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May 2016

Finding The Right Mentor

nate-blogYou hear it all the time, “it’s for networking,” “if you want to succeed, you have to network,” or my personal favorite, “college is mostly for the network.”  While you may know how important developing your network is, how to do it is a bit more challenging.  It comes down primarily to the idea of knocking on the door.

Finding a Mentor –

We all have had that professional crush, that “wow, would I like to work with him/her.” They have an amazing job, dress well, healthy family, you see everything you want for yourself in someone else. So, you want them to be your mentor, but how in the world do you approach that?  Approach the person with a common interest to start a conversation. Keep in mind that finding a good mentor is as much about personal fit as professional idolization.  That means the conversation doesn’t start with, “Will you be my mentor?” but instead starts with what you find exciting about the person’s professional background, and why you are interested in learning more about their experience.  It often evolves into an understanding of the values that drive a person’s decisions that has led them to where they are, and a need to ensure that you are on the same page with not just the end goal of where they are, but why and how they got there.

Here is what I did. There was a board meeting for my school, where I, as the newly elected student body president, am invited to present on behalf of the student body. I read online before the meeting that there was a new board of trustee member, a highly regarded entrepreneur who works in education. I immediately said to myself, “I need to meet him, and talk to him about all my ideas and love for entrepreneurship.”

Knock knock (that’s opportunity), I see him getting food before the meeting and think to myself, this is my chance to meet him! I came up and said “Hi, I read your bio, really love the work that you have done, I would love to sit down and talk to you about entrepreneurship.”  While I am sure I looked a little nervous, it was clear I was eager to listen to him. These successful people love sharing their story.  

He sat down with me, talked for about 30 minutes about the do’s and don’ts of entrepreneurship, whether business school is worth it, and my past businesses. This was enough to get his card, and his card was enough to give him a call asking advice about a major business decision I had to make. Finally, I worked with him in his company and learned more from him than I could have ever imagined.

The moral of the story is this:  If you want someone to be your mentor, approach them and spread your love for a common interest between you two, maybe entrepreneurship!

 

Pro Tips: Hackathon Event Planning

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Here at MIT Launch, we are always looking for ways to support the young entrepreneur community. Whether it’s speaking at an event or sending some Launch swag and prizes, we love being involved with the exciting things happening with high school students. If you or your school are hosting an upcoming hackathon, let us know how we can get involved! Use this form to share more information.

Thinking about running an event and don’t know where to start? A few former Launchies, who have setup hackathons at their schools, share their insights on the vision, support, and marketing of these events.

Ayden Howle, hackMHS II, May 21-22, the vision and organization:

“We created hackMHS in order to bring people together, to create a community of coders and engineers from different school systems. We hope to create an environment of innovation, where teams will get together to create and build anything they set their minds to. In order to have our hackathon run smoothly, we split up the team of organizers into several committees, such as Workshops, Sponsors, Budget, Logistics, Mentors, Marketing, etc. Organizing the hackathon has been challenging, but incredibly rewarding.”

Continue reading “Pro Tips: Hackathon Event Planning”

Launch Life: Roommate Edition

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Session one of Launch is just over a month away! We hope that you are as excited as we are for the program to start. There are many reasons why Launch is a worthwhile experience, and the college experience of roommate living is just one of them.

You might be nervous about living with a roommate for the first time. Maybe you are an only child or a like to listen to music at all hours of the night. Rest assured, our Launch team works hard to make sure that students enjoy a positive living experience throughout the program by intelligently matching roommates, while also offering some single rooms. Launch admits fill out a pre-work survey that includes questions about lifestyle and work habits, giving us some key information that is statistically proven to contribute to positive roommate experiences.

While there is an option to request a single room, Launch alumni highly suggest rooming with a classmate to have a richer experience during the program. For some students, this may be your first time away from home for an extended period of time. Not only will your roommate keep you company, they will surely provide motivation during the intense four weeks of the program. Launch roommates have often become best friends and continue to inspire each other in their business ventures.

Still feeling nervous? We’ve asked some of our previous Launchies to share their roommate experiences. Here’s what they said:

“Launch couldn’t possibly have got my roommate allocation more right. Before the program even began my roomie Lauren and I were best friends, and our bond only grew as a result of our month together. We were on different teams, so we were there for each other to help brainstorm ideas and support each other when things got tough or the workload piled up. I’m still super close with Lauren and we definitely have a sisterly relationship. I know we’ll be friends for life!” -Ciara

Continue reading “Launch Life: Roommate Edition”

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