Entrepreneurship Fellowship: Venture for America
-Written by Brian Hickey, Venture for America Fellow, Babson College Class of 2015
The Babson experience emphasizes the value and importance of being surrounded by talented, inspiring, and motivated people. Above all, Babson highlights entrepreneurship as a means to create social and economic value. While many Babson students pursue traditional career opportunities, there are an increasing number of post-graduation options that offer a different path.
As I began my final year of college in September of 2014, I started the job search process by evaluating traditional career choices. It was also clear to me that I had always embraced adventure and challenge and maybe I should consider a “road less traveled.” I began investigating options that might offer opportunities for unique hands on experience, creativity, and growth. I soon realized that I wanted to extend my education and experience beyond graduation in a different way. As I researched, I was excited to learn about the “Venture for America” (VFA) fellowship program. After digging deeper, I was surprised that no one from Babson College, “the #1 ranked school for entrepreneurship in the United States,” had joined the program since it began in 2012. After connecting with Babson’s career center, contacting the VFA program, and speaking with current fellows, I thought this could be the type of unique and ambitious program for which I was searching.
I soon learned that applying for VFA was no walk in the park. It was a highly competitive interview process with multiple rounds of interviews and culminated with an 8-hour group interview day, which was probably the most grueling selection process in which I had ever participated. The unique approach to selection and interviewing presented its own opportunities for growth and experience and further drew me to the program. I was excited to receive the offer to join the fellowship program and I carefully weighed it against other traditional opportunities that I had been fortunate to receive. When I said yes to VFA, I knew that it provided a unique opportunity to work directly with owners of businesses who were working to create jobs and have a positive impact on communities in need. In addition to the experience working for a start up company, fellows are provided with opportunities for additional training and continued support. Another bonus to the program is the amazing community of recent graduates from across the country that come together around a common mission to revitalize the United States through entrepreneurship. My educational experience at Babson certainly reinforced my desire to not just be focused on financial success, but to also be part of something that has a positive impact on the larger community and prioritizes sharing and collaboration.
VFA is a program that “places the country’s best and brightest at startups in emerging cities, helping build businesses, create jobs, and make an impact.” The program provides a natural extension beyond Babson for those looking to gain real world working experience before starting their own company as entrepreneurs.
After being selected as a VFA fellow, you’ll receive 5 intense weeks of training with your fellowship class, be presented with guest speakers, challenges, and world class training from organizations including McKinsey and IDEO. Fellows then join a startup in one of fifteen cities where they gain valuable business experience while being part of a larger community and receiving mentorship and ongoing support. When it’s time to launch your own venture, VFA has opportunities for an accelerator program and seed capital to get you going.
VFA provides opportunities to learn, grow and be challenged in a meaningful and unique way. If you want to work directly with startups and owners of businesses who are creating jobs and having a positive impact on their community, check it out!
Venture for America’s next deadline is NOVEMBER 30th! Apply online at www.ventureforamerica.org