By Danielle Bennings
Second-year MBA student, Bethy Hagan was not the traditional MBA candidate. After completing her undergraduate degree in liberal arts at the University of Virgina, she wasn’t interested in the corporate culture and stumbled into a job at a startup in California. Although it wasn’t what she initially envisioned for herself, Bethy fell in love with the exciting startup culture on the west coast. Knowing she wanted to move back to her hometown of Baltimore, MD, she searched for top-tier entrepreneurship centers in the area, which brought her to the Smith School and the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship. Bethy dove in head first during her first year as a Smith MBA. You may remember her as one of the guest bloggers from the AdVENTURE Challenge: China and as a member of the winning team at the China Business Model competition!
Bethy is spending her summer as a Dingman Venture Fellow; a program for MBA students who are highly interested in entrepreneurial innovation and/or startups. Through this program, students who are designated Dingman Venture Fellows work closely with the Dingman Center and the Office of Career Services to pursue
summer internships with VC- or angel- funded startups and early stage companies. Bethy is currently a marketing and strategy intern at SocialToaster, a Dingman Center Angels portfolio company that helps brands engage with their fans through a platform that allows the easy sharing of content over multiple social networks. She is spearheading a marketing campaign that includes paid advertising and tailoring content that targets the right people at the right time. Like all interns, she can add “other duties as assigned” to her job description.
For Bethy, the most appealing aspect of working at a startup is being able to lead projects that really make a difference. Startups that have a small staff and are going through a growth phase aren’t looking for MBA talent to stuff envelopes and make coffee. Instead, Dingman Venture Fellows, including Bethy, work on mission critical assignments that can truly impact the growth of the startup. The results of a Venture Fellow’s work is seen almost instantly, motivating them to do their best every day.
At the end of her first year as a Smith MBA, Bethy was named one of only two Hisaoka Fellows for best exemplifying the entrepreneurial spirit and mindset through her involvement with the Dingman Center and other academic and non-academic entrepreneurial endeavors.
Upon graduating next May, Bethy hopes to work for an early stage company where she can manage the process of scaling up. Her professional goal is to help companies become more sustainable and maintain best practices while bringing on new clients. To other students who want to work at a startup, Bethy says, “Take initiative and ask for what you want. They’re not going to look for you when they need help; they’re going to keep going. Ask for meetings and ask for deadlines.”
Bethy Hagan is a first year MBA student and Dingman Venture Fellow from Baltimore, MD. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia. Following graduation, she worked for a sports startup in Santa Monica, CA in a variety of operations and program management roles. Through the Smith School and the Dingman Center she hopes to build her understanding of strategy implementation in order to assist in the growth and development of early stage companies.