into space is still quite expensive at $1000/pound, even at SpaceX prices.
I rushed over to Huang Engineering Center to check in for the BASES Challenge. Our slot was at 3:30pm, but they were running a bit late. That was great because then I had some extra time to practice before presenting! Tim and I pitched in the Consumer category since the other categories (MedTech, Software, and Enterprise) didn’t really fit us either. We got a few questions about the Concorde but overall it seemed positive. We’ll find out in a few days if we move onto the final round.
After the pitch, our team met up to finish our morning’s Culture Meeting while providing a few updates to Brian, our Aerodynamics Lead. Once the meeting was over, I headed to the GSB to work on miscellaneous tasks and caught up with my girlfriend over the phone who was visiting a friend.
A few founder classmates and I are piloting this new initiative, which is a regular Founders’ Dinner. The dinner hopefully will serve as a regular opportunity for GSB founders to exchange start-up stories, lessons learned, and active struggles with each other. It’s really meant to be a support and educational community group! We chatted a lot about our team recruiting + dynamics, fundraising struggles, and balancing start-up with school. By dinner’s end, we concluded we definitely want to do this again and are continuing to do it on a bi-weekly basis with hopefully more people!
After a packed Thursday, I took it easy in the morning. I went to sit on some benches at the GSB to relax and let my mind wander for a bit. It’s quite nice to go outside and do nothing once in a while, especially with the great spring sunshine to warm you up in the morning’s brisk weather.
I went over to Arbuckle Dining Pavilion to do some work once I felt reset from my mini relaxation period. There, I randomly met two friends Julia and Ran who invited me to join them while they were preparing for their classes. We caught up a bit and chatted about our new Spring Quarter classes and summer activities.
My team and I do a weekly team lunch or dinner, so I headed over to Arrillaga Family Dining Commons to meet up with them. Our meals are a time for us to chat about everything else but start-up. We’ve been doing this quite consistently for a few months now and they provide us an opportunity to know each other as people rather than co-workers.
I headed to class once we finished lunch. I had Data and Decision, which is a flipped class. This means that we have video lectures and a few problems to complete at home; then in class, we review that material in lecture with a few more practice problems. It’s been pretty great, especially since we have around 15 students in our section. Because of the small class environment, we’re able to go more in-depth and have greater individualized attention when practicing problems!
Next class is Persuasion again! Today we reviewed self-persuasion techniques, which are techniques where you try to have the audience persuade themselves of your message. You’ll have to take the class to learn what those are!
After my Data and Decisions and Persuasion classes, I met up with my friends Ivan, George, and Rudy to go out and eat some burgers atop a nearby mountain range. Once we finished dinner, we came back to the MBA Lounge at the GSB to plug in Rudy’s WiiU and play some Mario Kart! It was a great way to relax after a busy week.
Last Updated 2 Jul 2019