My experience at Launch was quite unique and I loved it. I associate Launch with my experiences from interacting with the people I had the opportunity to meet. My favorite part was listening to incredible speakers during lessons and entrepreneur panels. We were able to learn from some of the most incredible people including MIT and Harvard professors, mentors, and student entrepreneurs. I learned so many important lessons during my time at Launch but I’ve highlighted a few below.
You can do it! If you have the passion, the strategy, and the right people to make something happen, you can. The student speakers in particular made me realize that I have the potential to be where they are. Many of them started a company to solve a problem they had. For example, Kale Rogers, a student athlete at MIT who talked to us during an Entrepreneur panel, made a robot with his teammates to get healthy food quickly, and they made it into a company. Check out his company, Spyce, here: http://www.spyce.io/#home
Start talking. GOOD networking is key. How do you approach someone who inspires you? How do you ask them for a favor? Most importantly, how do you present yourself so that they remember you in a good way if you ever talk to them again? Mere connections are one thing, but meaningful connections are another. I learned that the speakers that came in wanted to be inspiring and recognized that we are the next generation of entrepreneurs, so they liked it when we showed interest and talked to them. Just from talking to a speaker for a minute after their presentation and following up in an email about my interests, I was able to land an internship in a startup from MIT. Bottom line: talk to people, leave a good impression, and follow up.
Seek out mentors. A good mentor can go a long way. I am very thankful to Launch for being able to talk to my residential counselor every night during check-in about what was going on. Launch helped me learn about myself, how I work with people, and how I handle stress, and it was helpful to be able to talk to my counselor about those areas. Sometimes we would have two hour long check-ins at night, eating ice cream and bonding; other times we would go out to breakfast for four hours and get into deep conversations. The counselor group experience was invaluable, and I continue to talk to my counselor post-Launch.
Make friends and keep in touch. I met a ton of amazing people at Launch and made a lot of friendly acquaintances during the month, a couple of whom became close friends. I’ve been able to see my best friend from Launch at least once a month since Launch ended—to keep the entrepreneurship theme going, we even went to see MIT Demo Day pitches together! Times like walking back from the Red Sox game during Launch together are times I won’t forget, and I’m happy that I devoted time to developing good relationships aside from doing work. The time I was able to spend with the people I lived with for a month was priceless, and I know that if I ever need anything or want to talk, they’ll be there for me.
The more I get involved with entrepreneurship, the more I’m amazed with where good relationships can get people. After all, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. And Launch is the perfect place to learn people skills, build relationships, and embark on your entrepreneurial journey.